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Warming Kills N. American Gray Jays As Heat Rots Frozen Larders - Reuters

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:17 PM
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Warming Kills N. American Gray Jays As Heat Rots Frozen Larders - Reuters
OSLO - Grey jay birds that store frozen food to help survive icy winters are dying out in parts of North America because global warming is rotting their hoards, a scientist said.

The jay's dependence on natural refrigeration -- of food ranging from berries to insects -- make it an odd exception to a general rule that animals and plants survive better during less harsh winters. "The hoards are turning into a bad investment because the food is rotting," said Thomas Waite, a researcher from Ohio State University of a 25-year study of the birds. "The birds are getting less food and they may also suffer from food poisoning from eating rotten food," he told Reuters. Grey jays are about 30 cms (1 foot) long, roughly the size of a blackbird or American robin.

He said it was a rare case of climate change at one part of the year affecting success in breeding months later. "Warm autumns are hostile to the jays because they rely on a cold climate and cold storage," he said. "The freeze-up of local lakes used to be in November, now it's happening more frequently in December," he said of research just published with colleague Dan Strickland in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The birds were in danger of dying out on the southern edge of their range, mostly southern Canada but also parts of the United States including Maine, Vermont and Rocky Mountain states, because of the warmer autumns, he said.

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:30 PM
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1. That's too bad - they're one of my favorite birds
They are quite bold and will steal food off your plate while your still eating (their nickname in the Maine woods is "Camp Robber").

They were/are pretty common along the AT in one campsite we regularly used, we had Gray Jays, a Northern Black-backed Woodpecker nest hole, Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadees and White-winged and Red Crossbills.

The Gray Jays were a constant "menace" and it was a running battle trying to keep them out of our gear (they usually won)...

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