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Jays and crows are conservationists for trees

Cara J

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Crows and jays play a vital role in the conservation of some tree species, according to new research. Birds in the corvidae family hide seeds in small caches across the landscape, effectively saving them for future meals. But the birds are a little too productive in this practice, called “scatter-hoarding,” and don’t always come back to eat every seed they’ve stashed for later, according to a recent review published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The seeds benefit from this, eventually sprouting into trees in areas where the seeds wouldn’t have necessarily reached if it wasn’t for the birds. Mario Pesendorfer, a researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lead author of the review, looked at case studies from around the world to find ways in which corvids spread oak and pine seed species around. He said that this corvid activity could provide an additional bolster for pine and oak species facing a variety of pressures. “In light of the globally changing climate and increasing habitat fragmentation, these winged dispersers that transport seeds over long distances are likely to become more important, as they enable plant populations to shift their range,” Pesendorfer said. Some specific examples the authors looked at include [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/jay-and-crows-are-conservationists-for-trees/

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