Clark's Nutcracker
(Nucifraga columbiana)

Summary

Picture of bird
© H. Loney Dickson
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Clark's Nutcracker is an uncommon resident in the mountains of southern British Columbia and Alberta. Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count results suggest little overall change in the population since about 1970. Despite the stability in the population trend, there are concerns around serious declines in the two species of pine trees on which the nutcracker relies on for winter food (Tomback 1998). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeMediumAt an Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Resident

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaLow

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late February and late March and ends in mid-July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

The Clark's Nutcracker relies on the seeds of certain pine species for its fall and winter food; in Canada these are whitebark pine and ponderosa pine. The species has been known to forgo breeding in years of poor food availability and dense snowpack (Schaming 2015). Pine beetle epidemics have reduced the populations of both these species, and white pine blister rust is a continuing concern for whitebark pine populations (Tomback 1998).

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship
 

References