It’s official: the first day of spring has come!
Once we get beyond winter, there are a whole lot of April showers, May flowers, and refreshing new beginnings to look forward to. For cottagers, spring often means new beginnings, like an annual big clean or your first trip up to the lake. In nature, the idea of spring revival is actually biological, as this is when many Canadian animals give birth to new life. Here are some of the cute and cuddly critters that will soon be joining us in this beautiful, blooming season.
Leave it to Canadians to have a national symbol that is this cuddly. As we all know, beavers build their homes in the middle of dammed streams or rivers, where they are surrounded by their source of breakfast, lunch and dinner—tall trees with delicious bark. Female beavers produce one litter a year between April and July.
The largest bird species in North America also happens to be one of the most graceful. Swans thrive in wetlands near rivers and can be seen all across Canada, though they are said to stick to the northern regions. The swans prepare their nests while there is still ice on the surface, and most babies hatch between May and June.
Native to North America, the medium-sized mammals give birth to tiny, bandit-faced look-a-likes from early April to mid-June.
From coast to coast, and virtually all the way north to all the way south, the white-tailed deer is the most widely distributed of North America's large mammals, according to Canadian Geographic. Obviously, a list of cute baby animals is not complete without including Bambi, and luckily a whole new, fresh batch of the white-speckled, wobbly-kneed prancers will be gracing our forests and open fields in May or June.
After a seven month gestation period, one mohawked creature is born in the spring with a full body of long, soft hairs that form into cactus-sharp quills within a matter of days. The porcupine species found in North America is the largest, and the animals spend most of their time living in trees.
Canadian geese are easy to find across most of North America and typically reside on or near fresh water. There is a large population of the nationally-named geese across Canada and they have become known for being somewhat territorial over their home and native land. Once they are paired up, the monogamous, migratory birds usually return to the same breeding grounds every spring. Female birds lay their eggs and incubate, and both parents are quite protective for 28 days until fresh, adorably fluffy goslings hatch sometime between April and June.
Born in May and early June, the uber-cute, large-mitted lynx is usually found in the boreal forest of Canada and Alaska.
Spotting a black bear is almost a rite of passage at the cottage, particularly in the Muskoka area where young black bears have long been seen scaling dumpsters and piles of trash at the local drop-off. According to National Geographic, black bears are actually born as blind, dependent cubs in mid- to late winter, and emerge as a family in the spring to forage for food.
Among the abundant wildlife available for viewing throughout Canada's various cottage country areas, chipmunks always seem to be the favourite friendly neighbour. Mosquitos get smacked, raccoons rummage through your garbage, but baby chipmunks are always ready to casually share some unshelled peanuts on the front porch. Litters of these harmless, chubby-cheeked cuties will begin to appear in April to May.
Looking like a slender, long-billed child on stilts, baby herons are hatched in their parents' ideal environment—tall trees near rivers, marshes, lake edges and swamps. Breeding annually, the male and female take turns incubating the eggs for about a month, and baby herons in Canada usually hatch from April to June.
Fur seal pups typically reside in northern and Atlantic Canada, where they have long been the centre of debate almost exclusively because of how cute they are. Female seals give birth to one pup a year, usually between February and April.
Is there anywhere in Canada where the scent of a skunk is not known? Skunks are infamous for their defensive deterrent, but how did we not know how adorably cute they are before the warning stripes appear? Mother skunks give birth in May across North America, producing litters of two to ten.
These tiny, dog-like cuties grow to be the largest breed of fox and have populations across the entire Northern Hemisphere (as well as a particularly invasive, man-made population in Australia). Foxes mate throughout the later winter months and the females create a series of dens—found in wooded areas, prairies or farmland—in anticipation for their litter of kits. The adorable beings are usually born between March and May.
Great horned owl
This carnivorous, nocturnal bird of prey starts its life as a tiny, down-covered bird with giant eyes and a small but pronounced beak. Canadian great horned owls lay eggs from March to May, usually after using a hand-me-down nest from a red-tailed hawk. Chicks hatch within 28 to 35 days.
The North American river otter is native to waterways and coastal areas in Canada and parts of the U.S. The animals mate in the winter and give birth to grey, slick-furred otters that are as precious as newborn puppies.