yearling black bear

A yearling black bear gleans the fruit off of a black cherry tree.

After moving temporarily into a cabin at the top of Briar Ridge, south of Sperryville, I’ve been enjoying the abundant wildlife here, including regular visits from three of the most iconic, sexiest species in the region: wild turkey, whitetail deer and black bear. 

Mature native trees, including oaks and other nut or fruit producers, are everywhere around the property, offering a bumper crop of food for wildlife most of the year. The oaks’ acorns are especially important to the three marquee species I’ve singled out here, as well as to a host of other smaller birds and rodents, as winter approaches and other foods dwindle. 

wild turkeys

A flock of more than a dozen wild turkeys forage for seeds, nuts and other food along the forest edge.


Although more nutritious than acorns from white oaks, these black-oak acorns are less attractive to some wildlife because of their bitter tannins.

Writer, editor, photographer, and passionate nature conservationist living in Rappahannock County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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