Parts of the Barton Hills Nature Area contain a remnant of a lovely Oak Savannah with some trees that were able to spread their branches with no interference. They are magnificent. However, where will their successors grow? We will explore the impact of the growing number of deer on oak seedlings. It is easy to miss the damage as you hike along enjoying the birds or the showy goldenrod or the other pleasures of the area. However, once you learn the distinctive profile of deer browse and the resulting deer shrubbery or stumps, you have a better understanding of the pressure on our natural areas.
In our neighborhood, the deer herbivory is of a different order of magnitude. A lot happens when virtually nothing is done to curtail the deer population.
Remember what Douglas Tallamy said about oak trees: Quercus supports 532 species of Lepidoptera. The caterpillars of those butterflies and moths provide part of the nearly 100% protein diet that our songbirds need to raise their young.