Acorns A Wildlife Magnet
Acorns are loaded with fats and carbohydrates, making them a perfect way for wildlife to put on pounds that will carry them over the winter. They are also easy to open and to digest, making them significant food items for more than 96 species of birds and mammals. Among the highest consumers are White-tailed Deer (acorns are 50% or more of fall and winter diet), Wild Turkeys (up to 38% of diet in winter and spring) and Black Bears.
The impact these nuts have on the species that depend on them as a significant portion of their diet is great: Squirrels, mice and jays store them in the fall and this supply is critical to their winter survival. The geographic distribution of many animals coincides with or depends on the range of oaks, and biologists have linked acorn crop failures to poor Black Bear reproduction and meager antler growth on White-tail bucks.
(Photo – Signs of two acorn hunters. Prior to hibernation, a Black Bear (tracks down center of image) has been looking for leftover acorns in a patch of forest floor that has been scratched up by White-tailed Deer feeding on acorns.)
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