Acorns of Garry oaks (Quercus garryana) in British Columbia are dispersed primarily by Stellerís jays (Cyanocitta stelleri). We conducted a planting experiment and observed caching by Stellerís jays to examine factors influencing acorn and seedling survival and to assess the role of the jays in oak regeneration. Almost all acorns cached by jays were hidden beneath ground cover or soil and thus protected from predation and desiccation. Stellerís Jays preferred to cache acorns in habitats with abundant tree and shrub cover but sparse herb cover. Approximately 50% of the acorns were cached in these habitats, but seedling establishment was low because of acorn predation. The rest of the acorns were cached in other habitats. Some of these habitats provided conditions favourable for oak regeneration. Conservation of Garry oak ecosystems must incorporate strategies that will retain dispersal and regeneration processes.
Fuchs, Marilyn A., Krannitz, Pam G.; Harestad, Alton S.. 1999. Dispersal of Garry Oak Acorns by Steller's Jays (in Proc. Conference Biology & Management of Species and Habitats at Risk). Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Proceedings - Conference Biology & Management. Vol. 1