As I sit in my office writing this, I can hear squealing and chittering noises drifting down the hallway from the small mammal nursery—a familiar sound that is a mix of excitement and protest coming from baby raccoons at feeding time. If I leave my office and walk downstairs, I will hear the peeping of ducklings and the chirping of nestling songbirds begging to be fed. An array of interesting sounds emanates from different cages. A few cages are silent, their young occupants sleeping away the hours (or in some cases, minutes) until their next feeding. Spring has arrived, the wild animal babies are here, and they are eagerly demonstrating that relatively small bodies can create incredibly large voices.
Unfortunately, you can’t hear these delightful sounds, but I am able to show you photos of the young animals to which the voices belong. The following pictures represent only a small number of the babies recently cared for at the PAWS Wildlife Center. I hope you enjoy them! —Kevin Mack, Naturalist
Raccoons are weaned onto solid food slowly. The first food that they are offered is a mix of formula and solid food that we call "raccoon mush". As these two raccoons clearly show, they like it, but they sometimes get carried away. Bath time immediately followed this photo.
A fledgling Steller’s jay shows off his new flight and tail feathers. He will soon be putting them to good use as he learns to fly in an outdoor aviary.
A group of mallard ducklings goes for a swim. PAWS has recently had more than 70 mallards in its care.
This Short-tailed weasel has grown quickly over the past two weeks since he came into our care. Not only are his eyes and ears now fully opened; he has also been completely weaned onto solid food. In this photo, he is enjoying a good stretch.
A young Band-tailed pigeon waits for his next meal. Band-tailed pigeons are native, woodland pigeons. They are far more wary of humans than their cousin, the Rock Pigeon, which inhabits cities in great numbers.
This young Barred owl fell out of the nest, or was knocked out by a sibling. In the process, he suffered a fractured ulna, and thus could not be returned to the nest. His injuries are being treated at PAWS, and he will likely be released in the late summer or early fall.
A fledgling wren takes a break from his meal to pose for the camera. Until he is completely self- feeding, this bird and his cage mates must be hand fed every 30 minutes.
Too much ambient light can be distracting while you are trying to sleep. This young raccoon demonstrates the proper way to correct the problem. There are currently about 30-orphaned raccoons in care at PAWS.