State News

Fall foods less abundant for wildlife

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department reported, Nov. 4, that several important fall foods for wildlife are less abundant this year, following the bountiful 2021 fall season.

Fish and Wildlife biologists survey oak and beech stands around the state each fall season to assess how plentiful these important foods are for wildlife. Last year both acorns and beechnuts were plentiful across much of Vermont.

Results for this year found both acorns and beechnuts are less abundant. Surveyed beech stands had complete crop failures and acorn surveys showed the lowest counts in 10 years. Without abundant acorns and beechnuts many of Vermont’s wildlife species will be on the move looking for alternative food options before winter strikes. The last time Vermont saw poor production of acorns and beechnuts in the same year was 2018. Without these important wild foods many bears will enter winter dens early this year, and those that remain active will be searching for alternative food sources.

“With acorns and beechnuts scarce and bears searching for other food sources, it is important that Vermonters remain diligent about securely storing common bear attractants such as garbage and birdseed until winter conditions arrive and bears enter their dens,” said wildlife biologist Jaclyn Comeau, who is the department’s black bear project leader.

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