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Love in the Wild: How the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Native Wildlife Show Love

A bull elk bugles
“EBP Bugling Bull Elk” Photo by US Forest Service – Southern Region is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. This photo has been cropped.

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, many people are thinking about love. And just like how preferences and attractions differ among people, the way Cook County’s native wildlife experience romance varies greatly, too.

From special calls and dances to finding a forever partner, check out the list below for quick facts about mating and reproduction for some common species found in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

American bullfrog

Once securing a desirable breeding territory, male American bullfrogs make their infamous calls to attract females to a mating site as well as scare away other male frogs. Their breeding season is later than other species of frogs, typically beginning in late spring to early summer.


Like humans, some species of voles prefer mating for life while others may have multiple partners.


Male timberdoodles, also known as the American Woodcock, perform a special mating ritual to attract female timberdoodles. Learn more about the “love dance” and watch a video.


Appearing strongly monogamous, an alpha pair of coyotes seem to bond for life. Coyotes tend to mate in February, and pups are born in mid to late spring.


At the start of mating season in late summer/early fall, bull elk will make a distinct, high-pitched call known as a bugle to attract cow elk and challenge other bull elk.

Monarch Butterflies

The mating process for monarch butterflies can last up to 16 hours. Female monarchs will lay eggs immediately after mating.

Canada Geese

Once these large birds find a mate, they’re mated for life.

Interested in learning more about Cook County’s native wildlife? Plan a visit to one of our six nature centers and talk to a naturalist or explore exhibits and view live resident animals. Many nature centers have a program or special event in honor of Valentine’s Day coming up on or around February 14. Check out our Events Page for information.