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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Westover Hills
Common Name: White-Breasted Nuthatch
Scientific Name: Sitta carolinensis
Length: 5.1–5.5 in.
Weight: 0.63–1.06 oz
Wingspan: 7.9–10.6 in

Quick Facts (Courtesy of the Cornell Lab)

  • The White-breasted Nuthatch is normally territorial throughout the year, with pairs staying together. The male has to spend more time looking out for predators when he’s alone than while he’s with his mate. That’s the pattern for most birds, and one reason why birds spend so much time in flocks. But the female nuthatch has to put up with the male pushing her aside from foraging sites, so she spends more time looking around (for him) when he’s around than when she is alone.
  • In winter, White-breasted Nuthatches join foraging flocks led by chickadees or titmice, perhaps partly because it makes food easier to find and partly because more birds can keep an eye out for predators. One study found that when titmice were removed from a flock, nuthatches were more wary and less willing to visit exposed bird feeders.
  • If you see a White-breasted Nuthatch making lots of quick trips to and from your feeder – too many for it to be eating them all – it may be storing the seeds for later in the winter, by wedging them into furrows in the bark of nearby trees.
  •  When a bird leaves the nest hole, it wipes around the entrance with a piece of fur or vegetation; this makes it more difficult for a predator to find the nest using its sense of smell. The nuthatch may also smear blister beetles around the entrance to its nest, and it has been suggested that the unpleasant smell from the crushed insects deters squirrels, its chief competitor for natural tree cavities. (Wikipedia)

Sidenote: I’ve been busy this week but I’m still posting birds on Dickie’s Backyard Bird Bonanza on Facebook if you’d like to see more feathered friends. If you like the work we do here at RVAHub show your appreciation by making a donation.




Hawkins at Richmond SPCA

Hawkins is a handsome boy that is looking for just the right home and environment for him. If you’re interested in learning more about Hawkins please contact the Richmond SPCA adoption center at 804-521-1307 to meet with an adoption counselor and Hawkins.

Age: 5 years, 11 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Tan / White
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 42099225

Adopt Hawkins at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Shout out to @Vanjester on Instagram or donated her awesome photo of the opossum. Check out her Instagram it’s one of our favorites.

Where Spotted: Southside
Common Name: Opossum
Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana
Length: 2.5 feet (76 centimeters), nose to tail
Weight: 8.8 to 13.2 lbs. (4 to 6 kilograms)

Quick Facts (more than usual)

  • North America’s only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. The female carries and nurses her young in her marsupium until they are about 2 to 3 months old; then they are carried on her back another 1 to 2 months whenever they are away from the den.
  • When threatened or harmed, they will “play possum”, mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. This physiological response is involuntary (like fainting), rather than a conscious act. When an opossum is “playing possum”, the animal’s lips are drawn back, the teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, the eyes close or half-close, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands.
  • Opossums eat dead animals, insects, rodents and birds. They also feed on eggs, frogs, plants, fruits and grain. One source notes their need for high amounts of calcium.[40] To fulfill this need, opossums eat the skeletal remains of rodents and roadkill animals. Opossums also eat dog food, cat food and human food waste.
  • Opossums are also notable for their ability to clean themselves of ticks, which they then eat. Some estimates suggest they can eliminate up to 5,000 ticks in a season.[44]
  • Many large opossums (Didelphini) are immune to the venom of rattlesnakes and pit vipers (Crotalinae) and regularly prey upon these snakes.
  • The Virginia opossum was once widely hunted and consumed in the United States. Opossum farms have been operated in the United States in the past.

Skittles at Richmond SPCA

Hello everybody! My name is Skittles and I am always ready to make a statement. I know it is time to break out the trumpets and play the bugles because I am ready to prance into my own adoption parade! If you like to have fun and smile a lot, I am just the girl for you. We could have a downright blast together and I am becoming giddy by the minute simply thinking of how many photo albums we can fill together. I am waiting right here, at the Richmond SPCA!
Age: 6 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brown / White
Declawed: No
ID: 44432944

Adopt Skittles at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

 

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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Dutch Gap
Common Name: Cedar Waxwing
Scientific Name: Bombycilla cedrorum
Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)

Quick Facts (Courtesy of the Cornell Lab)

  • The name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates.
  • Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats enough of the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.
  • The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don’t survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can’t develop on such a high-fruit diet.
  • Many birds that eat a lot of fruit separate out the seeds and regurgitate them, but the Cedar Waxwing lets them pass right through. Scientists have used this trait to estimate how fast waxwings can digest fruits.
  • Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol.

Sidenote: I’m also posting birds on Dickie’s Backyard Bird Bonanza on Facebook if you’d like to see more feathered friends.

If you like the work we do here at RVAHub show your appreciation by making a donation.




Judge at Richmond SPCA

They call me Judge. The ladies love me, the fellas want to be me. What can I say? I’m a pretty handsome guy. Looks aside, I’m a stoic and independent dude. Some people call me stubborn, but I just like what I like. Ever hear Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? Well that was written about me.

I live for long walks, having my hair brushed, and learning new things. It may take some time to get in my “in-crowd” but believe me it’s worth it. I’m a loyal and, quite frankly, I’m an awesome friend. I’m looking for a very specific home to fit my needs. Please call our adoption center at 804-521-1307 to set up an appointment to meet with me!

Age: 4 years, 2 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: White
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 41339185

Adopt Judge at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Bryan Park
Common Name: Blue Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 8.7 – 12 in.
Weight: 2.3 – 3.8 oz
Wingspan: 13–17 in

Quick Facts (Courtesy of the Cornell Lab)

  • Thousands of Blue Jays migrate in flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coasts, but much about their migration remains a mystery. Some are present throughout winter in all parts of their range. Young jays may be more likely to migrate than adults, but many adults also migrate. Some individual jays migrate south one year, stay north the next winter, and then migrate south again the next year. No one has worked out why they migrate when they do.
  • The Blue Jay frequently mimics the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk. These calls may provide information to other jays that a hawk is around, or may be used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present.
  • Tool use has never been reported for wild Blue Jays, but captive Blue Jays used strips of newspaper to rake in food pellets from outside their cages.
  • The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue color is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.

Kurt Cobain at Richmond SPCA

 

With the food out it’s less dangerous
Here we are meow, entertain us
I feel frisky and outrageous
Here we are meow, entertain us

Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Orange
Declawed: No
ID: 44163819

Adopt Curt Kobain at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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