Red Oak

What wildlife species use oaks as a food source?

Distinguished by their deeply grooved bark, elongated, multiple-lobed leaves, and nutritious nuts with beret-like caps, oak trees are a key link in the wildlife food chain. Acorns from red and white oaks provide food for over 100 vertebrates, including wild turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, black bears, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, mice, wood ducks, woodpeckers, blue jays, and ruffed grouse. Across the U.S., close to 1,000 species of caterpillars depend on oak leaves for food. As moth and butterfly larvae, caterpillars are an essential stage in the life cycle of pollinators. Innumerable species of birds also depend on caterpillars for nourishment, especially when feeding newly hatched chicks. Ultimately, oaks support countless insects, birds and mammals.


Doug Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home: The Importance of Native Plants

Roger Di Silvestro, “The Wildlife Benefits of Acorns and Oaks,”
National Wildlife Federation Blog