Nature Notes

Volume XX - 1954

I Was Robbed!
By John R. Rowley, Ranger Naturalist

Unable as I am to understand the Clark nutcracker's grating vocal repertory, this story is subject to certain inaccuracy.

Clark's nutcracker
Nutcracker on white-bark pine
From Kodachrome by Welles & Welles

You see, a Clark nutcracker of unquestioned sobriety was struggling with a white-bark pine cone located at the tip of a particularly flexible limb. On one occasion, this large grizzled bird was thrown almost upside-down as he was grasping the tough cone with both feet and prying with his crowbar-like bill in an effort to dislodge the seeds of this unwieldy cone.

Whoops! -- then it happened. The cone fell loose from the branch. The Clark nutcracker struggled for an instant in regaining his composure before gliding down after the escaped cone.

At this point, the "villain," who had watched the procedure with apparent detachment, entered the stage. Nutcracker number two was first to reach the now more stable cone and continued with the job of gouging seeds from under the scales.

The first bird, with savoir faire, withdrew to a lower and sturdier branch, fluffed its feathers, and gazed into space with an appearance of complete unconcern.

High Places
By Edward A. Burnham, Ranger Naturalist

To most of us there come times when we need to seek a quiet refuge, a place where we may be alone. Each has his own idea as to where to find this sanctuary.

A church or cathedral answers the need for some. A sandy stretch of shore with the sound of breaking surf, or a path in the woods along a moonlit stream, brings peace and calmness to others.

I seek and find in the high places the feeling of oneness with the source of all. Alone on a mountaintop one gains perspective. "Lift up shine eyes unto the hills."

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