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3 posts from October 2016


By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

October 26 was a special day for our wildlife staff as two healthy, sub-adult Bald Eagles were released back into the wild together after several weeks of rehabilitation and care at PAWS.

This is the first time since 2009 that we’ve released more than one eagle at a time in the same location. It’s also been a record-breaking year for Bald Eagle patients, with 16 admitted to our wildlife hospital.

Eagleblog1

Both of these eagles came to PAWS too young to survive on their own, and barely old enough to fly. One was brought to us by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in August. He was found on Mission Beach unable to fly, covered with feather lice, and unable to move at all upon capture.

It seemed that this eagle was still very young and may have ended up on the ground after his initial flight out of the nest, but with no parents in sight he would not have made it on his own.

During his first couple of weeks in care, he spent a lot of time on the ground in his enclosure acting like a baby eagle. But before long he was up on high perches trying to fly. In mid-September, he was moved into our large flight pen with an adult eagle who was awaiting release, and faired very well in the pen while he gained strength.

Bald Eagle 08282016 JM (5)

The second eagle was transferred to us in late August from a veterinary center in Clinton, WA. He was brought to the vet clinic by animal control after being witnessed sitting on a beach for several days, unable to fly.

Upon his arrival at PAWS, he was found to have some minor feather damage and carpal (wrist) wounds. These carpal wounds would need to start healing before he could be released back to the wild, as they could inhibit his flight. They got worse before they got better, and he went through several bouts of veterinary exams, suturing and intensive care before he was ready to go.

Eagleimageblock

While in care, he wore specialized bumpers on his wounds to protect them from getting bumped in the enclosure. There was risk that the wounds would reopen and we would have to start the whole process over again, delaying his release. These bumpers were so important to his recovery that he wore them until a few minutes before his release.

PAWS staff were on hand to watch them both fly free once more, released along the Skagit River where salmon are plentiful this time of year.

Can't see the video? Watch it on our YouTube channel instead.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help.

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS.


By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

As the days become shorter and the nights become colder, many wildlife species in our area are preparing for winter. For some, that means getting out of town and migrating south, some are getting ready to hibernate, and others are just preparing for the cold and rainy weather ahead.

One of these species is the Raccoon. Although Raccoons do not hibernate, they are less active during extremely cold periods. This time of year they are out and about preparing for the winter, taking advantage of food resources currently available before they become less plentiful.

Raccoons1_101316Raccoon patients in their enclosure at PAWS wildlife hospital

Young of the year are still with mom learning valuable survival skills that will help get them through this winter and others to come.

For those Raccoons who live in a more natural environment, that means learning to forage, evade predators and find suitable dens for sleep during the day.

For urban Raccoons, this may mean learning how to safely navigate our streets and exploit resources that we leave behind.

Raccoons3_101316A Raccoon in their natural environment, where foraging and evading predators is key

Because Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores they can, and will, eat pretty much anything. In urban environments their natural food sources are scarce or not available at all, so they have learned to live off of our trash, pet food, scraps and vegetable gardens.

Raccoons2_101316A Raccoon patient at PAWS enjoys a watermelon

They may even seek shelter under porches, in crawl spaces, or in attics. This can cause negative interactions with us and our pets. If you find signs of Raccoons raiding your garden or living under your porch and would like them to move on, there are a few things you can do:

  • NEVER intentionally feed raccoons. They are very capable of finding their own food and do not need handouts. In fact, this is a good rule to follow for all wildlife. If raccoons are getting into your garbage, secure trash can lids with rope, chain, bungee cords or weights, or purchase cans that have clamps or other mechanisms to hold lids down. 
  • Do not feed your pets outdoors and be sure to shut pet doors that lead into your home at night. Raccoons have been known to enter people’s homes through dog doors in search of food. If you have to feed domestic animals outside, be sure to pick up all food and water bowls (including leftovers) each night. Also secure any compost containers.
  • If you enjoy dining al fresco, be sure to clean up BBQ areas. 
  • If you have a Raccoon living in your attic, chimney or under the house you can prevent them accessing these areas by altering the structure slightly. Using metal or plastic spikes and aluminum flashing will prevent them from crawling up the sides of your house.
  • To prevent Raccoons from getting into your garden try using bright lights, especially those activated by motion, or by creating noise disturbances when the raccoons are present. Building a perimeter fence may also deter them. 

The main thing to remember is the Raccoon is just trying to do what it can to survive on the limited resources it can find. They do not want to cause any harm, and avoid conflict when they can.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help.

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS.


By Kate Marcussen, Educator

Most visitors to PAWS are looking to adopt a new family member or are lending a helping hand to a wildlife patient in need. But there’s another group that frequents the PAWS campus as well. They might be small, but they sure are mighty. Kids!

Since the start of the year, 720 kids have participated in education programs at PAWS to learn more about companion animals and their local wildlife. What do they do while they are here? Take a glimpse into the world of kids at PAWS

Each program tours our shelter to visit the cats and dogs waiting to find their forever home, or stops over at our wildlife hospital lobby to take a peek at our current patients through live hidden cameras. 

EducationTour_KSAbove: Kids enjoying a tour of our companion animal shelter

Through games, activities, and imaginative play, kids learn about the responsibilities of having a pet, and how to be kind and gentle towards each and every one. 

They even help the dogs and cats at PAWS be adopted! By creating mini advertisements highlighting an animal’s best features, they draw the eyes of potential adopters to their kennel.

Poster+ROertelAbove: Learning how to be gentle with cats (L). and a mini advertisement for an adorable adoptable (R)

Hands-on experience with wildlife biofacts gives kids a chance to explore wild animals up close and learn about what makes these creatures so awesome.

As backyards go, ours is the perfect place for an adventure! Kids learn about what wild animals need in their habitat in order to survive, and how they can help.

Artifacts+BackyardAbove: Examining biofacts (L) and exploring PAWS' backyard (R)

They even get to pretend to be wildlife rehabilitators, and when provided with the right vet tools, major surgery has been known to take place...

Injured-StuffiesAbove: Injured animal stuffies, post-surgery

Have a child in mind who would think “this is the best day ever!”? Visit the kids section of our website to learn more about the programs offered, and take a look at these upcoming programs:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | Homeschoolers
Companion Animals are Cool | 10-11:30 a.m. | Ages 7-10

Friday, November 11, 2016 | Schools Out: Veterans Day Program
Animal Superpowers | 1-2:15 p.m. | Ages 6-7
PAWS Champions | 3-4:15 p.m. | Ages 8-10
Preteens Helping Animals | 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | Ages 11-12 

Want to know more about our education programs at PAWS? Find out here.

Inspired to take action for animals? Here are some suggestions for things you could do.

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