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PAWS Mailing Address:
PO Box 1037
Lynnwood WA, 98046

PAWS Street Address:
15305 44th Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98087

May 2007   

Kevin Mack

Baby Boom
by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

We always know its coming. We see them out there...gathering their nesting materials, displaying, preening one another. Then the phone starts to ring. Stressed voices on the other end of the line ask what to do about the raccoons and squirrels that have taken up residence in their attic, or the seemingly insane robin that is constantly attacking their picture window. We know why the animals are behaving this way, and we know what happens next. So we brace ourselves for what we know is coming- the annual wild baby boom. Once it hits, we are up to our ears in hungry mouths, and we are ruled by feeding, de-worming, medicating and cleaning schedules until summer gives way to fall.

Although we always know the baby boom is coming, we can never be 100% certain what it will bring. We can definitely count on receiving many of the species that are most commonly seen in urban and suburban areas, but every baby season has its surprises as well. I'm sure this year will be no exception to that rule as our wild baby season is already off to a very busy start. The following photos will give you a look at some of the early arrivals to the wildlife center in this year's baby boom.

Raccoon kits are already arriving, but these three kits had a particularly dramatic story. Their mother was hit by a car when they were still in the womb. An ultrasound performed on their comatose mother showed that the kits were ready to be born. PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. John Huckabee successfully delivered the babies by caesarian section. Although their mother did not recover from her head injuries, the three kits are thriving in PAWS' care.

A young raccoon in care instinctively relaxes as he is held by the scruff of the neck. This behavior makes it much easier for a mother raccoon to transport her young by "scruffing" them in her mouth.

As is expected with babies, the young raccoons spend much of their time sleeping at this stage of development.

Occasionally they enjoy a good stretch.

PAWS is currently caring for two orphaned Harbor Seals that were found on the outer coast. The wet rings around this pup's eyes indicate he is well hydrated.

At this young age, the pups can only be in the water with direct supervision, and only for limited periods of time.

They are housed together, and they share a pool at swim time. This allows them an opportunity to bond with their own kind, rather than with their human caregivers.

The seals are towel dried after swim time so they don't get chilled. They seem to enjoy the rub down.

One of the most unexpected arrivals so far this spring was a very young mountain beaver.

The wildlife center receives several adults of this species each year, but since they raise their young in underground burrows, a baby is a rare sight

Baby birds, such as these nestling American Robins, have been steadily arriving at the wildlife center.

Here, a nestling Steller's Jay demands his next meal.

This group of young Bushtits got a little over-excited at feeding time. They all stretched their necks up and with mouths gaping rolled over on their backs.

These hungry American Robins were a little more coordinated.

Baby birds grow extremely quickly. In one week, this young Dark-eyed Junco may go from looking like this... this.

Birds such as this young Bewick's Wren leave the nest only two weeks after they have hatched.

Young Killdeer do better when they are raised with others of their species. When we have only one baby Killdeer in our care, a mirror reflects their image, fooling the single bird into thinking that they are not alone.

Mallard ducklings have been arriving at PAWS in great numbers. It will likely be about six to eight weeks before this group is able to fend for itself.

This young Great Horned Owl was rescued by a man who found him drowning in an Eastern Washington lake.

He remains feisty despite his ordeal.

Be A Part of the Story. Volunteer at the PAWS Wildlife Center!

Have you ever read a Wild Again newsletter and wished that you could help wild animals in need? You can! PAWS is always looking for volunteers, 18 years or older, to help us perform our lifesaving work. A number of different positions are available, descriptions of which can be found on the volunteer page. You may also call Wildlife Volunteer Program Manager Chris Mitchell at 425-787-2500 ext. 818. We hope to hear from you soon!

All rights reserved. 2007 Progressive Animal Welfare Society

A Northwest leader in protecting animals since 1967, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) shelters homeless animals, rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife, and empowers people to demonstrate compassion and respect for animals in their daily lives.