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4 posts from February 2017

By Ashley Welch, Wildlife Admissions Specialist

Join PAWS Wildlife Center in planting a native species garden this spring and summer!

Why are native species gardens important?

Local wildlife is facing habitat loss and fragmentation in King and Snohomish counties. Providing natural food and habitat sources using native plants will not only give you a front row seat to view our spectacular wildlife, but also support our local wild animals.


Decide which species you want to attract to your garden.

Native species gardens can attract and support a wide variety of animals from small mammals, such as Douglas Squirrels or Little Brown Bats, to birds including Anna’s Hummingbirds, Black-capped Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos.

Bee montage

You will also likely be supporting invertebrates such as butterflies and bees, which are important pollinators! Check out the Xerces Society website to learn how to support bees locally and the North American Butterfly Association website to learn how to support butterflies in your home garden. You may even be able to apply to become a Certified Butterfly Garden.

In addition to providing native plants, you can also provide artificial homes for wildlife. There are many resources available to show you how to build homes for bats, bees, and birds.


(Left to Right) Bird Nest Box, Tree Squirrel Nest Box, and Bee Nest Box.

Gardening Tips

  • When building a native species garden, try to use natural methods for controlling pests – using pesticides can actually harm our native wildlife.
  • Add a water source to attract native wildlife, but make sure to keep it clean!
  • Work with knowledgeable staff at a local nursery specializing in native plant species
  • Be careful when providing bird feeders, they may do more harm than good to our local wildlife.
  • If your garden will include vegetables or fruit, prepare to either share your garden with local wildlife or find humane solutions to deter them from entering your garden.

If you are having difficulty finding resources that apply to your situation, please call PAWS Wildlife Center at 425-412-4040 for assistance. Keep in mind it is not always possible to keep out all of the local wildlife, but there are natural ways to minimize attractions.


An easy way to keep out visitors from vegetable garden is using wire fencing and netting.

Local Resources

Once you build your native species garden, sign up for the PAWS Shared Spaces Program to provide a starter home for newly released wild animals rehabilitated at PAWS Wildlife Center!

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 Ashley Rammelsberg, PAWS Staff

You’ve probably heard it before: spay and neuter your pets. This phrase has been iterated so much that for some it risks losing meaning. So, for World Spay Day on February 28, 2017, we want to talk about why this surgery is essential for keeping your pet healthy and happy.

World Spay Day began in 1995 as a response to an ever-present issue– pet over-population. A female dog can have two litters a year, averaging 10 puppies per litter. Cats can have up to three litters per year, with between four and six kittens per litter.


That averages to 20 puppies per year and 15 kittens per year for every intact pet. Then those puppies and kittens who are not “fixed” begin to have babies as soon as four months old for kittens and five months old for many dog breeds. If you multiply that by the number of pets, that equates to a massive number!

After thinking about the math, it becomes apparent why it’s essential to spay or neuter your pet, but there are other, less obvious reasons as well. Many people believe that if a cat is kept indoors there is no need to spay or neuter them, but cats who go into heat can display aggression or destructive behavior. It also only takes one escapade as a feline escape artist for your female cat to become pregnant, or for your male cat to impregnate a female.

The cycle of cats and dogs going into heat but not becoming pregnant is also associated with pyometra, a serious type of uterine infection which can ultimately be fatal. Spaying or neutering an animal early on helps prevent this. Spaying or neutering at an early age can also reduce the amount of breast tumors that occur on animals.


It has been shown that “fixing” an animal early is best, and leads to a quicker recovery. Generally, an animal can be spayed or neutered at two pounds or two months of age. Animals who are altered early have a much lower instance of complications, and altering before marking behaviors start occurring usually prevents these behaviors from happening.

If you’re ready to be a hero to your furry friends, we’re here to help!

PAWS offers low-cost spay or neuter surgeries to pets of qualified low-income individuals. We spay and neuter cats, dogs, kittens, puppies and rabbits. We are working to help end the suffering of unwanted and homeless animals in our community by preventing unplanned litters. On average PAWS performs 2,316 spay and neuter surgeries per year. Spaying and neutering is good for the community and a great way to help our animal friends live longer, healthier lives.


How Early Can My Cat or Dog Get Pregnant?

Looking for a furry friend? Take a look at our available animals

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

Become a foster parent puppies and kittens in need.

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

Update on February 21, 2017: 16 gulls who were affected by the Tacoma die off event at the end of January were released back into the wild last week thanks to help from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Port of Tacoma.

We are still treating 17 of the Glaucous-winged Gulls from the Tacoma die off event. They are all regaining strength and have moved to outside enclosures.

We often see gulls flying in the sky in the Seattle, taking strolls along the beach, loafing in parking lots, and floating in the waves of Puget Sound. But have you ever wondered more about them? Gulls are one of nature’s boldest birds and there are 22 species that call North America home.


Although there are so many different species they are often lumped together and referred to as “seagulls” but this is a misnomer and an inaccurate depiction of where gulls actually live. They don’t actually go out to sea but stick to more coastal areas in lakes, rivers, marshes and cities.


The gull species we are currently treating at PAWS are Glaucous-winged Gulls and Glaucous-winged Gull hybrids. Yes, hybrids. Gulls species sometimes mate with gulls of other species producing hybrids. In our area Glaucous-winged Gulls (below left) mate with Western Gulls (below right) as their breeding grounds overlap; these gulls are often called Olympic or Puget Sound Gulls (below center). Hybrid gulls will have characteristics of both species and can sometimes be hard to identify.

Gull collage

Glaucous-winged gulls are a large gull with a white head and underparts. Their back if silvery gray and their wingtips are medium gray with white spots near the tip. They also have pinkish legs and adults have a yellow bill with a red spot towards the tip. Their wingspan is four to four and a half feet wide and they weigh approximately two and a half pounds. When they are young chicks they are a sandy color with brown spots to blend in with their surroundings.

Glaucous-winged Gulls are colonial nesters who make their nests in large groups on coastal cliffs, rocky islands and sometimes on flat roofs. They forage on fish and marine invertebrates and scavenge on carrion (dead animals). They capture food near the surface of the water or on shore and often steal food from other seabirds. They are opportunistic foragers and will eat whatever food is available which is why they do so well in more urban environments.

The oldest recorded Glaucous-winged Gull was at least 23 years old. It was banded in British Columbia in Washington in 2001.

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 Katie Amrhein, Community Education Coordinator

As I sat down in my chair with a strong cup of coffee, notebook and pen in hand, I knew I had an important day ahead of me. It was Humane Lobby Day, a chance for animal advocates from around the region to meet and speak with state representatives and senators about the bills and topics most important to us.

Navigating the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia, I found myself in awe. It is not often that someone like myself, who spends most of my days surrounded by children eager to learn about animals, gets to sit down across from a Washington State Senator.


However, lo and behold, when you bring up the topic of animals, the stories unfold. A legislative assistant enthusiastically shared about the cats she has adopted from PAWS over the years. One Senator adopted her favorite dog from PAWS. Through these stories, it becomes clear that animal welfare topics are bipartisan issues. Everyone has a story, and the importance of taking the time to listen and share cannot be overlooked.

Animal welfare issues are incredibly important to us here at PAWS, and we make sure that our legislators and policy makers know that. However, we cannot do it alone. By taking the time to voice your opinion, you are engaging with your elected officials so they can best represent you and your positions.


Visit your local representatives and senators in Olympia, give them a call, write a letter, or send them an email. Check out our Legislative Watch for information about the bills that PAWS is supporting that can directly improve the lives of animals. Take a look at our Action Toolkit for specific ways that you can get involved.

By supporting humane legislation, we can work to help animals through positive, powerful legislation.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue championing for animals in need.

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

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