March 31, 2013

Easter marks time to 'Awake Thou Wintery Earth'


Although it’s rare to see young wild animals, this time of year the next generation is well under way.

Baby bear cubs are already 6 to 8 weeks old in their mother’s den, bobcats are carrying litters soon to arrive and fisher kits with their own tiny claws and dark, dark coats are squirming in dens. The timing of their emergence from the safety of their dens will depend on the availability of food, the ability of their mothers to hunt successfully and the assurance that the mother will not herself succumb to the effects of a long winter period of deprivation and the nutrient demands of nursing.

Easter corresponds to newborns in the woods but even the adorable-looking fisher kits are wild. They are equipped both physically and instinctively to defend themselves and will not hesitate to do so. Steer clear should you find them.

There will be plenty of vernal flowers and other great outdoor events unfolding in the next few months. Time for gladness — there’s a lot to look forward to.

Elizabeth Lee is a licensed guide who lives in Westport. She leads recreational and educational programs focused in the Champlain Valley throughout the year. Contact her at

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