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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

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Where Spotted: Reedy Creek and Forest Hill Park Lake
Common Name: Belted Kingfisher
Scientific Name: Megaceryle alcyon
Length: 11.0-13.8 in (28-35 cm)
Weight: 4.9-6.0 oz (140-170 g)
Wingspan: 18.9-22.8 in (48-58 cm)

Quick Facts (Cornell Lab)

  • The breeding distribution of the Belted Kingfisher is limited in some areas by the availability of suitable nesting sites. Human activity, such as road building and digging gravel pits, has created banks where kingfishers can nest and allowed the expansion of the breeding range.
  • The Belted Kingfisher is one of the few bird species in which the female is more brightly colored than the male. Among the nearly 100 species of kingfishers, the sexes often look alike. In some species the male is more colorful, and in others the female is.
  • During breeding season the Belted Kingfisher pair defends a territory against other kingfishers. A territory along a stream includes just the streambed and the vegetation along it, and averages 0.6 mile long. The nest burrow is usually in a dirt bank near water. The tunnel slopes upward from the entrance, perhaps to keep water from entering the nest. Tunnel length ranges from 1 to 8 feet.
  • As nestlings, Belted Kingfishers have acidic stomachs that help them digest bones, fish scales, and arthropod shells. But by the time they leave the nest, their stomach chemistry apparently changes, and they begin regurgitating pellets which accumulate on the ground around fishing and roosting perches. Scientists can dissect these pellets to learn about the kingfisher’s diet without harming or even observing any wild birds.
  • Belted Kingfishers wander widely, sometimes showing up in the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the British Isles, the Azores, Iceland, Greenland, and the Netherlands.
  • Pleistocene fossils of Belted Kingfishers (to 600,000 years old) have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas. The oldest known fossil in the kingfisher genus is 2 million years old, found in Alachua County, Florida.

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.




Huxley at Richmond SPCA

Hi, I’m Huxley! I’m a sweet, fun loving kitten. I love to play with other kitties, but can hang out on my own too. I’m looking for a forever home. I have some special medical needs, but nothing that’s expensive. Please call 804-521-1307 to find out more about me.

Age: , 5 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / White
Declawed: No
ID: 45022496

Adopt Huxley 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 further afield) and a critter up for adoption by RACC.

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This is a repeat (new Quick Facts) from last year because it’s THANKSGIVING.

Where Spotted: Amherst County (not RVA but seasonally appropriate)
Common Name: Wild Turkey
Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo
Average Length: 30 to 37 in for the females (hens) and 39–49 in for the males (toms)
Weight: 9.4 lb for the females (hens) and 11 to 24 lb for the males (toms)
Wingspan: 4 ft 1 in to 4 ft 9 in

Quick Facts from Cornell Lab

  • The Wild Turkey and the Muscovy Duck are the only two domesticated birds native to the New World.
  • In the early 1500s, European explorers brought home Wild Turkeys from Mexico, where native people had domesticated the birds centuries earlier. Turkeys quickly became popular on European menus thanks to their large size and rich taste from their diet of wild nuts. Later, when English colonists settled on the Atlantic Coast, they brought domesticated turkeys with them.
  • The English name of the bird may be a holdover from early shipping routes that passed through the country of Turkey on their way to delivering the birds to European markets.
  • Male Wild Turkeys provide no parental care. Newly hatched chicks follow the female, who feeds them for a few days until they learn to find food on their own. As the chicks grow, they band into groups composed of several hens and their broods. Winter groups sometimes exceed 200 turkeys.
  • As Wild Turkey numbers dwindled through the early twentieth century, people began to look for ways to reintroduce this valuable game bird. Initially they tried releasing farm turkeys into the wild but those birds didn’t survive. In the 1940s, people began catching wild birds and transporting them to other areas. Such transplantations allowed Wild Turkeys to spread to all of the lower 48 states (plus Hawaii) and parts of southern Canada.
  • Because of their large size, compact bones, and long-standing popularity as a dinner item, turkeys have a better known fossil record than most other birds. Turkey fossils have been unearthed across the southern United States and Mexico, some of them dating from more than 5 million years ago.
  • When they need to, Turkeys can swim by tucking their wings in close, spreading their tails, and kicking.

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.




Luna Tuna at Richmond RACC

Breed: American Pit Bull Terrier Mix
Age: Young
Size: (when grown) Med. 26-60 lbs (12-27 kg)
Sex: Female
Pet ID: 87282

Adopt Luna Tuna at Richmond RACC

Due to COVID-19, the shelter is currently closed and adoptions are scheduled by appointment only. Adoptions are scheduled on a first come, first serve or best fit basis.

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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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Side note, the “crown” gets much more noticeable when the bird is excited. See an example here.

Where Spotted: Wetlands
Common Name: Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Scientific Name: Regulus calendula
Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a tiny bird that lays a very large clutch of eggs—there can be up to 12 in a single nest. Although the eggs themselves weigh only about a fiftieth of an ounce, an entire clutch can weigh as much as the female herself.
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglets seem nervous as they flit through the foliage, flicking their wings nearly constantly. Keeping an eye out for this habit can be a useful aid to identifying kinglets.
  • Metabolic studies on Ruby-crowned Kinglets suggest that these tiny birds use only about 10 calories (technically, kilocalories) per day.
  • The oldest known Ruby-crowned Kinglet was a female, and at least 4 years, 7 months old, when she was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in California in 2007. She had been banded in the same state in 2003.

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.




Trebek at Richmond SPCA

Trebek is one handsome outgoing boy! He is a larger frame guy who is so eager to say hello to new friends. Trebek loves rolling around getting all the attention and is always up for a chin scratch or 5. This is one special guy, you don’t want to miss your chance to make him a part of your family.

Age: 5 years,
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Orange / White
Declawed: No
ID: 46062555

Adopt Trebek 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 sometimes further out) and a critter up for adoption by SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Pony Pasture
Common Name: Northern Ficker (Yellow Shafted)
Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 11.0-12.2 in (28-31 cm)
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz (110-160 g)
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in (42-51 cm)

Quick Facts (Cornell Lab)

  • Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its main food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.
  • The red-shafted and yellow-shafted forms of the Northern Flicker formerly were considered different species. The two forms hybridize extensively in a wide zone from Alaska to the panhandle of Texas. A hybrid often has some traits from each of the two forms and some traits that are intermediate between them. The Red-shafted Flicker also hybridizes with the Gilded Flicker, but less frequently.
  • The Northern Flicker is one of the few North American woodpeckers that is strongly migratory. Flickers in the northern parts of their range move south for the winter, although a few individuals often stay rather far north.
  • Northern Flickers generally nest in holes in trees like other woodpeckers. Occasionally, they’ve been found nesting in old, earthen burrows vacated by Belted Kingfishers or Bank Swallows.
  • Like most woodpeckers, Northern Flickers drum on objects as a form of communication and territory defense. In such cases, the object is to make as loud a noise as possible, and that’s why woodpeckers sometimes drum on metal objects. One Northern Flicker in Wyoming could be heard drumming on an abandoned tractor from a half-mile away.
  • The oldest known yellow-shafted form of the Northern Flicker was a male and was at least 9 years, 2 months old when he was found in Florida. The oldest red-shafted form of Northern Flicker lived to be at least 8 years, 9 months old.

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.




Stitch at Richmond SPCA

Stitch is one special guy who has stolen all our hearts here at the Richmond SPCA. He loves everyone he meets and is always up for some snorting and kisses. He likes to take nice leisure strolls outside and nap on his big bed afterwards. Stitch has the kind of face you just fall in love with. Stitch is a one of a kind dog and you don’t want to miss out on your chance to take this sweet boy home.

Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Grey / White
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 45889976

Adopt Huxley 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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