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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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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: Bryan Park
Common Name: Solitary Sandpiper
Scientific Name: Tringa solitaria
Length: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)
Weight: 1.1-2.3 oz (31.1-65.1 g)
Wingspan: 21.6-22.4 in (55-57 cm)

Cool Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Although the Solitary Sandpiper was first described by ornithologist Alexander Wilson in 1813, its nest was not discovered until 1903. Until that time, eggs and young of the Spotted Sandpiper were misidentified as those of the Solitary Sandpiper.
  • The Solitary Sandpiper lays its eggs in old nests of several different songbirds, particularly those of the American Robin, Rusty Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Canada Jay, and Cedar Waxwing.
  • Of the world’s 85 sandpiper species, only the Solitary Sandpiper and the Green Sandpiper of Eurasia routinely lay eggs in tree nests instead of on the ground.

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.




Pocket at Richmond SPCA

Are you searching for a fun, friendly and adorable family member? My name is Pocket and I’m the girl for you! I am pretty lonely here by myself, just waiting for my special someone to come along. Won’t you please take me home today?

Age: 2 years, 7 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: White / Tan
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 48724902

Adopt Pocket at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption 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 SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Bryan Park
Common Name: Orchard Oriole
Scientific Name: Icterus spurius
Length: 5.9-7.1 in (15-18 cm)
Weight: 0.6-1.0 oz (16-28 g)
Wingspan: 9.8 in (25 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • On their favorite habitats—along river edges, for example—Orchard Orioles nest in groups, often with multiple nests in a single tree. On less suitable habitats, however, they tend to be solitary.
  • Orchard Orioles migrate north late in the spring and head southward early, with some returning to their wintering grounds as early as mid-July. Because of the short breeding season, researchers have trouble distinguishing between breeding orioles and migrating ones in any given location.
  • The Orchard Oriole eats nectar and pollen from flowers, especially during the winter. It is a pollinator for some tropical plant species: as it feeds, its head gets dusted with pollen, which then gets transferred from flower to flower. Sometimes, though, the oriole pierces the flower’s base to suck out the nectar—getting the reward without rendering a service to the plant.
  • Orchard Orioles are relatively easygoing toward each other or other bird species, nesting in close quarters with Baltimore Orioles, Bullock’s Orioles, Eastern Kingbirds, Western Kingbirds, American Robins, and Chipping Sparrows. The aggressive kingbirds may be useful neighbors because they ward off predators and cowbirds (which lay their eggs in the nests of other birds).
  • The oldest Orchard Oriole on record was a male, and at least 11 years old when he was recaptured and released during banding operations in Maryland in 2012.

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.




Tonka Truck at Richmond SPCA

Greetings! I am Tonka Truck, the Great and Powerful! I am a fun-loving and flashy guy who is ready to grant all of your wishes… as long as those wishes are to cuddle and laugh and play with me! I know that we’ll have grand adventures together so please take me home today!

Age: 4 years,
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Brown
ID: 50093239

Adopt Tonka Truck at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption 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 SPCA.

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Where Spotted: T-Pot Bridge
Common Name: Indigo Bunting
Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea
Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Lab

  • Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. Researchers demonstrated this process in the late 1960s by studying captive Indigo Buntings in a planetarium and then under the natural night sky. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.
  • Indigo Buntings learn their songs as youngsters, from nearby males but not from their fathers. Buntings a few hundred yards apart generally sing different songs, while those in the same “song neighborhood” share nearly identical songs. A local song may persist up to 20 years, gradually changing as new singers add novel variations.
  • Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue.
  • Bunting plumage does contain the pigment melanin, whose dull brown-black hue you can see if you hold a blue feather up so the light comes from behind it, instead of toward it.
  • Indigo and Lazuli buntings defend territories against each other in the western Great Plains where they occur together, share songs, and sometimes interbreed.
  • The oldest recorded wild Indigo Bunting was a male, and at least 13 years, 3 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ohio in 2013.

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.




Groot at Richmond SPCA

Meet Groot! This big handsome fella is looking for the perfect family to call his own. He loves being outside, playing with friends, and lounging in big comfy beds. Ask to visit this big boy today and fall in love!

Age: 10 years,
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Brown / White
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 38239355

Adopt Groot at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

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