For animal enthusiasts, spring can herald the welcome return of wild animal sightings after the long, still winter. With its mountains, forests, and rivers, the Front Royal area has plenty of natural habitat for a diverse array of wild animals. Patient nature observers have a great chance for some exciting wildlife encounters.
Read on for an introduction to some of the easiest wild animals to spot around Front Royal. We’ve also included some viewing tips and some special guidance for spring viewing.
Black Bears Emerge From Hibernation
Black bears occupy a broader range of habitats than any other species of bear, and they’re long-time residents of Virginia. Black bear cubs are born in mid-winter, during the hibernation period, and first emerge with their mothers in the spring. As bears begin to forage for food sources in the spring, it’s not uncommon to spot a mother with several cubs in tow. It’s a charming sight, but be careful! The term mama bear comes from a mother bear’s fierce protective instincts. Interfering with cubs could lead to an unpleasant and dangerous encounter with the mother. This is one spring sight that’s best enjoyed from a distance!
White-tailed Deer – It’s Time to Enjoy Them!
To gardeners and farmers they can be a nuisance, but if you’re not fighting to keep them out of your crops, these easy-to-spot animals are a beautiful sight. Whether you’re observing a majestic buck or a group of does (sometimes with fawns in tow!), a deer sighting can be a great chance to enjoy the beauty of the natural world. White-tailed deer are prolific in the Front Royal area, and you should have a good chance of spotting one (or a several!) in the parks around Front Royal. In spring, keep a special lookout for the delightful sight of new young fawns.
Wildlife in the Shenandoah River – Sun-bathing Turtles
Turtle sightings are yet another sign of the return of warmer weather. Turtles particularly like to sunbathe during spring time. And with the Shenandoah River running right through town, Front Royal is a great place to watch them. Take a riverside walk at Eastham Park or the Shenandoah River State Park, and look out for groups of turtles sunbathing on riverside logs. Or take a river trip with one of Front Royal’s own outfitters, and enjoy observing the turtles from the relaxing viewpoint of the river.
Top Tips for Wildlife Viewing in the Front Royal Area
If you’re serious about seeking out wildlife sightings around Front Royal this spring, head out to one of the Front Royal area’s fantastic parks, and get wildlife watching! The Shenandoah National Park has been rated one of the best national parks for wildlife viewing. The George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah River State Park are two more great local options.
Follow our four top tips to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
1. Keep your distance! All wild animals can be dangerous, and it’s important for both your sake and the animal’s that you keep a safe distance apart. You should never touch or pick up a wild animal. In the spring, it’s not uncommon to come across a baby fawn bedded down alone. Don’t assume that the baby has been abandoned. Mother deer often leave their babies for extended periods while they forage for food. Touching or moving a fawn could lead to its abandonment and even death.
2. Sit still! Even if you think you’re walking quietly, it’s a guarantee that wildlife can see and hear you. You best chance for some animal viewing is to find a spot where you can sit quietly and blend in with nature.
3. Pick your time! Dawn and dusk are the best times for wildlife watching, as these times coincide with a peak in animal movement and activity. Of course, you’ll want to settle into your viewing spot a little in advance of this time, so if you’re planning a dawn expedition, you’ll need an early wake up call. Plan a camping trip if you want to ensure you’re out in nature first thing in the morning!
4. Bring your camera! You may be about to experience some unique and memorable sights. Don’t forget to bring a camera along so you can capture the beauty of the natural world and enjoy it for years to come.
The animal kingdom is full of wonders for us to enjoy, and many of them are right here in the Shenandoah Valley. As animals become more active in the spring, it’s a great time to get out and observe them in their natural habitats. Here’s to your next animal adventure!
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