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Dispersal of Beech Nuts by Blue Jays in Fragmented Landscapes
W. Carter Johnson and Curtis S. Adkisson
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 113, No. 2 (Apr., 1985), pp. 319-324
Published by: The University of Notre Dame
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425577
Page Count: 6
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In September 1981, many thousands of green Fagus grandifolia nuts were dispersed by blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) from a woodlot in southeastern Wisconsin and cached in their former breeding territories. Dispersal distances ranged up to 4 km. Jays dispersed an average of seven nuts per trip, with a range of 3-14. During dispersal trips, jays routinely followed wooded fencerows. This practice allowed for escape from avian predators whose migration coincided with the dispersal period. Jays selected the best nuts for dispersal, because all nuts recovered from jays were sound and most germinated in the laboratory. Only 11% of nuts on seed trees were sound. Dispersal by blue jays may be the primary means by which beech seeds are dispersed to patches of forest without beech trees and which are isolated by human land uses or by different natural habitats.
The American Midland Naturalist © 1985 The University of Notre Dame