Title page for ETD etd-11182008-063011

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Callo, Paul Alexander
URN etd-11182008-063011
Title Recovery of cached food by captive blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata)
Degree Master of Science
Department Biology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Adkisson, Curtis S. Committee Chair
Jenssen, Thomas A. Committee Member
Prestrude, Albert M. Committee Member
  • food caching
  • spatial memory
  • seed dispersal
  • blue jay
Date of Defense 1996-04-24
Availability unrestricted
Corvids are important seed and nut dispersers in North America.

To date, the caching and recovery behaviors of four North American

Corvids have been documented, most notably Clark's Nutcracker

(Nucifraga columbiana). Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are important

dispersers of Quercus, Fagus, and Castanea nuts in eastern North

America and their caching behavior in the wild has been well

documented. Recovery of caches by the same individual Blue Jay that

created the caches has not been demonstrated. In order to do this, I

conducted a laboratory study in which I examined caching and recovery

behaviors. I ┬Ěcompared the performance of caching birds with noncaching

birds and with a random foraging model. Blue Jays do return to

their own caches with success rates higher than predicted by random

searching and they also probe fewer sites than predicted by random.

They also recover caches at success rates higher than non-caching

birds searching for the same caches as well as probe fewer sites than

the non-caching birds. There is a difference in probing patterns for

recovered caches between caching birds and non-caching birds that

suggests the use of spatial memory by caching birds and a difference in foraging strategies between the two groups. Cache recovery order does

not exhibit either a primacy or recency effect and cache recovery order

does not appear to correlate to nearest neighbor distance models.

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