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Clark's nutcracker        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Clark's nutcrackers are interesting birds related to jays and crows.   They travel in loose flocks in mountain conifer forests, looking for the pine seeds that are their main food source (they have superb memories and can cache hundreds of seeds for long periods, finding them again with little apparent difficulty).   Nutcrackers produce loud, rasping calls that carry for long distances.   Although they can be confiding in some places, I've always found them very hard to photograph:   typically high in a tree and often in back- or sidelit conditions -- although sometimes you get lucky.   These birds were in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, at Crater Lake in Oregon, near Rock Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California, and on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.   More photos are on another page.

  • Canon 30D or 1D4; 500 mm f4 IS lens + 1.4X converter or 800 mm IS lens with 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2007, 2011, 2012, 2013)