By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

2015 was one the busiest years we have had in the past five here at PAWS Wildlife Center.

With your help we treated over 4,200 patients this year (some are pictured below), almost 800 more than in 2014.

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Several were patients we rarely see at the Wildlife Center including a Rough-legged Hawk, a Mule Deer, an American Dipper and two baby Mink. Others were common species including eight American Black Bears, over 1,000 baby birds, 15 Bald Eagles, and 16 Northern Flying Squirrels.

A special thank-you to over 300 volunteers who donated thousands of hours of their time in 2015 at PAWS Wildlife Center, feeding, transporting, caring for and cleaning up after our patients to ensure they have a healthy environment in which to grow and heal.

As we look back at 2015, we must also give thanks to people like you for continuing to support PAWS and our mission to be a champion for animals by helping all animals in need.

While you ring in the New Year, check out the video below to enjoy an inside look at some of our more memorable patients and their releases.

2015 Looking Back from PAWS on Vimeo.


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

We are still receiving animals daily who need medical attention. Most of them will return to the wild after just a short time in our care. We do, however, have several patients at PAWS Wildlife Center who will be spending the entire winter with us.

We have eight American Black Bear cubs in our care right now, each of whom came to us with their own story and from across the state of Washington.

We received our first bear cub on August 16 from Renton and our eighth on December 13 from Skykomish. All eight cubs were orphaned and found alone too young to survive on their own.

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Thanks to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, each cub was captured and brought in to grow up at PAWS.

Currently seven of our bear patients are housed together while the eighth bear is waiting for her quarantine period to end before being introduced to the others. The bears spend their day wrestling and sleeping in a tub filled with straw when they aren’t exploring their enclosures for food.

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As these bears play and assert their dominance, they are learning very useful skills that will help them survive in the wild and better integrate back into the wild bear population when they are released next spring.

Another way to help bears prepare for the wild is to stimulate their instincts to search for food. To do this, our staff and volunteers develop enrichment items that can be filled with food and other treats that are later placed in their enclosures.

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A favorite enrichment item around the holidays is used Christmas trees. We typically hide food in among the branches of the trees, which are then hung in the bears' enclosures. The bears also like to use the trees for other natural behaviors such as rubbing and clawing. Other enrichment items include rotting logs (see video below), large branches, papier mache boxes, and fresh water pools.

By developing these useful skills here at PAWS, they will have a better chance of surviving on their own in the wild. Be sure to check back throughout the winter for photos and videos of our bear patients romping around and learning what it takes to be a wild black bear.

Black Bear Enrichment from PAWS on Vimeo


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, Education Programs Manager

750 KidDog1One of my favorite moments of any week here at PAWS is when I open an envelope return addressed from a local classroom.

I am one of three educators at PAWS fortunate enough to be able to visit classrooms full of students, work with scouts in badge programs, and give tours of PAWS to small groups of children. Not only do we have the opportunity to share PAWS’ message of kindness and compassion towards animals with local youth, but the students also share their energy and passion for animals with us.

PAWS offers unique programs for different age groups and interests. However, we also offer one special program, Kids Who Care, that is six hours long and delivered over the span of six visits.

In the first few Kids Who Care classes, we discuss responsible care of companion animals, including microchipping pets and spaying or neutering. We even address difficult topics like puppy mills. A student favorite is a board game called Happy Cat, Sad Cat, through which they learn why keeping a companion cat indoors is better for the cat and for wildlife.

In the fourth and fifth class visits, the topic switches to wildlife and the students get to handle real skulls and feathers, among other biofacts. They use student-sized field guides and learn about how wild animals become injured.


The students write in their Kids Who Care Journal after each class, answering questions, writing opinion pieces, and making up stories about animals. It is truly an interdisciplinary class that reaches students on many levels.

750 KidThanksLast fall I presented Kids Who Care to a group of fourth graders at a Snohomish County elementary school. At my second visit, upon seeing me in their classroom as they came in from recess, two girls ran excitedly to me and gave me hugs! I was charmed by the fact that they were pleased to see me and were not bound by the “correctness” of a formal greeting that we adults usually are.

When I look at the thank-you cards and notes we receive from students after their Kids Who Care class is over, I can feel how they have connected to the subject matter, and it makes every day better.


Are you a parent or teacher? Learn more about our humane education programs here.
Do you want to help animals? Find out some simple things you can do every day.
Need some help with your homework? Visit our Homework Help page for answers to questions about our shelter, pets, and wildlife.

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

Do you love birds? Have you ever wanted to help bird researchers but you weren’t sure how you could?

Pacific Wren, PAWS Campus 040412 KM

Well now’s your chance. The annual Christmas Bird Count runs from December 15 through January 5. For the last 115 years, citizen scientists like yourself have conducted a bird census across the western hemisphere. The data from this important census helps researchers better understand how our bird populations are doing and how their populations are being affected by our changing world. Data from this census has already been used in more than 200 peer-reviewed articles.

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The Christmas Bird Count started on Christmas Day in 1900 when scientists were starting to become concerned about declining bird populations. Ornithologist Frank M. Chapman proposed a Christmas bird census that would count birds during the holiday season rather than the traditional side hunt -- a competition in which teams of hunters went into the woods with rifles to kill birds and small game -- which was conducted each Christmas.

Christmas bird count-world map
Image courtesy of Audubon

What started out as 27 birders conducting 25 surveys from Toronto to Pacific Grove, CA has turned into 72,000 bird enthusiasts conducting surveys in over 2,400 locations across the Western Hemisphere.

Participation is free and bird lovers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate. Each count takes place in an established 15-mile-wide circle on one day between December 15 and January 5 and is organized by a count compiler. Volunteers follow a specified route in that area, counting every bird they see or hear.

Christmas bird count-WA map
Image courtesy of Audubon

If helping from home is more your speed, you can do so if your home is within the boundaries of a Christmas Bird Count circle. From Bellingham south to Olympia there are 19 survey circles, including two in the San Juan Islands and several others on the Olympic Peninsula. If you’ve made prior arrangements with the count compiler in charge of your area, you can report birds that visit your backyard habitat or feeder.

To get involved, register your email address on the Audubon Christmas Bird Count website and they will send you links and information on how to choose your census circle and how to sign up.

For more information about the Christmas Bird Count, check out these websites:

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

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.