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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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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 RACC or Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Wetlands
Common Name: Hermit Thrush
Scientific Name: Catharus guttatus
Length: 5.5-7.1 in (14-18 cm)
Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (23-37 g)
Wingspan: 9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Lab

  • Males usually gather food for the nest, while females feed the nestlings. The young birds start by eating bits of larvae, then grasshoppers, moths, and spiders. One Hermit Thrush has been seen trying to give a nestling a salamander more than 1.5 inches long.
  • Hermit Thrushes usually make their nests in and around trees and shrubs, but they can also get more creative. Nests have been found on a cemetery grave, on a golf course, and in a mine shaft.
  • Hermit Thrushes sometimes forage by “foot quivering,” where they shake bits of grass with their feet to get insects. They also typically begin to quiver their feet as they relax after seeing a flying predator. Some scientists think the quivering happens as the bird responds to conflicting impulses to resume foraging or continue taking cover.
  • East of the Rocky Mountains the Hermit Thrush usually nests on the ground. In the West, it is more likely to nest in trees.
  • Hermit Thrushes make several distinct calls around their nests. They will sometimes make a rising byob sound similar to a canary call or mewing kitten. Females frequently rearrange their eggs while making quit quit noises. In the morning, two adults meeting near the nest will greet each other with a pweet pweet call.
  • Hermit Thrushes are part of a genus (Catharus) that includes four other similar thrushes in North America: the Veery, Swainson’s Thrush, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Bicknell’s Thrush. In the northeastern mountains, the Veery lives at the lowest elevations, Hermit Thrushes at middle elevations, and Swainson’s Thrushes at high elevations.
  • The oldest recorded Hermit Thrush was at least 10 years, 10 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Maryland in 2009. It had been banded in the same state in 1999.

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.




Ratatouille at Richmond SPCA

Hi! My name is Ratatouille and I’m a cute, curious little gal 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. Won’t you please take me home today?

Age: 1 year, 7 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / Orange
Declawed: No
ID: 45165190

Adopt Ratatouille at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of thier staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA has transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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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 RACC or Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Dutch Gap
Common Name: Muskrat
Scientific Name: Ondatra zibethicus
Length: 20–35 cm (8–10 in)
Weight: 0.6–2 kg (1.3–4.4 lb)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Live Science

  • The muskrat is native to North America. In the early 20th century, though, the animal was introduced to northern Eurasia, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). They are now found in Ukraine, Russia, adjacent areas of China and Mongolia and the Honshu Island in Japan.
  • Muskrats are very social and live in large, territorial families, according to the ADW. They communicate with others and mark their territory with a secretion from their glands called musk. The scent serves as a warning to intruders.
  • Muskrats aren’t picky. In fact, they will even resort to cannibalism in their own family, according to the ADW. Mostly though, they tend to prefer vegetation like cattails, waterlilies, roots and pondweed. They also eat snails, mussels, salamanders, crustaceans, fish and young birds.
  • These small animals are very big eaters. Muskrats eat one-third of their weight every day, according to the ADW. Though they need a large supply of food, muskrats usually don’t travel any farther than 150 feet (46 meters) away from their homes.
  • Though not great on land, muskrats are fantastic swimmers. They can hold their breath under water for 12 to 17 minutes, according to the ADW. They can swim up to about 3 mph (5 km/h) thanks to their paddle-like webbed feet. Muskrats can even swim backward.

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.




Nugget at Richmond SPCA

Who doesn’t love to treat themselves every now and again? A new outfit, a trip to the movies, a milkshake, or maybe even a Nugget. That’s me! I’m thinking it’s time I get myself a new home to call my own. I need a little time to assess the situation when I’m meeting new people, but once we’re friends we are friends for life! If you wanna team up with me, have your people call my people.

Age: 3 years, 11 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black / Blue
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 44013649

Adopt Nugget at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of thier staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA has transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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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 RACC or Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Shield Lake
Common Name: Ring-billed Gull
Scientific Name: Larus delawarensis
Length: 16.9-21.3 in (43-54 cm)
Weight: 10.6-24.7 oz (300-700 g)
Wingspan: 41.3-46.1 in (105-117 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Ring-billed Gulls near Tampa Bay, Florida, became accustomed to feasting on garbage at an open landfill site. Then, in 1983, operators replaced the dumping grounds with closed incinerators. The thwarted scavengers found themselves another open dump, but the pattern continues all across the gull’s range. When waste-management practices shift from open landfills to closed incinerators, gull numbers often drop.
  • Some Ring-billed Gull nests at study sites in California and Oregon contained pebbles the size and shape of gull eggs. The parents apparently pulled the pebbles into their nests from the surrounding ground, mistaking them for eggs gone astray.
  • Ring-billed Gull nesting colonies normally include a small percentage of two-female couples. Fertilized by an obliging male, each female spouse lays a clutch of eggs, leading to 5–7-egg “superclutches.”
  • Many, if not most, Ring-billed Gulls return to breed at the colony where they hatched. Once they have bred, they are likely to return to the same breeding spot each year, often nesting within a few meters of the last year’s nest site. Many individuals return to the same wintering sites each winter too.
  • Although it is considered a typical large white-headed gull, the Ring-billed Gull has been known to hybridize only with smaller, black-headed species, such as Franklin’s, Black-headed, and Laughing gulls.
  • Migrating Ring-billed Gulls apparently use a built-in compass to navigate. When tested at only two days of age, chicks showed a preference for magnetic bearings that would take them in the appropriate direction for their fall migration. The gulls also rely on landmarks and high-altitude winds to provide directional cues.
  • The oldest recorded Ring-billed Gull was at least 27 years, 6 months old when it was found in New York.

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.




Pebble at Richmond SPCA

 

Why hello there. My name is Pebble and i’m a sweet quiet gal who enjoys a nice window to lounge in or a comfy bed to waste away the afternoon in. I’m not all naps and sunshine though I still have some spunk in me and enjoy a nice laser pointer session or a wand toy. If I sound like the gal for you then give the Richmond SPCA a call to learn more about me.

Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brown
Declawed: No
ID: 46466038

Adopt Pebble at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of thier staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA has transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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