July 13, 2005
by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist
Since the last installment of Wild Again (or rather "Domestic Again")
we have received some very interesting patients here at the PAWS
Wildlife Center. Because of their cause of admission, their
personalities, or both, several of these patients have really made an
impression on me. Today I would like to introduce you to these young
individuals, and I hope you will be meeting them again as free adults
in future editions of Wild Again.
Meet Green Herons 05-1579, 05-1580, 05-1581.
Green Herons nest next to water, and both young and adult
birds often hide among the vegetation at the water's edge.
When a threat approaches, the birds stick their necks straight
up and blend in perfectly with the reeds and other plants.
These particular herons were in a nest on the edge of a storm
water retention pond in Sammamish. A work crew that was
clearing weeds from around the pond did not detect the young
herons until they had accidentally destroyed their nest and
killed two of their siblings.
The workers felt horrible about what had happened, and one
of them drove the three surviving herons to PAWS.
The herons are currently doing well, and are eagerly snapping
up bits of smelt that are offered to them. The story of these
herons is a prime example of why it is necessary to be extra
cautious while performing any sort of habitat alteration (yard
work, landscaping, etc.) during the spring and summer
In addition to the herons, two coyote pups recently came into
our care. They have very different personalities. Pup 05-1336
is shown here. It is unclear how he became separated from
his mother, but he was extremely thin and weak when a
concerned citizen discovered him. Like many coyote pups that
we receive, he cowers in the corner and averts his eyes when
approached by humans. His cagemate, however, takes a more
aggressive stance towards intruders.
This is coyote pup 05-1390. She was found next to a highway,
curled up beside the body of her dead mother. A concerned
citizen took her in and cared for her for a period of time before
discovering that it was illegal for her to do so. Because the
coyote was exposed to a lot of human contact before her
arrival at PAWS, there was initially some concern that she
may have become habituated. As you can see in this photo,
she certainly doesn't appear to enjoy the company of humans.
When the snarl doesn't work, coyote 05-1390 opens her mouth
wider to ensure that her teeth are clearly visible. This display
is clearly meant to say "do not touch," but when the coyote is
...she behaves very much like her cagemate. This photo was
taken during her initial exam.
Both the herons and the coyotes required our help due to
unintentional consequences of human actions. Unfortunately,
some animals need our help after being deliberately harmed
by humans. Such was the case with three nestling Glaucous-
winged Gulls that were tossed into a dumpster by an
unidentified person. Fortunately, another human that was far
more respectful of wild lives discovered the young birds
shortly after they were placed in the dumpster.
It is often challenging in this line of work not to feel hopeless
about the state of human/wildlife interactions. We see so
many animals that have been harmed in so many different
ways, and the thought of someone performing a deliberately
cruel act is especially disheartening. Sure, it would be easy to
dwell on the fact that the beautiful creature in this photo came
to us because it was left in a dumpster by an uncaring human,
but that is actually not even true. The baby gulls came to the
PAWS Wildlife Center because someone who truly cared
rescued them from that dumpster. Every animal that comes
through our doors, regardless of the initial cause of distress,
is brought here because someone cares. That's the thought
on which I choose to dwell.
Wild animals released between June 29 and July 12, 2005:
All rights reserved. ©2005 Progressive Animal Welfare Society
4 American Robins
1 Bald Eagle
4 Canada Geese
1 Eastern Cottontail
1 Glaucous-winged Gull
4 House Finches
1 Spotted Towhee
1 Dark-eyed Junco
5 American Crows
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
284 wild animals have been released since the beginning of 2005.