Clark’s Nutcrackers Project
Clark’s Nutcrackers are conspicuous and charismatic. As prolific seed dispersers, they also play an outsized role in our region’s imperiled Whitebark Pine forests. Whether you find yourself in the backcountry or in the backyard, we want to know where and when you are seeing Clark’s Nutcrackers.
To this end, Nature Mapping Jackson Hole is supporting the Clark’s Nutcracker Project, a conservation partnership led by Field Naturalist Anya Tyson in concert with the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation. Tyson engages NOLS (formerly known as the National Outdoor Leadership School) and the Teton Science Schools to conduct surveys for Clark’s nutcrackers on backcountry expeditions. The collective efforts of many instructors and students result in an important data set for conservation biologist Dr. Taza Schaming.
Nature Mappers have the opportunity to contribute to the project by logging their nutcracker sightings in Teton County. Dr. Schaming is as interested in the nutcrackers you see in your backyard as she is in the far-flung nutcrackers she has followed deep into the wilderness. Your data will allow her to track local nutcracker habitat use. Because nutcrackers may skip reproduction under poor environmental conditions, Nature Mappers should be sure to share any sightings of juvenile nutcrackers. Ultimately, Dr. Schaming will use these citizen-generated data sets in concert with other research to craft management recommendations that benefit nutcrackers and whitebark pines alike.
Severe mountain pine beetle outbreaks and an introduced fungus — white pine blister rust — have caused whitebark populations to decline across much of the northern Rockies. As forest managers attempt to restore these ecosystems, they must also mind whitebark’s evolutionary ally, the Clark’s Nutcracker. In order to plant a new generation of whitebark, we will need to protect the key landscape features that allow nutcrackers to persist despite widespread declines in the health of high-elevation forests.
Please Help us Help Nutcrackers By:
- Mapping nutcracker sightings as often as possible in the Nature Mapping Jackson Hole database.
- Nature Mapping nutcracker feeder visits (every day if you have the patience).
- Being on the look-out for nutcracker nests and juveniles. (Nutcrackers may be on nests March to mid-June)
- Getting involved in regional efforts to conserve whitebark pine.
Project Leader Anya Tyson
Clark's Nutcracker Call
Clark’s Nutcracker Project Resources
Explore the Map Below to View Clark’s Nutcracker Observations Recorded by Students on the Project
Clark’s Nutcracker Citizen Science Project 2016/2017
In its first season in 2016, the Clark’s Nutcracker Citizen Science Project produced scientific data and meaningful learning opportunities. Over two hundred students from the NOLS and Teton Science Schools (TSS) participated in surveys spanning the length of the Wind River Mountains. They conducted 56 surveys for nutcrackers, went on 29 expeditions to collect data and spent 48 hours listening for birds in the mountains.
In the summer of 2017, two dedicated adult volunteers and four educational organizations (NOLS, Teton Science Schools, the Community School, and Wyoming Catholic College) reinforced their commitment to wild landscapes by documenting whitebark pine health and the presence of Clark’s nutcrackers on wilderness expeditions. In total, they completed 114 surveys across four remote mountain ranges — the Wind Rivers, Absarokas, and Tetons in Wyoming— and the Beartooths in Montana.
This map displays Clark’s Nutcracker observations entered by Nature Mappers through both Casual Observations and Project Backyard projects. Of the 1116 individual nature-mapped nutcrackers, we’ve only recorded 19 juvenile nutcrackers as of July 2017. Please be sure to nature map juvenile nutcrackers when you see them, and keep up the great work recording adults.