August 24, 2005
Profiles of Diversity
by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist
I have frequently written about the diversity of patients that we
receive here at the PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in the pages of
Wild Again. In all, the center has worked with more than 240 separate
species, and each one has its own distinct behaviors and needs. Today I
would like to give you a very small glimpse at that diversity using
photographs. I photographed the following 14 birds in profile to give
you the best possible look at their beaks. You can tell a lot about a
bird's habits and food preferences by examining the beak, and the array
of different shapes, sizes, and lengths that you see in these photos
speaks volumes about the unique lifestyle of each species. Since these
photos represent only 14 of the more than 240 species with which PAWS
works, they also speak volumes about the breadth of animal care
knowledge the wildlife rehabilitation center staff possesses.
This Bewick's Wren has a long, thin beak that is used almost
exclusively for catching small insects.
This Black-headed Grosbeak feeds primarily on insects, but
can also crush seeds, fruits and snails with his powerful beak.
Cedar Waxwings eat mainly berries and other fruits, but they
can often be seen "hawking" for insects as well.
This Cliff Swallow possesses a relatively small beak, but she
has a large mouth. While flying, the bird opens her mouth
wide to capture insects on the wing.
The Vaux's Swift has an even larger mouth than the Cliff
Swallow. The two birds have a very similar feeding style,
although, as the name suggests the swift is a much faster flyer.
This Northern Flicker is also largely an insect eater, although
her chisel-like beak allows her to hammer through rotting
wood to get at insects that other birds can't reach.
The long, sensitive beak of this Least Sandpiper allows her to
pick small invertebrates out of mud or sand.
This Common Murre has a long, vertically flattened beak that
is perfect for grabbing fish as the bird swims underwater.
This Pelagic Cormorant also pursues fish while swimming
underwater. Although much thinner than the murre's, the
cormorant's beak possesses a hooked end for grasping his
This gull's beak is effective at handling fish, crabs, sea stars,
shellfish and carrion.
The broad bill of this Mallard is equipped with a rough, filter-
like structure on the inner surface. The duck uses it to filter
plants and small invertebrates as it dabbles in the water, and
it is also effective for grazing on grass.
This Steller's Jay has a multi-purpose beak. An omnivore,
this species will feed on pine nuts, acorns, seeds, fruits and
berries, insects, bird eggs, small rodents and lizards.
The American crow also has a multi-purpose beak that is
used to feed on practically anything it can find including
insects, spiders, snails, earthworms, frogs, small snakes,
shellfish, carrion, eggs and young of other birds, seeds, grain,
berries and fruit.
Bald Eagles possess the hooked beak of a carnivore. They
will readily prey upon fish, birds, and small mammals, but
they prefer to feed on carrion if it is available. This particular
Bald Eagle has a slightly abnormal beak. The bird has been
experiencing rapid growth of the keratinous tissue on his beak,
and PAWS is currently investigating the cause.
"Wild Things" Still Need Your Help!
Many thanks to all of you who have helped team "Wild Things" pass the $2000 dollar mark!
We now have less than three weeks until PAWSwalk, and we are making a
big push to beat last year's team total of $5,400. Whether you give a
little or a lot, any amount will help get us closer to our goal.
If you would like to make a pledge to support the "Wild Things", or if
you would like to join the team and walk with us, please click here: https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=
PAWSwalk benefits all of the animals that PAWS cares for through
sponsorships, registrations and pledges. I hope you can join us for
this day of fun, celebration, and support for the animals!
Wild animals released between August 10 and August 23, 2005:
All rights reserved. ©2005 Progressive Animal Welfare Society
4 Band-tailed Pigeons
3 Eastern Cottontails
1 American Crow
1 Cooper's Hawk
2 Steller's Jays
1 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
1 Canada Goose
1 Least Sandpiper
1 Cooper's Hawk
396 wild animals have been released since the beginning of 2005.
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