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Gray jays' winter survival depends on food storage, study shows
Date:10/7/2011

onths, they found that more remained on the spruce and pine than on the deciduous trees.

"The evidence suggests that the resin production of the boreal conifers may be critically important for the survival of gray jays, especially at the southern limits of their range," Norris said. "This fits perfectly with our observation that the jay territories that are no longer occupied in Algonquin Park are the areas dominated by deciduous forest."

An important question still remains: why are gray jays declining in Algonquin Park?

"We think it may have something to do with climate change affecting the quality of cached food, and we are currently conducting a series of experiments to look at this," said Norris.

The Guelph study may help in understanding territorial limits for other boreal breeding animals.

"If other northern-breeding or alpine-breeding species rely on cached food, then their ranges may also be limited by the ability of certain habitat types to preserve food over the winter season."


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Contact: Ryan Norris
rnorris@uoguelph.ca
519-824-4120 x54582
University of Guelph
Source:Eurekalert  

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