280 posts categorized in "Wildlife"


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

You probably know by now that PAWSwalk is our biggest fundraiser of the year. You probably also might think that it only helps PAWS rescue thousands of cats and dogs. But did you know it also helps care for thousands of wild animals too?

Each year, PAWS Wildlife Center cares for over 3,000 wild animals from as many as 260 different species. Our main goal is to rehabilitate sick, orphaned and injured animals so that they can be released and become a functioning member of their wild populations once again. To do that, we rely on the donations raised at PAWSWalk every year.

Wildlife at PAWS - August 2014

Today, we are caring for over 200 patients at PAWS Wildlife Center. This summer alone, we have taken in and helped River Otters, Bald Eagles, American Robins, Virginia Opossums and Eastern Cottontails, a Bobcat, Harbor Seals, Mallard Ducks, Hummingbirds, Raccoons, owls, deer, a frog, weasels, swifts and many many many more. In, fact some of the animals in our care have made the news, and another one has been part of an ongoing story.

All of these animals come to us with different needs; from the food they eat, to the habitat they live in, to the medical attention they need, to the amount of time they will be in our care. PAWSwalk helps us support these needs by providing the funds to purchase food, medication, and medical supplies as well as upkeep facilities so we can continue to help these amazing creatures.

Because of PAWSwalk - and PAWSwalkers like you - we have been able to rehabilitate and release hundreds of animals this summer including River Otters, a Western Screech Owl, grown birds from our baby bird nursery, orphaned opossums and squirrels, a Peregrine Falcon, a Creeping Vole, and a Townsend’s Chipmunk, just to name a few.

With the support from people like you who join in our annual PAWSwalk we are able to continue helping animals of all kinds. So, register for PAWSwalk today and come join us at King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA on September 6th! It’s a great way to have fun and raise money for animals. It will be a wild time!

Want to help care for wildlife at PAWS year round? Volunteer.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

Late summer is a bustling time of year for gulls in the Seattle area and here at PAWS. People are seeing them more readily now and finding injured birds as adult gulls are out gathering food for their hungry chicks.

Gulls are often referred to as seagulls lumping all of the species together. However, there are

actually 19 different species of gulls that live in North America, 14 of which spend part of the year in

Herring Gull sub-adult
Herring Gull - sub-adult

Washington. The term seagull is also very misleading as this suggests they only live near the ocean when in fact many species of gulls live, feed and nest inland. An example of this is the ring billed gull which is very common in eastern Washington.

 

Gulls nest in densely packed colonies and lay their eggs either directly on the ground or in a small nest bowl.The chick’s eyes are open and they are very mobile when they hatch; they are even capable of leaving the nest shortly after hatching. Gulls are very protective parents and will dive bomb potential predators to keep them away from their chicks. If you see healthy chicks that appear to be alone one of their parents is probably nearby watching and it is best to stay away.

Gulls are fantastic fliers and can actually float motionless in the air when looking for food. Gulls can eat just about anything including insects, small fish, other birds and small mammals. They also act as nature’s cleanup crew by scavenging on dead animals and other organic litter which can pose health threats to humans. Gulls are resourceful, smart, and very adaptable. Many species have learned to live and thrive in conjunction with humans, some species have been documented using objects as tools, they have a very complex method of communication and they have a highly developed social structure.

Glaucous Winged Gull chick
Glaucous Winged Gull chick

We have several gulls, from two different species, in our care at the PAWS. They are at different stages of development from very small chicks up to adults. This requires different levels of care from all of our staff and volunteers as they await their return to the wild.

 

Fun Fact: Most adult gulls have a red spot at the tip of their bill, newly hatched chicks use this spot as a target and will peck at it stimulating their parents to feed them.

Want to help care for wildlife at PAWS? Volunteer.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

Leaving home can be scary and a hard thing to do for humans but imagine you are a four week old baby owl (owlets) leaving your nest cavity, high up in a tree, for the first time.

Western-Screech-Owl--141090-070814-JM-(8)-2-web-resize

Owl fledglings are not great fliers at first; for the first five or six weeks out of the nest they hop from branch to branch or take short flights following their parents. During this time owlets can fall to the ground where they stay under a close eye of their parents until they get off of the ground. Sometimes these falls result in an injury and the owlet may not be able to make it back to safety.

This is what happened to a Western Screech Owlet in Redmond. He was found in a driveway by the homeowners one June morning not moving or vocalizing. When he was still in the same spot later that evening they assumed something was wrong. They scooped him up and brought him to PAWS. In our Wildlife Center, he was unable to stand very well and was putting all of his weight on his left leg.

After examining his x-rays PAWS' veterinarian team determined he had a broken right leg. They promptly put a splint on it and placed him under observation to monitor him for any nerve damage in his right foot. After only a few days he was standing on both legs again and could partially flex his right toes. Within two weeks, of his arrival at PAWS, the splint was removed and he was placed in an outdoor enclosure where we continued to monitor his grasping ability.

After 24 more days of cage rest he was able to successfully fly and grasp his perches with both feet. On July 17, at sunset, he was released back to his forest in Redmond where he found safety amongst the trees.

Want to help care for wildlife at PAWS? Volunteer.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

Along with all of the baby birds, here at PAWS we have an array of baby mammals in our care; among them are Virginia opossums.

Most of the baby opossums, or joeys, brought to the Wildlife Center are orphaned as a result of their mothers being hit by cars. Opossums are very primitive mammals that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and have changed little since then. They are very slow to react to headlights, other animals and even people, because their primitive brains process information very slowly.

DSC_0483-web-resize-KS

When we see opossums we may not immediately think about how unique they are or their ecological importance. They are the only marsupial in the United States and they have a long prehensile tail used for climbing trees and hanging upside down, although they do not sleep in that position.

They have 50 teeth, the most of any land mammal in North America, which they use to eat just about anything from seeds to meat - making them good seed dispersers, great at insect and rodent control, as well as keeping the roadways and sidewalks clean.

They have several anti-predator tactics and, although playing opossum helps them fend off some predators, they also have a super power against snakes. They are partially or totally immune to snake venom and will even kill them for food. They rarely become sick with rabies or other wildlife diseases and, even though they have a small brain, they have a very good memory and a very sensitive nose; enabling them to find and remember where food is.

Since females give birth to such a large number of babies at one time the litters brought to PAWS can be as many as 13 babies. This requires a lot of dedication and care from our staff and volunteers to raise them and release them back into the wild.

Want to help care for wildlife at PAWS? Volunteer.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.


By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff

Before you go imagining what fun rehabilitating a teenage bear might be, consider this; we don’t want American Black Bear 2014-1317 to know anything about us here at PAWS, we don’t want her to bond with us, to appreciate the time and care we’re taking for her. In fact, we hope never to see her again once she is released.

While that might sound cold, it’s actually the kindest care we can offer her.

So it goes that when it’s time to deliver food to a wildlife patient at PAWS, like American Black Bear 2014-1317, not a word is said. She is remotely shifted to a clean enclosure, safely tucked away from staff. We clean her empty enclosure and search for leftover food items from the prior day. There is no face to face or verbal interaction between caretakers and bear patients.

AMBB-141317-070914-JM-(2)-KS-edit-for-web

American Black Bear 2014-1317 arrived at PAWS a few months back, delivered to us by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife officers when she was discovered frequenting garbage bins in Renton. This juvenile bear was much thinner than a bear her age should be.

She had obviously not found her own territory in the wild due to the enticing aromas coming from people’s food scraps outside their homes. She was a wild bear with wild instincts and she deserved a second chance to make it on her own in her own habitat.

Thanks to the care at PAWS, she’s now over 20lbs heavier and gobbling up a steady diet of bear-appropriate food. She is curious and interested, with a preference for long branches with leaves and buds and fruit to discover along the way. She’ll eat everything we give her, everything that is, except radishes.

AMBB-141317-070914-JM-(6)-KS-edit-for-web

Her distaste for one root vegetable aside, American Black Bear 2014-1317 is growing every day and getting stronger. She still has a way to go and she still needs to gain more weight. But every indication says she’s doing well.

If all goes according to plan, she’ll be retrieved by the same WDFW Officer who brought her to us and returned to the wilderness, away from garbage bins, where she can be more successful.

Once released, her time with PAWS will be a forgettable experience that she puts behind her as she prepares to find a den of her own to sleep in through the upcoming winter months.

In the PAWS Wildlife Hospital kitchen there is a flurry of activity these days, rehabilitators and volunteers sharing information while chopping up fruits and vegetables and weighing portions. In another room, PAWS staff note the details of progress for each animal into our database system.

Black bears aren’t the only animals PAWS cares for day to day - there are about 120 different species spending time at PAWS hospital this summer. Native species like deer and owls and Harbor seals and hummingbirds – all with specific diets, unique needs and for some, routine and complicated surgeries and medical care – are finding their way to health and wholeness at PAWS as we speak. It’s a busy time of year, but one filled with hope, too.

American Black Bear 2014-1317 is one of many species who are getting a second chance thanks to PAWS Donors. Click here and help us help animals.

PAWS Wildlife always needs dedicated volunteers – find out how you can help.

Follow our PAWS Wildlife blog.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

We treat a variety of wildlife injuries here at PAWS Wildlife Center, but one of the most delicate and difficult to treat is eye injuries.

Most wildlife species depend heavily on their sight for survival so when that is compromised it can be very hard, if not impossible, to find food and stay away from predators.This is especially true if your eyes are stuck shut due to an infection, which is exactly what happened to a House Finch in Carnation, Washington.

HOFI-141278-Release-071414-edit

When the home owners first saw the House Finch flittering around their farm they noticed he had something wrong with his eyes. They monitored his condition and after a few days they noticed he was unable to fly and one of his eyes seemed to be stuck shut.

They assumed he was having a hard time finding any food or water so they picked him up and brought him all the way to PAWS.

On his initial examination, the veterinarians found he had severe conjunctivitis in his right eye, it was swollen and crusted shut, he had several feathers missing from his head and he was very weak.

It was hard to say at first whether he would be able to see out of that eye again but, after a month of treatment and cage rest, his conjunctivitis cleared up, he regained his strength and was flying once again.

On July 14th he was returned to Carnation and released back on his farm where he could be heard singing from his favorite tree.

Found a bird you think might need help? Read our guide on what to do.

Want to help care for birds at PAWS? Become a Wildlife Bird Nursery Caretaker.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

We are half way through the bustling baby bird season here at PAWS and, similar to the American Crows we talked about a couple weeks ago, we are frequently receiving Dark-eyed Juncos at the Wildlife Center.

Adult Dark-eyed Juncos are small birds that have a dark head with a white belly and white outer tail feathers. When you see one of these birds flittering around your backyard you may think they just look like a typical bird but they are more than that. They have actually had a big impact on ecological research.

Biologists have been studying them since the 1920’s and, thanks to these little birds, we have a better understanding of bird biology and behavior. They are also one of the most common bird species in the United States and can be seen across the entire country.

DEJU Feeding 071014 JM RS KS crop

The main reason juncos are brought to PAWS, on an almost daily basis, is that they nest on the ground. This makes them and their babies vulnerable to predators, especially cats. This leads to orphaned chicks and injured fledglings, which are what we primarily receive.

When the baby juncos first arrive at PAWS they are housed in the baby bird nursery where volunteers, interns and staff members take the place of their parents; diligently working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep them fed and healthy.

Some of them will be in the nursery for several weeks before they are old enough to graduate to a larger enclosure where they then wait for their release.

Without the dedication of our baby bird nursery 'parents' these young juncos, along with the other baby birds that come to PAWS, would not survive and make it back to the wild.

Want to help care for baby birds at PAWS? Become a Wildlife Bird Nursery Caretaker.

Found a baby bird you think might need help? Read our guide on what to do.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - sponsor a wild animal.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

The fall/winter season here at PAWS Wildlife Center is generally slower than the bustling spring/summer season. So everyone was a little surprised on December 07, 2013 when an adult American Bald Eagle was brought in to the wildlife center by an officer from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Composite-image-with-captions-600pxh

The eagle was found in a ditch on the side of the road, unable to fly, by a motorist who immediately called WDFW.

Upon the eagle’s examination at PAWS (pictured, right) she was found to be in good body condition but had facial abrasions and lacerations, a swollen right foot, and all of the primary feathers on her right wing were broken, leaving her grounded.

Her injuries and where she was found suggested she was struck by a car while feeding on a carcass on the side of the road, a common cause of injury and even death for scavenging wildlife.

Treatment started immediately to heal her skin wounds and over time her broken primary feathers were removed to stimulate growth of new, healthy, feathers which would allow her to fly once again.

This was all a lengthy process and in June she was deemed healthy enough to be moved to our flight pen (pictured, below right) where she attempted her first flight in 6 months.

Despite her right wing droop and the long wait for her new feathers to grow in, she is recovering quite well.

The staff continues to monitor her progress and, with more time in our largest flight pen, she continues to regain her strength and soon will be able to fly free once again.

Like all of the animals brought to PAWS Wildlife Center this eagle’s treatment and recovery could not have been possible without the dedication of our staff and volunteers as well as generous donations that have provided medical supplies and food for her long recovery.

Find out more about wildlife rehabilitation.

Thinking of a career helping wildlife? PAWS can help.

A regular gift goes a long way towards helping animals like this American Bald Eagle - join our Constant Companions Club.


By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff

Teenagers and pizza are a very common pairing in today’s world. When that teenager is a young American Black Bear, however, it can be a first strike toward impending doom.

Recently, PAWS took in a teenage American Black Bear who gambled on human food and got very close to losing. We don’t name wild animals here, our Wildlife Hospital’s goal is to get our patients healthy and return them to the habitat that they play a vital role in. Instead, staff identified this young cub as #2014-1317 while she is in our care.

Composite-image-for-blog

From all signs, we think American Black Bear #2014-1317 is about a year old, a cub probably born last spring in the wilderness outside Redmond, WA. Mother Black bears typically wean their cubs around 6 months, some as late as 8 months, but the cubs can often forage with the mom for up to a year. For #2014-1317 she appeared to be alone, trying to survive in an area dense with other bigger, tougher, older bears, none of them were her mother.

Neighbors noticed her digging through garbage bins, seeking scraps of food and breaking into bird feeders in search of the nuts and seeds she would normally forage for in the wild. In light of her ‘criminal acts’, garbage bins were better secured and bird feeders were moved out of reach. Still, she tried to look for food until neighbors reported her to authorities.

Failure To Thrive
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officer who placed her status as ‘failure to thrive’ and brought her to PAWS estimates that she hadn’t eaten for more than 2 days. As PAWS medical staff prepared to sedate her (for a full exam), her low growls and lunging proved she still had a lot of wild in her. But her energy was low. She was spent and she arrived to PAWS just in time.

When PAWS veterinarian, Dr. Groves, was able to examine her (pictured right), it was verified just how underweight she really was.

A few weeks ago, PAWS released an American Black Bear back to the wild in Oregon. That bear was just over a year old and 112 lbs.

American Black Bear #2014-1317 weighed in at a dangerous 66 lbs. The rest of her exam yielded no other concerns, save for her frayed claws from digging in metal garbage bins for the meager scraps of human food she could find.

American Black Bears (Ursus Americanus) once roamed all of the wooded areas of North America. Human growth and development has pushed them into smaller and smaller forests, our most remote areas. In the United States, current population statistics report about 300,000 individual black bears across 40 states. Sub-species of the American Black Bear are the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolu) and Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus). The Louisiana Black Bear remains on the Federal threatened species list. Washington State’s American Black Bear populations are being edged further and further out of the habitat they have always roamed, and the transition hasn’t been easy.

Bear #2014-1317 is one of the lucky ones. A fed bear is a dead bear is a reality for American Black Bears today when people encroach on their habitat, and create easy and unnatural food opportunities for wild animals.

She’ll have a chance now at PAWS to regain her strength and be introduced to the type of native foods she will encounter upon her release.

After she recovered from her sedation, American Black Bear #2014-1317 took a few sips of fresh water, possibly her first in days. In the PAWS Wildlife Hospital kitchen, volunteers prepared a meal more befitting a bear, tastes and textures she’s probably never experienced before. On the menu tonight will be a small combination of natural foods such as fish, berries and an assortment of other items nutritionally suitable for a half-starved bear.

Next Month's Update: Rehabilitating an American Black Bear

Find out what it takes to become a Wildlife Rehabilitator.

Follow our PAWS Wildlife blog.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

Tis the season for crows here at PAWS Wildlife Center.

This is the time of year when baby American crows are leaving their nests for the first time and learning to fly. At first, these fledglings cannot fly very well and can spend up to 2 weeks on the ground while their parents continue to feed and protect them.These fledglings are about the same size as adults, can appear awkward and clumsy, and can be mistaken for injured adult birds.

Dual-image

If you find a crow on the ground, with no obvious injury, and are unsure if he is an injured adult or fledgling there are a few things to look for before scooping him up and bringing him to PAWS.

First, look at the bird’s eyes and beak. If the bird has light blue eyes and pink along the corner of his mouth then he is a juvenile. Look and listen for adult crows nearby calling or dive bombing you as you approach the bird. Those crows are the juvenile’s parents trying to protect their baby.

If the juvenile is not in imminent danger or in the middle of a road, leave the baby alone so his parents can care for him. 

If you are still unsure if the bird needs help call PAWS Wildlife Center at 425-412-4040 to speak to a staff member. 

Want to help care for baby birds at PAWS? Become a Wildlife Bird Nursery Caretaker.

Found a baby bird you think might need help? Read our guide on what to do.