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Editor's Picks

Group photos Texas OODs
Five days of oaking in the Lone Star State.
Roderick Cameron | Oct 21, 2023
Tour Participants on Fiddler Peak
An account of the Tour guided by Sean Hogan
Website Editor | Oct 19, 2023
Quercus pacifica
An collection specializing in native Californian oaks
Christina Varnava | Oct 18, 2023

Plant Focus

A small but mature Alabama sandstone oak producing acorns © Patrick Thompson
A Critically Endangered dwarf oak 

Blue Jays and Oaks by Jay Wright

Tim Boland brought to our attention an interesting discussion of dispersal of acorns by Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata). The presentation was hosted by the Association of Field Ornithologists (AFO) and sponsored and is part of AFO Café, a series of informal science conversations about birds, their habitats, and field biology, with a short update on AFO’s programs. 

Jay Wright, Director of Conservation Science, Metroparks Toledo (Ohio, USA) presented “Blue Jays and Oaks: A Seed Dispersal Mutualism Shaping Eastern Hardwood Forests.” Blue Jays are important long-distance dispersers of acorns and other small nuts through their fall caching behavior. For his PhD research, Jay investigated the possible influences of this caching behavior on the ongoing decline of oaks and the anticipated reintroduction of American chestnut in eastern North America. He discussed the results of seed selection trials and the dispersal effectiveness of Blue Jays for oaks and chestnuts in Ohio, as well as the relationship between oak masting cycles and Blue Jay abundance.

The AFO Café is sponsored by Avinet Research Supplies. You can access the view below (starting at Jay Wright's introduction):