According to Tomback, Clark's nutcrackers begin gathering seeds in late summer.
Such mobility, Tomback said, is why Clark's nutcrackers are responsible for the whitebark pine's pioneering capacity.
Instead, these pines have evolved a mutualistic partnership with a bird at home in subalpine forests, the Clark's nutcracker.
Some biologists estimate that a single Clark's Nutcracker may store as many as 98,000 whitebark seeds in as many as 30,000 sites in its lifetime.
Bears have a bird to thank for all this subalpine bounty: Clark's nutcracker, the Johnny Appleseed of high elevation ecosystems, is a jay-sized corvid that's talkative, loud, and hard to overlook in its home territory.
Few people know and appreciate the Clark's nutcracker better than researcher Diana Tomback, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver.
Through the combined efforts of the Forest Service and our partners like AMERICAN FORESTS and their visionary Global ReLeaf program, we re taking the necessary steps to insure that America's forests remain as richly diverse as we found them," Ferguson says, "not only for future generations of man, but for grizzly bears and Clark's nutcrackers as well.
Whitebark pine relies on the jay-sized Clark's nutcracker to help it release those prized nuts.