Dead poke weed is a favorite of mine for providing photogenic perches for winter bird photography however poke is also a good wildlife forage plant as well.
In casual conversation with my brother, he mentioned that a fellow photographer had noted that he had never seen anything eat poke. I began to think of what I had observed and photographed in the past. While I have observed a few different species of bird eating poke berries the below photos document both deer and a cardinal utilizing the plant. While I have never seen a deer eating green poke leaves I have watched many times as they stripped a plant bare of its dead leaves during the winter months.
Here a doe eats poke berries that are beginning to shrivel after having been killed by an earlier frost.
A molting male cardinal sits on a poke branch, his bill stained by the plump ripe fruits.
And a whitetail buck nibbles poke berries that have just ripened in the late summer.
So while poke does make great perches for bird photography, it is also a good natural food source as well.