April Wildlife Parenthood

As April dawns upon the Wisconsin landscapes, it brings the magic of new life. In this blog post, we dive into the fascinating world of wildlife parenthood, focusing on some iconic animals that give birth and care for their young during this vibrant season.

This post was a labor of love. Over the years I have found that my favorite part about visiting certain areas is documenting the seasonal changes. I enjoy comparing year to year, always looking forward to seeing each animal and plant develop as the year progresses.

April Wildlife Parenthood

April is an exciting month in Wisconsin – get out and enjoy some fresh air and see if you can spot animals or plant life you haven’t seen before.

North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

April is when beavers give birth to their kits in lodges constructed from sticks and mud. The newborn kits are born fully furred and with their eyes open, ready to explore their aquatic habitat under the watchful guidance of their parents.

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus
Midwest & Beyond Wildlife

Female (sow) chipmunks give birth to litters of tiny, miniature versions of themselves. These newborns, called pups, are cared for diligently by their mother, who ensures they stay safe and well-fed in their underground burrows.

Woodchuck (Marmota monax)

In April, female (she-chuck) woodchucks give birth to a litter of pups in underground burrows. The protective mother woodchuck ensures her pups are well-fed and safe from predators, preparing them for life above ground.

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

Female (doe) muskrats give birth to litters of kits in domed nests constructed from vegetation and mud. The kits are born with a dense coat of fur and are quickly introduced to the aquatic lifestyle by their mother, who teaches them to swim and dive for food

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed deer typically give birth to their fawns in late spring, with April when fawns may start to appear. They are often born with spotted coats, which help camouflage them in the vegetation.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

Eastern cottontail rabbits are known for giving birth to multiple litters of kits (baby rabbits) throughout the spring and summer. April can see the birth of some early litters.

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Sow, (female) raccoons give birth to kits in tree cavities, hollow logs, or burrows. The attentive mother raccoon protects and teaches her kits essential survival skills, including hunting for food and climbing trees.

Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

In April, female (sow) squirrels prepare cozy nests high up in trees, known as dreys, where they give birth to their tiny, blind, and hairless young called kits. The devoted mother squirrel nurtures her offspring, providing warmth and nourishment until they are ready to venture on their own.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Red foxes give birth to their kits in spring, and April is a time when these playful young foxes might be seen emerging from their underground dens hidden in dense vegetation or abandoned burrows. The devoted mother fox nurtures her playful cubs, teaching them essential hunting and survival skills as they grow.

Canada Goose Goslings

Canada geese typically start nesting in March or April, and goslings hatch after about a month of incubation. April is when you may spot these fluffy yellow goslings following their parents.

American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus)

As temperatures rise and spring rains create suitable breeding conditions, American toads emerge from their winter hideouts to breed. In the Midwest, they can often be heard calling from ponds, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats in April.

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

Another amphibian species that breeds in during April is the Northern leopard frog. These frogs congregate in shallow water bodies such as ponds, marshes, and temporary pools to breed, filling the air with their distinctive calls

Wild Turkey Eggs Are Hatching

Wild turkeys typically hatch their eggs in the spring. The exact timing can vary based on weather conditions, but generally, the peak of wild turkey chicks hatch from late April through early June. During this period, female turkeys, known as hens, lay their eggs in well-hidden nests on the ground.

Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

Female skunks give birth to kits in dens hidden away in brushy areas or beneath structures. The kits are born blind and hairless but quickly grow under the nurturing care of their mother, who teaches them the ways of foraging and self-defense.

Instagram Video:
Stock Your Feeder With Mealworms

Scroll through the images above to read why you might consider providing mealworms during the breeding and nesting season.


Small Birds That Are Nesting

This is not a complete listing but it will give you a general idea of the birds that are in some form of nesting phase during April.

American Robin

Both male and female robins take part in nest building and feeding their young. They tirelessly gather earthworms, insects, and berries to nourish their hungry chicks, showcasing a remarkable partnership in parenting.

Northern Cardinal

Cardinals are known for their monogamous relationships, often staying paired with the same mate for multiple breeding seasons. Both parents participate in caring for the chicks, ensuring they receive the attention and nourishment they need to thrive.

The American Goldfinch is a beautiful songbird that you can easily attract you your backyard.  The males have bright yellow coats with a bold black cap and black wings barred with white.

American Goldfinch

Goldfinches are primarily seed-eaters, and they feed their young regurgitated seeds mixed with saliva, providing essential nutrients for growth and development.

Male House Finch

House Finch

House Finch parents demonstrate remarkable flexibility in their feeding habits, incorporating a diverse range of seeds, fruits, and insects into their chicks’ diets based on availability and nutritional needs.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebes are known for their strong nest-site fidelity, often returning to the same nesting spot year after year. This loyalty to their nesting sites reflects a deep connection to their environment.

All About the Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole parents are meticulous in their care for their young. They feed their chicks a diet rich in insects, fruits, and nectar, ensuring their offspring receive essential nutrients for growth and development.

Tree Swallow

Tree swallows are highly social and adaptable birds that nest in cavities, including old woodpecker holes or nest boxes, often near wetlands or water bodies. During the breeding season, tree swallow pairs engage in elaborate courtship displays, including aerial acrobatics and vocalizations, to establish and defend their nesting territories

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee parents exhibit a unique strategy called “nest sanitation.” They remove fecal sacs (a waste product of their chicks) from the nest, helping to keep the nest clean and reduce the risk of attracting predators.

Purple Martin

Purple Martin colonies exhibit a fascinating hierarchy, with older, more experienced birds typically occupying the prime nesting spots within the colony. This hierarchy can influence breeding success and nest-site selection.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds engage in “helpers at the nest,” where older siblings or unrelated birds assist the breeding pair in feeding and caring for the young. This cooperative breeding behavior enhances the chicks’ chances of survival.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee parents demonstrate protective behavior by performing distraction displays, feigning injury or distress to draw attention away from their nest and chicks, thereby reducing the risk of predation.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow parents exhibit remarkable vigilance in protecting their nests. They engage in distraction displays to draw attention away from the nest, showcasing their dedication to ensuring the safety of their offspring.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle parents demonstrate adaptability in their feeding habits. They vary their chicks’ diet based on food availability, including insects, seeds, fruits, and even small vertebrates, showcasing their resourcefulness in providing nourishment.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow parents engage in “double brooding,” where they raise two separate broods of chicks in a single breeding season. This strategy maximizes their reproductive success and population growth.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird males play an active role in defending the nesting territory, often engaging in aggressive displays to deter potential threats and protect their mate and offspring.

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher parents exhibit patience and persistence in teaching their chicks to forage. They guide their young in learning essential skills such as finding food and avoiding predators, ensuring their survival beyond the nest.

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler parents demonstrate protective behavior by mobbing potential threats near their nest. They join forces with other birds to drive away predators, safeguarding their vulnerable chicks.

American Crow

American Crow parents engage in cooperative breeding, where older offspring from previous years help raise the new brood. This social structure fosters learning and enhances the survival chances of the chicks.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting parents demonstrate adaptive feeding strategies. They adjust their chicks’ diet based on food availability, incorporating various insects, seeds, and fruits to meet their nutritional needs.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse parents engage in “mate-feeding,” where the male brings food to the female during incubation and chick-rearing. This behavior strengthens the pair’s bond and contributes to successful breeding.

American Redstart Warbler

American Redstart

American Redstart parents demonstrate protective behavior by performing “broken wing” displays to distract predators from their nest. This clever strategy helps safeguard their vulnerable chicks.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch parents exhibit resourcefulness in feeding their young. They store food items like insects, seeds, and nuts in crevices near the nest, providing a readily available food supply for their chicks.

All About the Blue Jays

Blue Jay

Blue Jay parents engage in “mobbing” behavior to protect their nest and young. They rally other birds to drive away potential threats, showcasing a cooperative defense strategy.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing parents demonstrate a unique feeding behavior called “passing berries.” They pass small fruits and berries to each other and to their chicks in a chain-like fashion, showcasing cooperative parenting and ensuring a varied diet for their young.

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow parents exhibit a diligent feeding routine. They make frequent trips to gather insects, seeds, and other food items to nourish their chicks, ensuring their growth and development.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow parents demonstrate precise nest-building skills. They meticulously shape and reinforce their mud nests, creating a sturdy and secure environment for their hatchlings.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird parents showcase exceptional vocal abilities in teaching their young. They incorporate diverse sounds and songs into their repertoire, passing down cultural knowledge and communication skills to the next generation.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager parents demonstrate adaptive foraging strategies. They seek out a diverse range of insects, fruits, and berries to feed their chicks, ensuring they receive essential nutrients for healthy growth.


Ovenbird parents exhibit elaborate “broken-wing” displays to lure potential threats away from their nest. This clever distraction technique helps keep predators at bay and ensures the safety of their vulnerable young.

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird parents display aggressive behavior to defend their nest and territory. They engage in “dive-bombing” attacks on larger birds and predators, showcasing their protective instincts and dedication to safeguarding their young.


The month of April unveils a symphony of avian life in its wetlands, lakes, and marshes. As we witness their nesting and breeding activities, let us cherish and protect these precious habitats, ensuring a thriving future for Wisconsin’s winged wonders. Again, this is not an extensive listing.

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata

Northern Shovelers prefer nesting in grassy areas near water bodies like marshes and wetlands.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Ducks are known for nesting in tree cavities near water bodies such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. They often use nest boxes provided by conservation efforts.

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Northern Pintails often nest in grassy areas near water, such as marshes and wetlands.

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)

Blue-winged Teals are small ducks that nest in grassy or shrubby areas near water.

Gadwall (Mareca strepera)

Gadwalls commonly nest in grassy habitats near water bodies, including wetlands, marshes, and ponds.

Redhead (Aythya Americana)

Redheads prefer nesting in marshes with emergent vegetation. In Wisconsin, they breed in wetlands and lakeshores, especially in areas with dense vegetation, during April.

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)

Similar to Blue-winged Teals, Green-winged Teals also breed in marshes, ponds, and wetlands throughout Wisconsin during April.

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)

Ring-necked Ducks nest in wooded swamps and marshes, often near lakes and ponds. They are commonly seen breeding in Wisconsin’s wetland habitats in April.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallards, one of the most recognizable duck species, are common throughout the Midwest and breed in a variety of wetland habitats. April marks the beginning of their breeding season, with pairs forming and nesting activities commencing.

Additional Wetland Birds

American Coot (Fulica Americana)
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)
Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
American Woodcock
American Wigeon (Mareca americana)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

Sora (Porzana carolina)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)

Normally, I’d continue with plants and trees in bloom, however April has so much to document, the posting would get graphic intense, and difficult to load. So, I split the month into two postings. Look for the 2nd series April Blooms in a week.

Enjoy the month of April – Until next week friends, I wish you peace, health, and happiness!

Jan, Feb , Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov

The post was last updated in March 2024

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