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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: Bryan Park
Common Name: Killdeer (and they look so innocent)
Scientific Name: Strix varia
Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)
Weight: 2.6-4.5 oz (75-128 g)
Wingspan: 18.1-18.9 in (46-48 cm)

Quick Facts (Cornell Lab)

  • Killdeer get their name from the shrill, wailing kill-deer call they give so often. Eighteenth-century naturalists also noticed how noisy Killdeer are, giving them names such as the Chattering Plover and the Noisy Plover.
  • Gravel rooftops attract Killdeer for nesting, but can be dangerous places to raise a brood. Chicks may be unable to leave a roof because of high parapets and screened drain openings. Adults eventually lure chicks off the roof, which can be dangerous – although one set of chicks survived a leap from a seven-story building.
  • The Killdeer’s broken-wing act leads predators away from a nest, but doesn’t keep cows or horses from stepping on eggs. To guard against large hoofed animals, the Killdeer uses a quite different display, fluffing itself up, displaying its tail over its head, and running at the beast to attempt to make it change its path.
  • A well-known denizen of dry habitats, the Killdeer is actually a proficient swimmer. Adults swim well in swift-flowing water, and chicks can swim across small streams.
  • The male and female of a mated pair pick out a nesting site through a ritual known as a scrape ceremony. The male lowers his breast to the ground and scrapes a shallow depression with his feet. The female then approaches, head lowered, and takes his place. The male then stands with body tilted slightly forward, tail raised and spread, calling rapidly. Mating often follows.
  • Killdeer lay their eggs into an empty nest but add other materials later on. Some of these items they pick up as they are leaving and toss over their shoulder into the nest. In one nest in Oklahoma, people found more than 1,500 pebbles had accumulated this way.
  • The oldest recorded Killdeer was at least 10 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Kansas.

If you like these photos be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




Rufflet at Richmond SPCA

Rufflet is a sweet man looking for a good friend to adopt him. Rufflet is looking forward to quiet naps with friends, lazy days lounging around the house, and taking relaxing walks around a quiet neighborhood. Schedule a visit to meet Rufflet today to see what a charming man he is.

Age: 12 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Tan
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 45240277

Adopt Rufflet 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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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.

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Where Spotted: Reedy Creek and Bryan Park
Common Name: Black-capped Chickadee
Scientific Name: Poecile atricapillus
Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in (16-21 cm)

Quick Facts

  • The Black-capped Chickadee hides seeds and other food items to eat later. Each item is placed in a different spot and the chickadee can remember thousands of hiding places.
  • Every autumn Black-capped Chickadees allow brain neurons containing old information to die, replacing them with new neurons so they can adapt to changes in their social flocks and environment even with their tiny brains.
  • Chickadee calls are complex and language-like, communicating information on identity and recognition of other flocks as well as predator alarms and contact calls. The more dee notes in a chickadee-dee-dee call, the higher the threat level.
  • Winter flocks with chickadees serving as the nucleus contain mated chickadee pairs and nonbreeders, but generally not the offspring of the adult pairs within that flock. Other species that associate with chickadee flocks include nuthatches, woodpeckers, kinglets, creepers, warblers and vireos.
  • Most birds that associate with chickadee flocks respond to chickadee alarm calls, even when their own species doesn’t have a similar alarm call.
  • There is a dominance hierarchy within flocks. Some birds are “winter floaters” that don’t belong to a single flock—these individuals may have a different rank within each flock they spend time in.
  • Even when temperatures are far below zero, chickadees virtually always sleep in their own individual cavities. In rotten wood, they can excavate nesting and roosting holes entirely on their own.
  • Because small songbirds migrating through an unfamiliar area often associate with chickadee flocks, watching and listening for chickadee flocks during spring and fall can often alert birders to the presence of interesting migrants.
  • The oldest known wild Black-capped Chickadee was a male and at least 11 years, 6 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Minnesota in 2011. It had been banded in the same state in 2002.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




 

Bonjour at Richmond SPCA

Bonjour! My name is…well…Bonjour and I’m a cute, curious little mademoiselle looking for my place in this world and I hope that it’s with you! I love to play with toys and then have a cuddle session afterwards. I am quite silly and sure to keep you smiling with my antics. If you’d like to take me home, call the Richmond SPCA adoption center to schedule a time to meet me!

Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: White / Orange
Declawed: No
ID: 45496770

Adopt Bonjour 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.

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Where Spotted: Reedy Creek
Common Name: Red-eyed Vireo
Scientific Name: Vireo olivaceus
Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
Weight: 0.4-0.9 oz (12-26 g)
Wingspan: 9.1-9.8 in (23-25 cm)

 

Quick Facts (Courtesy of Cornell Labs)

  • The red iris that gives the Red-eyed Vireo its name doesn’t develop until the end of the birds’ first winter. Then the brown iris the birds were born with becomes dull brick red to bright crimson in different individuals.
  • Some find the Red-eyed Vireo’s song unending and monotonous. Bradford Torrey wrote in 1889, “I have always thought that whoever dubbed this vireo the ‘preacher’ could have had no very exalted opinion of the clergy.” But each male sings 30 or more different songs, and neighbors have unique repertoires. Over 12,500 different Red-eyed Vireo song types have been recorded.
  • On May 27, 1952, Louise de Kiriline Lawrence counted the number of songs sung by a single Red-eyed Vireo seeking a mate on his territory 180 miles north of Toronto. He sang 22,197 songs in the 14 hours from just before dawn to evening, singing for 10 of those hours.
  • From the 1920s to the 1940s Red-eyed Vireos expanded west into Utah and Oregon and northeast into Newfoundland. The most likely cause is new shelterbelts and landscaping, particularly where eastern tree species were planted. Since the 1970s, however, numbers in the Big Basin region of the West seem to have fallen steadily.
  • Several subspecies of Red-eyed Vireos remain resident in South America or migrate only within that continent.
  • The Red-eyed Vireo’s magnetic compass guides migration between continents. But fat stores seem to influence migration paths when the birds encounter the Gulf of Mexico. Fatter birds head across the Gulf, while leaner birds hug the coastline or travel inland around the Gulf. Cloud cover also makes routes near land more likely.
  • The oldest known Red-eyed Vireo was at least 10 years, 2 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operation in Maryland.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




Vander at Richmond SPCA

Hey there! My name is Vander and I was transferred to the Richmond SPCA from Texas. I can be nervous in new situations, so I need someone that will proceed with things at my pace. Are you a patient person that is willing to take things slow for a pup like me? If so, I might be a great fit for you! Please call the nice folks at the Richmond SPCA adoption center at 804-521-1307. Thanks!

Age: 4 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: White / Black
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 45395097

Adopt Vander 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.

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Where Spotted: T-Pot Bridge
Common Name: Green Heron – The one pictured is a young one. Here are some photos (not mine) of an adult Green Heron.
Scientific Name: Butorides virescens
Length: 16.1-18.1 in (41-46 cm)
Weight: 8.5 oz (240 g)
Wingspan: 25.2-26.8 in (64-68 cm)

Quick Facts (Courtesy of Cornell Labs)

  • The Green Heron is part of a complex of small herons that sometimes are considered one species. When lumped, they are called Green-backed Heron. When split, they are the Green Heron, the widespread Striated Heron, and the Galapagos Heron.
  • The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It often creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, and feathers, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.
  • Green Herons usually hunt by wading in shallow water, but occasionally they dive for deep-water prey and need to swim back to shore—probably with help from the webs between their middle and outer toes. One juvenile heron was seen swimming gracefully for more than 60 feet, sitting upright “like a little swan,” according to one observer.
  • Like many herons, the Green Heron tends to wander outside of its breeding range after the nesting season is over. Most of the wanderers stay nearby as they search for good feeding habitat, but some travel long distances. Individuals have turned up as far away as England and France.
  • The oldest Green Heron on record was at least 7 years, 11 months old when it was found in Mexico in 1979. It had been banded in Oklahoma in 1971.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




Adopt Cayenne at Richmond SPCA

Hi! My name is Cayenne and I’m a cute, curious little lady looking for my place in this world and I hope that it’s with you! I love to play with toys and then have a cuddle session afterwards. I am quite silly and sure to keep you smiling with my antics. If you’re interested in adopting me, call the Richmond SPCA today to set up an appointment!

Age: 1 year, 2 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / Orange
Declawed: No
ID: 45072264

Adopt Cayenne 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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