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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 SPCA.

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Published

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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

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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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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: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Common Name: Yellow Garden Spider, Black and Gold Garden Spider, Zipper Spider and many more
Scientific Name: Argiope aurantia
Size: Males range from 5–9 mm (0.20–0.35 in); females range from 19–28 mm (0.75–1.10 in).

Quick Facts

  • The web of the yellow garden spider is distinctive: a circular shape up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, in the center. The purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed. It is possible that it acts as camouflage for the spider lurking in the web’s center, but it may also attract insect prey, or even warn birds of the presence of the otherwise difficult-to-see web. Only those spiders that are active during the day construct stabilimenta in their webs.
  • In a nightly ritual, the spider consumes the circular interior part of the web and then rebuilds it each morning with fresh new silk.
  • The web normally remains in one location for the entire summer, but spiders can change locations usually early in the season, perhaps to find better protection or better hunting.
  • Their venom often contains a library of polyamine toxins with potential as therapeutic medicinal agents. Notable among these is the argiotoxin ArgTX-636.
  • Yellow garden spiders breed twice a year. The males roam in search of a female, building a small web near or actually in the female’s web, then court the females by plucking strands on her web. Often, when the male approaches the female, he has a safety drop line ready, in case she attacks him.
  • This spider is found from Canada to Costa Rica, but less so in the basin and mountain areas of the Rockies.

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.




Wheat Thin at Richmond SPCA

Hi! My name is Wheat Thin and I’m a cute, curious 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’d like to take me home, call the Richmond SPCA adoption center to schedule a time to meet me!

Age: 4 years, 2 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / White
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 45419238

Adopt Wheat Thin 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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