Ask a Scientist: Caching

Welcome to Animal Adventure Thursdays with Young Explorers! Every Thursday, we will be publishing either an “Ask a Scientist” piece or an “Arts & Crafts” piece, alternating between the two columns every week. If you have a question about animals that you would like answered through “Ask a Scientist”, you or an adult can submit them here. If you have animal-related artwork you would like to share through “Arts & Crafts”, you or an adult can submit it by following these guidelines.

Bird Nerd writes “Why do I see some birds take seeds out of the bird feeder but hide them in our garden rather than just eat them?

Thanks for the question, Bird Nerd! When a bird takes seeds and hides them, they’re doing a special behavior called “caching”! These birds are hiding and storing food for when they may need it later. The area where they keep it is called a “cache”. Certain foods aren’t available all year long, like seeds in the winter, and many animals need to save their energy instead of searching for food. If an animal doesn’t come back to their cache of seeds, the seeds can sometimes grow into trees! Caching is not only important for the birds but also for the rest of the ecosystem! Keep up the great observations, my fellow Bird Nerd!

– Lindsey

To learn more about caching, check out this article on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website.

Main image [Source]: Photo of a Western scrub jay by Ingrid Taylar.

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