By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

There is no arguing that winter is upon us here in Washington. The last week has been filled with frosty mornings and cold temperatures. We find comfort on these days with a cup of coffee, sitting by a fire, or wrapping up in a blanket.

But how does wildlife deal with these dropping temperatures?

750 px Dark-eyed Junco  KM

Many wildlife species migrate out of our area for a warmer climate where food is more plentiful, while others move in a vertical migration, descending from high-elevation summering grounds to lower wintering grounds with less snow and more food.

However, several species stay put and face the winter head on. Species who do this have adapted to survive the winter by changing their behavior and activity patterns to adjust to the changing temperatures and amount of available daylight.

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Many species that do not migrate go into a lower metabolic state that requires less energy for survival. Many mammalian species go into hibernation; their metabolism slows down and they rely on stored fat reserves to survive. Reptiles and amphibians go into a state known as brumation, which is their equivalent to mammalian hibernation. Other species go through periods of decreased activity called torpor, where they reduce their body temperature and metabolic rate. Hibernation, brumation and torpor help animals survive during periods of extreme temperatures or reduced food availability.

Fun Fact: Black-capped Chickadees go into regulated hypothermia in harsh winters. They can lower their body temperature by 12 to 15 degrees below their normal daytime temperature to conserve energy during freezing nights.

750 px Black-capped Chickade KM

Some species stay very active in the winter and have evolved adaptations to help them survive. Birds fluff their feathers up to make thicker insulation and eat more food to stay warm. Some weasels, rabbits, and foxes grow a white fur coat in the winter to help camouflage them better. Some animals hide under the snow, which acts as an insulator, keeping them warm during the worst of the cold weather. Others flock or huddle together for warmth, while some species actually have a natural antifreeze in their cells.

With all these cool adaptations, it’s no wonder you still see so many animals milling around in your backyard habitat even during the coldest of days.

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Currently at PAWS Wildlife Center we are caring for several species that are very active during the winter including a Coyote, a Northern Saw-whet Owl and a Bewick’s Wren. We are also caring for seven Black Bear cubs who will remain with us through the winter. Stayed tuned for updates on them over the next several months.


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

A large construction project is underway on I-90 just east of Snoqualmie Pass. The result of this project will be a six-lane highway that will increase the flow of traffic, making the road safer for people traveling in this corridor. 

But what about the animals that live in the area?

Black Bear 120790 release, 060513 KM-5-2

When planning for this project, several organizations including Conservation Northwest and the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) looked at the impacts this barrier has on the surrounding habitat and wildlife.

I-90 bisects the Cascades, inhibiting movement of wildlife in the area. Widening the highway would make it even harder for wild animals to find new mates and new habitat when environmental conditions change. With this in mind, one of WSDOT’s goals for the I-90 expansion project was to improve connectivity for wildlife.

WSDOT has included more than 20 crossing structures in their plan, including wildlife underpasses and the first wildlife bridges in Washington. These structures have been proven to work in other areas across the country and in Canada.

The first phase of this project consists of underpasses that will allow wildlife safe passage under the highway. They feature long stretches of raised highway and wildlife-sized culverts that are wide enough for larger mammals to pass through, as well as structures smaller animals can use for safe passage. They also allow streams and creeks to keep flowing, which helps amphibian and fish populations.


Blog underpass overpass
Wildlife undercrossing at Gold Creek courtesy of Conservation Northwest. Artist's rendering of wildlife overpass courtesy of Washington State DOT.


Phase 2, which began on June 9th, includes constructing the first ever wildlife bridges in Washington. These 150-foot-wide overpasses will allow safe passage for wildlife over I-90 and will be fully vegetated with native plants and shrubs to give animals the illusion that they never left the protection of the forest. WSDOT plans to build two of these bridges along the I-90 corridor and they are expected to be completed in the fall of 2019.

Agencies will be monitoring the effectiveness of these structures using remote cameras to determine how often and when they are being used. Some of the wildlife underpasses are already completed and being monitored. Check out some of the images on Conservation Northwest’s website.

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This groundbreaking wildlife connectivity project will not only help improve the overall health of the wildlife in the Cascades but also help keep them off the interstate, improving the safety of wildlife and humans alike. We at PAWS Wildlife Center see firsthand the effects of road collations on animals: In the past five years we have received more than 500 patients who were hit by a vehicle, many of whom were too injured to be released back to the wild.

This project is a great start to making our roadways safer and keeping our wild habitats connected to ensure a healthy future for wildlife.

For more information about this project, check out these useful sites:


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, PAWS Naturalist

As fall is in full swing our summer residents are being released back to the wild. All 44 of our Raccoons have been released and the deer are awaiting their release scheduled for next week. During early October our four Harbor Seal pup patients were returned to the wild after growing up at the PAWS Wildlife Center. Here are their stories.

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Harbor Seal 15-2200 was the first to arrive at PAWS this year. He was a very small seal estimated to only be a few days old when found on a busy part of the beach in Lincoln Park. After being observed for several days by the Seal Sitters, NOAA Fisheries granted them permission to bring him into PAWS for rehabilitation. Upon arrival he weighed 18.5 pounds and had multiple puncture wounds on his flippers and head.

Harbor Seal 15-2800 was our last seal patient of the season and arrived on July 25th. She was found on a beach near a boat launch in Poulsbo. It was reported to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that someone dumped the pup off at a boat launch and others were moving her around on the beach. When 2800 arrived she was only 16 pounds and was thin and dehydrated. 


Once they had been quarantined and were eating fish on their own 2200 and 2800 were combined into one pool which they shared for the remainder of their care. On Oct 9th both seals were released together near a known Harbor Seal haul out with some help from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

Harbor Seal 15-2427 was a young female pup found abandoned near Allyn and brought to us by NOAA Fisheries on July 6th. She was seen on the beach alone for 3 days not going in the water and was reported to NOAA Fisheries. Upon arrival at PAWS she was just over 16lbs, was thin and had several soft tissue wounds on her head, flipper and in her mouth.

Harbor Seal 2427 & 2655 release 10122015 RC (31a)

Harbor Seal 15-2655 was also brought to PAWS Wildlife Center by NOAA Fisheries and arrived on July 17th.  He was found on a busy beach near Olympia. No attending adult was seen with the pup for a 24 hour period of time and people started to approach and touch him. 

He was estimated to just be 2 or 3 days old and weighed almost 24 lbs upon his arrival at PAWS. Other than being dehydrated and thin he had no wounds or injuries.

Harbor seals 2427 and 2655 also shared a pool for the majority of their stay with us and on October 12th both seals were released together with the help of NOAA Fisheries.

Fun facts about our summer seal patients:

15-2200 was the biggest seal this season weighing in at over 68 lbs upon his release.

15-2427 quickly established herself as the feistiest of all of our seal patients this season and would not hesitate to snap her jaws when approached for exams.  

15-2427 and 15-2655 became inseparable and were spotted swimming together shortly after their release.

15-2800 was our smallest seal this season weighing just over 55 lbs upon her release.

If you happen to see an injured seal on the beach or a seal being harassed by people or dogs please contact Sno-King Marine Mammal Response at 206.695.2277 or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Seal Hotline at 1.866.767.6114. 

Remember it is illegal to approach and touch seals and all other marine mammals. 


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 Anne Heron, PAWS Wildlife Center Intern

I’ve been volunteering at PAWS Wildlife Center for over a year now. I initially started at PAWS because I was familiar with their Companion Animal Shelter, where my family adopted our dog, and I had been developing an interest in wildlife. I’d heard great things about the Wildlife Center so I decided to become a volunteer and see if it was something I would like. Now, I’m just about to finish my summer internship and I’ve really enjoyed my time at PAWS. I feel I’ve grown tremendously since I started as a volunteer, knowing little about wildlife, to now being trained in just about every area of the Wildlife Center.  

This summer I spent my time between three internships: wildlife rehabilitation, avian wildlife rehabilitation, and wildlife releases. Each one was unique and offered its own skills and experiences.  

Peregrine Falcon Handling 07032015 JM (8)

In wildlife rehabilitation I learned basic skills like administering daily medications and fluids, as well as preparing various diets. I would say that this aspect of the wildlife center had the most variety. I found myself doing so many different things in one day ranging from cleaning to daily medical care to grounds maintenance projects. This is also where I interacted with the most species and got a lot of practice with my handling skills, which was my favorite part about Wildlife Care Assistant work.

Dark-eyed Junco nestlings-BBN

As an avian wildlife rehabilitation intern I was in charge of the baby bird nursery. My duties included administering medications and fluids, keeping the feeding board and cage cards updated, and monitoring the health of each bird. I also learned different techniques and methods for handling and feeding different bird species based on size, as well as the different diets associated with each species. 

I really love birds so my favorite part about the baby bird nursery was being able to see all of the different types of birds that came in, being able to identify them, and learn what enclosure set-ups and diets are particular to each species.  

Peregrine Falcon Release-02

Being an intern for the naturalist was by far my favorite position at PAWS. It allowed me to see a different side of wildlife rehabilitation and helped me think more about what happens to the animals we care for after they’re released. Some of my duties included accompanying the naturalist and rehabber on their rounds to determine which patients were ready for release, locating release sites for patients based on proximity to the location they were found and resources available at that site, and helping the naturalist with releases.  

This was the most interesting internship to me because it allowed me to learn a lot about each species and how they interact with their environment. It gave another dimension to wildlife rehabilitation that you don’t usually think about while caring for each patient in the center.

Osprey 152722 Release -01

The reason I chose to intern in so many different areas was to explore my career interests. I knew I wanted to work with wildlife but wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. Now after experiencing everything this summer, I know that while I really enjoy the medical and handling aspect of wildlife rehabilitation, I want to learn more about field and naturalist work because I love learning about the natural history of each species and seeing how they interact with the world, and I also really enjoy animal behavior as well as observing animals in the field. I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve had as a PAWS intern. 

I know that all of the skills and information I’ve learned here will be of use to me in my future and I plan on continuing to volunteer in order to keep up with my skills and to keep having valuable encounters with wildlife.


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.

Inspired by our work? Make a gift and help us continue providing a safe haven for wildlife in need.

By Jen Mannas, PAWS Naturalist

As fall approaches things are winding down from a very busy summer at PAWS Wildlife Center. Although all of our spring baby birds are gone, we are still caring for some of our spring baby mammals, in particular Coyotes, Raccoons and deer. 

All three of these species spend a lot more time with their mothers than baby birds do so they need a little extra time in our care before they are old enough to survive on their own.


Three female coyote pups have been in our care since the beginning of June. Each was orphaned and found alone too young to survive on their own. When they arrived they were just over three months old and were very thin and dehydrated.


Although they originated from different locations they have been raised as siblings since shortly after arriving at PAWS. Each has their own personality and they spend their days romping around and playing when not taking naps and hiding.

Through enrichment provided by our staff they have learned valuable survival skills they will use when released back to the wild next week.  



We have also cared for forty-four Raccoons this summer, all of whom were orphaned or sick when they arrived. We received our first Raccoon at PAWS near the end of April and the last youngster of the year arrived on September 2nd.  


These little ones spent the beginning of their time with us in their own special Raccoon nursery being raised by our staff, interns and advanced volunteers. Once old enough they headed outside to the silos where they now reside awaiting release.

When many of them arrived they were only half a pound and their eyes were still closed. Now they are curious subadults who spend their days exploring enrichment items, searching for food in their enclosure and sleeping in a pile.

Raccoon releases will begin near the end of September and continue into October.    



All six of our deer patients are doing great and are starting to lose their baby spots. Luckily their large enclosure did not suffer any damage from the high winds that hit Lynnwood a few weeks ago and they are still able to roam through the brush and hide amongst the salmon berry. Our staff is kept busy cutting fresh browse for them daily to help them grow big and strong enough for their late October release.  

Black Tailed Deer young

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, PAWS Naturalist

As fall starts to rear its head in the Pacific Northwest birds are preparing for the winter. Some are getting ready to travel to a far off place while others will be hunkering down locally.

What better way to celebrate all the amazing birds that live right here in Puget Sound area than attending a couple festivals this weekend. PAWS will be present at both events to celebrate and help educate people about our surroundings and the amazing creatures that live in it.

Rufous Hummingbird (left) and Barn Owls (right)

Puget Sound Bird Festival in Edmonds (Sept 11-13)

Puget Sound Bird Fest is a free annual three day event to celebrate birds and nature found on the shores of Puget Sound. This event is geared towards all ages and includes guest speakers, guided walks, field trips, exhibits and educational activities.

Events kick off Friday September 11th at 7:30pm at the Edmonds Plaza Room (650 Main Street) with keynote speaker Dr. John Marzluff, from the University of Washington, presenting on living with birds in an urban setting and the rich bird diversity being preserved in the suburbs and city parks.

Wood Duck (left) and Belted Kingfisher (right)

Saturday and Sunday are packed full of events including birding cruises and guided walks, low tide beach walks, photography workshops and talks by local bird researchers.

There will also be vendors and booths full of information about local organizations and wildlife.

Swift Night Out in Monroe (Sept 12)

Another free event happening in conjunction with Puget Sound Bird Fest is Swift Night Out in Monroe.

This event celebrates the return of Vaux’s Swifts to the Wagner Center chimney. This is a short stop over for Vaux’s Swifts as they migrate south for the winter. As many as 26,000 swifts have been observed entering this 31 foot tall, 4 square foot chimney. This amazing natural event occurs annually in Monroe and is the 2nd largest Vaux’s Swift roost in America.

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This event runs from 5:00 pm until dusk and will host information booths from local organizations, fun activities for kids and food will be available for purchase.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair to watch the show.

PAWS will have staffed booths at both events so stop on by and say hi!

We look forward to seeing you there!

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 Melissa Moore, PAWS Education Programs Manager

Summer vacations are over for another year and the daily school routine is back on. That can only mean one thing – PAWS educators are looking forward to being back in the classroom to inspire and empower the next generations of animal champions!

Education is an important part of what we do here at PAWS. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We hope to see our next generations growing up with a deep respect and empathy for all living creatures. 

Blog Students with owl wing artifact

We’re incredibly excited to offer a few new classroom programs this school year, as well as some returning favorites: 

Reaching out to younger audiences, we’re introducing Companion Animals are Cool and Growing up Wild. Kindergarteners through second graders will enjoy taking part in engaging activities while they learn about the wonderful worlds of pets and wild animals.

Blog Sandy teaching with two students

Everybody Needs a Home is specially designed for children in second and third grades and uses fun discussion and practical activities to look at the broad themes of home, family and the interdependence of living things. 

Careers Helping Animals is offered to fifth grade classrooms and – as well as looking at career options for animal lovers – is designed to inspire and empower children to start making a difference for animals right away.

Blog-ThankYouNoteKids Who Care is a longer program that we’re very proud to be able to provide to fourth grade classrooms in our area. Over the course of six one-hour classes, we cover a range of topics including responsible pet care, pet adoption, wildlife rehabilitation and scientific study methods.Teachers who’ve had Kids Who Care in their classroom are consistently enthusiastic about its varied content and the positive impact it has on their students.

Would you like to help PAWS spread the messages of compassionate treatment of animals and conservation of wild habitats? Here’s what you can do:

If you’re a parent: Tell your kids’ teachers or principals that you’d like to have a PAWS educator come to their classroom. Details about all the programs and how to schedule them can be found on our website. You could also help by sponsoring one of our classroom presentations for as little as $45.00.

If you’re a teacher: contact our education department to schedule a presentation for your classroom.

If you’re a student: visit the kids’ area of our website to learn more about PAWS and what you can do to help animals.

We look forward to seeing you in the classroom this fall!

Help us continue inspiring the animal champions of the future. Make a donation today.

Want to learn about companion animal behavior and wildlife? Visit our online resource library for factsheets and more!

Stay in touch with stories from the frontlines of animal rescue. Follow our blog.


By Jen Mannas, PAWS Naturalist

One of the most commonly seen city birds around the world is the Rock Pigeon. You typically see these gray birds with shimmery heads perched on roof tops and in parks waiting to snag their next meal. Rock Pigeons are a non-native species in the U.S., introduced into North America from Europe in the 17th century. They are very adaptable and thrive in urban areas.

However, did you know that there is species of pigeon that is native to North and South America and can be seen right here in Washington?

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Band-tailed Pigeons are a more elusive pigeon that prefers the quiet life of the forest but will sometimes venture out of the woods to more urban areas to forage. They look quite different than your typical pigeon; they are a soft blue-gray above and purplish-gray below with a white crescent on the back of the neck. They are named for the pale gray band on the tip of their tail. 

Band Tailed Pigeon 04102015 JM (5)

The diet of the Band-tail Pigeon includes seeds, fruits, acorns, pine nuts and flowers of woody plants. They can travel 3 miles a day to find food. Nesting in trees, the nest is constructed by both the male and female over a three to six day period. They only lay one or two eggs at a time but can do this up to 3 times during the breeding season.

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Every year we receive several Band-tailed Pigeons in need of care at PAWS Wildlife Center. Since 2003 we have released 176 of these birds back to the wild. Many come in as babies who are raised by our staff, others are victims of window strikes or cat attacks. This year we have already released eight and currently have three Band-tails in care including two orphaned youngsters.

All three Band-tails will be released just in time for their fall migration to central California. 

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 Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

If you’ve ever succumbed to the persuasive powers of an adoptable cat (or two, or more!), chances are Amanda’s experience with PAWS alumnus Malcolm will resonate with you. For those of you thinking about adding a feline friend to your family, her moving story of life with a senior cat may open up a whole new world of potentially perfect companions.

Dear PAWS,

This is a letter to anyone considering the adoption of a senior cat, and to the people at PAWS who made this all possible.

Photo 2When I adopted Malcolm he was seven and a half years old, with an arrhythmia of the heart and severe allergies to just about anything. However, to know Malcolm was to love Malcolm. This test has been proven several times, and he has a reputation for turning the most allergy ridden, insecure and unconfident human into a cat person.

He was amazing.

I was young when Malcolm chose me. I was 21, with only a part time job and a part time fiancé. I was two states away from my family, friends and the home I knew. I couldn’t afford his many ailments and I had every reason to say no. I even tried once. But in the end, there was no ‘saying no’ to Malcolm.

The day I brought him home was terrifying. I wondered if he would adapt well enough, if I was enough, if he could thrive in this home that I had built. Naturally, he walked in like he owned the place. In so many ways, he made me feel more at home there then I would have felt on my own. Every bit of love I gave to him, he returned ten times over. It was as though he knew that I would be his ‘forever home’.

Malcolm was work. As I mentioned, he was allergic to everything; laundry detergents, fleas, flea medication, pain medication, grains, and scented litter. And then there was his heart murmur to keep an eye on. Some days, it was more than I could handle. But Malcolm acted every day as though he was worth it, and by the end of even the hardest day, he proved he was right.

  Photo 1

I’m not going to go into detail of the years of loss, change and growth that we went through together; but I will say that he was by my side every second. Making him my first priority always resulted in the best solution. I couldn’t go wrong.

Photo 3Malcolm died of a heart attack last week. He was mine for only five years. Five years is a very short relationship to have with a pet, but for me and for us, it was five years of love and adoration.

A senior cat can have a lot of love to give. They can lend you the experience you lack, and they can be the most confident partners. Senior cats know more about themselves than we, as humans, know of ourselves. All you have to do is listen with your heart and trust that your best will be enough.

My senior cat was a success story. And though it breaks my heart to be without him, he has taught me a valuable lesson: never dismiss a life because of age or ailments. When I am ready to adopt again, I hope to find another senior. I hope that anyone reading this message will take my advice to heart.

Looking for a feline friend? Browse our available cats here. 

Make a donation and help us continue creating happy endings for companion animals in need.

By Jen Mannas, PAWS Naturalist

Summer is slowly coming to a close and with it marks the end of the baby bird season at PAWS Wildlife Center. At this point in time baby birds that migrate are preparing for their long journey south while others are finding their way on their own here in Washington.

Currently we are only caring for three babies in the baby bird nursery: a Spotted Towhee and two Barn Swallows. At the height of the season there were over 50 baby birds in the nursery at one time. Most of which were on different feeding schedules and diets.


This season we cared for 32 different species in the baby bird nursery. They ranged from larger birds like American Crows down to tiny birds like Anna’s Hummingbirds. The most common species this year were Dark-Eyed Juncos, American Crows, Violet-Green Swallows and Pacific Wrens. We also received a few rarities as well; a Red-Winged Black Bird, a Black Headed Grosbeak (pictured above) and four Downy Woodpeckers.

Over the past couple of months we have been slowly releasing our youngsters and so far this year we have released over 150 birds who were raised in the nursery.


A huge thank you to over 45 baby bird nursery volunteers and interns for working so hard this summer to make sure these babies get a second chance at life.

Here is a look at some of our memorable patients.

left to right: Cedar Waxwing, Anna's Hummingbird, Violet Green Swallows

left to right: Brown Headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch and House Finch, Bewick's Wren

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.