Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/09/04

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Subject: [Leica] Pine Nuts
From: telyt at (Douglas Herr)
Date: Mon Sep 4 19:28:46 2006

Above 9000' elevation in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, cones of 
the Sugar Pine tree are ripening and opening to let their seeds fall.  
Numerous species feast on the pine nuts and several species of birds 
have developed their own techniques for getting a piece of the action.

The Pinyon Jay (no photos) has learned to hover just below the open 
cones and look for nut that have not yet fallen, then snatching the 
morsels in mid-flight.

Clark's Nutcracker

has a powerful bill that he uses, woodpecker-style, to break the cones 

The Steller's Jay has neither the Pinyon jay's hovering ability nor the 
Nutcracker's cone-cracking bill so this species has a technique which 
perhaps can best be described as "smash and grab".  This jay flies 
almost straight up and crashes into the cone with its beak, knocking 
some of the nuts loose.

All photos:  R8/DMR, ISO 400, 560mm f/6.8 + 1.4x APO-Extender-R, 
shoulder stock & monopod, shutter speed about 1/1500 sec, full 
aperture.  Location is SW of Reno Nevada.  All comments welcome.

Doug Herr
Birdman of Sacramento

Replies: Reply from don.dory at (Don Dory) ([Leica] Pine Nuts)
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