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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.

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This week’s Critter is not usually in this area. Birders have been flocking to Pony Pasture to get a glimpse of the flock of Evening Grosbeaks that have been hanging out at Pony Pasture for over a week. Considered an irregular migrant. When cone crops in northern coniferous forests are poor, Evening Grosbeaks “irrupt” in fall and spend the winter far south of their normal range. These irruptions formerly happened every 2–3 years in the eastern United States but have become less frequent, particularly in the East, since the 1980s.

Where Spotted: Pony Pasture
Common Name: Evening Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Coccothraustes vespertinus
Length: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)
Weight: 1.9-2.6 oz (53-74 g)
Wingspan: 11.8-14.2 in (30-36 cm)

Quick Facts from Cornell Lab

  • The Evening Grosbeak is a songbird without a song—that is, it does not seem to use any complex sounds to attract a mate or defend its territory. It does have a small repertoire of simple calls, including sweet, piercing notes and burry chirps.
  • With their enormous bills, Evening Grosbeaks can crush seeds that are too large for Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins to open. These smaller birds often seek out the grosbeaks and glean the food scraps they leave behind.
  • Though they’re ferocious seed-crackers in the wintertime, in summer Evening Grosbeaks eat insects such as spruce budworm, a serious forest pest. The grosbeaks are so adept at finding these tiny caterpillars that the birds often provide a first warning that a budworm outbreak has begun.
  • In the mid-1800s, Evening Grosbeaks were uncommon to rare east of the Rockies, but then they began moving eastward with each winter migration, reaching Rhode Island in the winter of 1910–1911. By the 1920s they were considered a regular winter visitor in New England. This eastward expansion may be related to the growing number of ornamental box elders, which provide a steady food supply for the grosbeaks.
  • Evening Grosbeaks are irregular (or “irruptive”) winter migrants. Some years these spectacular finches show up at feeders far south of their normal winter range—providing a treat for backyard bird watchers. By joining Project FeederWatch you can keep track of visits by these and other winter birds—and the data you record will help scientists keep track of bird populations.
  • The oldest recorded Evening Grosbeak was a male, and at least 16 years, 3 months old when he was found in New Brunswick in 1974. He had been banded in Connecticut in 1959.

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.




Joey at RACC

Sex: Male
Pet ID: 87332
Primary Color: Black
Weight: 1.2
Age: 0yrs 0mths 12wks

 

Adopt Joey 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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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 or a bit further afield and a critter up for adoption by RACC or Ricmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Back Bay Nature Preserve near Virginia Beach (October)
Common Name: It has many, cottonmouth, water moccasin, swamp moccasin, black moccasin, or simply viper
Scientific Name: Agkistrodon piscivorus
Length: 26 to 35 in for males – females run a little smaller
Weight: 10.32 to 20.44 oz for males – 7.09 to 8.96 oz for females

Quick Facts Courtesy of Live Science

  • The name ‘cottonmouth’ comes from the white coloration of the inside of the snake’s mouth.
  • The water moccasin, North America’s only venomous water snake, has a distinctive blocky, triangular head; a thick body; and a dangerous bite. Water moccasins rarely bite humans, however, and only attack when threatened.
  • Water moccasins are pit vipers, like copperheads and rattlesnakes. Alll pit vipers have heat-sensing facial pits between their eyes and nostrils. These pits are able to detect minute differences in temperatures so that the snake can accurately strike the source of heat, which is often potential prey.
  • Juveniles have bright-yellow tail tips that they use as a caudal lure to attract prey. They undulate the tail tip slowly back and forth to lure prey, such as frogs, within striking distance.
  • Females give birth to live young every two to three years, in litters of about 10 to 20 babies.
  • Babies are born brightly colored and take off on their own as soon as they’re born. Parents do not care for them.
  • Water moccasins are often confused with nonvenomous snakes, leading to the death of many harmless snakes. According to the Virginia Herpetological Society, one such species is the northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon). It looks similar, but the crossbands on the back of the snake do not widen at the ends. Another snake often mistaken for the cottonmouth is the nonvenomous brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilota), which has most of its body below the water when in motion and only the head showing when it’s motionless, unlike the cottonmouth, whose entire body is on the surface of the water.

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.




Shrimp at Richmond SPCA

Shrimp is a hilarious, loving, and silly dog. She has a severe case of elbow dysplasia that causes her legs to bow out, and gives her a very odd gait when she walks. Her elbow dysplasia really doesn’t slow her down though, and she is still in good spirits!

She also has a condition called Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction where her soft palate is elongated. These medical needs will require long term treatment, but despite these conditions, Shrimp is happy go lucky, very affectionate, and very playful. She loves toys but likes to snuggle even more.

Age: 2 years,
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / Tan
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 46369399

Adopt Shrimp 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 our staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA have 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 Ricmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Westover Hills
Common Name: Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)
Scientific Name: Accipiter cooperii

Male
Length: 14.6-15.3 in (37-39 cm)
Weight: 7.8-14.5 oz (220-410 g)
Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 in (62-90 cm)
Female
Length: 16.5-17.7 in (42-45 cm)
Weight: 11.6-24.0 oz (330-680 g)
Wingspan: 29.5-35.4 in (75-90 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Dashing through vegetation to catch birds is a dangerous lifestyle. In a study of more than 300 Cooper’s Hawk skeletons, 23 percent showed old, healed-over fractures in the bones of the chest, especially of the furcula, or wishbone.
  • A Cooper’s Hawk captures a bird with its feet and kills it by repeated squeezing. Falcons tend to kill their prey by biting it, but Cooper’s Hawks hold their catch away from the body until it dies. They’ve even been known to drown their prey, holding a bird underwater until it stopped moving.
  • Once thought averse to towns and cities, Cooper’s Hawks are now fairly common urban and suburban birds. Some studies show their numbers are actually higher in towns than in their natural habitat, forests. Cities provide plenty of Rock Pigeon and Mourning Dove prey. Though one study in Arizona found a downside to the high-dove diet: Cooper’s Hawk nestlings suffered from a parasitic disease they acquired from eating dove meat.
  • Life is tricky for male Cooper’s Hawks. As in most hawks, males are significantly smaller than their mates. The danger is that female Cooper’s Hawks specialize in eating medium-sized birds. Males tend to be submissive to females and to listen out for reassuring call notes the females make when they’re willing to be approached. Males build the nest, then provide nearly all the food to females and young over the next 90 days before the young fledge.
  • The oldest recorded Cooper’s Hawk was a male and at least 20 years, 4 months old. He had been banded in California in 1986, and was found in Washington in 2006.

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.




 

Dayglow at Richmond SPCA

 

This aptly named feline, Dayglow emits a radiant aura but not in the diva sense but in princess way. One can tell that she appreciates when someone speaks very sweetly to her because she will find it in her heart to amble off her very comfy bed to say hello. As many folks know if a kitty has some calico in her genes there probably is some spice in her personality making her layered and VERY princess behaved. Overall, Dayglow is a darling rollie poly adorable girl that wants very much to fall in love.

Age: 7 years, 3 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Grey / Apricot
Declawed: No
ID: 45587465

Adopt Dayglow at 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 our staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA have 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.

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Where Spotted: Wetland
Common Name: Dark-eyed Junco
Scientific Name: Junco hyemalis
Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)

Quick Facts from the Cornell Lab

  • Juncos are the “snowbirds” of the middle latitudes. Over most of the eastern United States, they appear as winter sets in, and then retreat northward each spring. Other juncos are year-round residents, retreating into woodlands during the breeding season, or, like those of the Appalachian Mountains, moving to higher elevations during the warmer months.
  • The Dark-eyed Junco is one of the most common birds in North America and can be found across the continent, from Alaska to Mexico, from California to New York. A recent estimate set the junco’s total population at approximately 630 million individuals.
  • The oldest recorded Dark-eyed Junco was at least 11 years, 4 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in West Virginia in 2001. It had been banded in the same state in 1991.

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. Also, check out our set of Bald Eagle photos that we posted earlier this week.




It’S Bo Time! at Richmond RACC

This big hunk of love is It’s Bo Time! If you’re looking for an affectionate, loving cuddle-bug, this is your guy! He is not aware of his size and thinks he’s a lap dog. Even though he’s larger, he walks really well on leash. He loves dogs, but is more dominant and kind of a bulldozer so he will need a friend closer to his size. We also think he had previous training experience because he responds very well to correction.

Please reach out if you are interested in It’s Bo Time!

Primary Color: Blue Brindle
Secondary Color: White
Weight: 64
Age: 3yrs 0mths 2wks
Pet ID: 87821

Adopt It’s Bo Time 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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