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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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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 Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Dutch Gap
Common Name: American Coot
Scientific Name: Fulica americana
Length: 15.5-16.9 in (39.4-42.9 cm)
Weight: 21.2-24.7 oz (600-700 g)
Wingspan: 23.0-25.0 in (58.4-63.5 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Although it swims like a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. Instead, each one of the coot’s long toes has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on mucky ground.
  • American Coots in the winter can be found in rafts of mixed waterfowl and in groups numbering up to several thousand individuals.
  • The ecological impact of common animals, like this ubiquitous waterbird, can be impressive when you add it all up. One estimate from Back Bay, Virginia, suggested that the local coot population ate 216 tons (in dry weight) of vegetation per winter.
  • The oldest known American Coot lived to be at least 22 years 4 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.




Phantom at Richmond SPCA

Phantom

Phantom is a recent RVA transplant all the way from Kentucky. The Richmond SPCA worked with Florida Urgent Rescue (FUR) in December to relieve crowding at two Kentucky shelters.

Age: 7 years,
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Grey / White
ID: 49337693

Adopt Phantom 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 Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Maymont
Common Name: Eastern Amberwing
Scientific Name: Perithemis tenera
Length: 22-25mm

Quick Facts

  • The smallest dragonfly in Northern Virginia, and second smallest in the U.S. (only Elfin Skimmers are smaller).
  • Amberwings are reported to have the most intricate courtship of any dragonfly. After the male selects several possible egglaying sites for a mate, he flies off to find a female and leads her back to his potential nursery. To attract her, he sways back and forth, and hovers with his abdomen raised. Mating only occurs if the females approves – making this one of the few dragonflies where females choose the males.
  • Amberwings may be our only dragonfly that actively mimics a wasp. The markings and shape of their abdomens resemble a small wasp, but they take it several steps further. When threatened, they rhythmically move their wings up and down while pulsing their abdomens.
  • The common name refers to its eastern range, although this dragonfly does extend westward well into the central part of the United States.
  • In late summer, males can be seen along the shores of lakes, ponds, marshes and slow sections of rivers, bays and canals. But females are often found far from water, in meadows among summer wildflowers, as in the above photo. They’re probably hunting even smaller visitors to these summer blooms like midges, flower flies and tiny bees.

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.




Mercury at Richmond SPCA

Are you searching for a fun, friendly and adorable family member? My name is Mercury 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,
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Chocolate
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 49324606

Adopt Mercury 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 or a little further afield and a critter up for adoption by Richmond SPCA.

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Whales were spotted on a Rudee’s Whale Tour and the Responsible Code of Conduct for Whale Watching was followed. Look for a write-up of our trip next week.

Where Spotted: 6 Miles off the coast of Virginia Beach
Common Name: Humpback Whale
Scientific Name: Megaptera novaeangliae
Length: 12–16 m (39–52 ft)
Weight: 25–30 t (28–33 short tons

Quick Facts

  • Found in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whales typically migrate up to 25,000 km (16,000 mi) each year. Virginia Beach is on their route during the months of December, January, and February.
  • Like other large whales, the humpback was a target for the whaling industry. The species was once hunted to the brink of extinction; its population fell by an estimated 90% before a 1966 moratorium.
  • The varying patterns on the tail flukes distinguish individual animals. Identification is done by comparing the amount of white vs black and scars on the fluke. The humpback whales are then given a catalogue number.
  • Thin, parallel scars are from the killer whale’s teeth, and are known as “rake marks.” The circular scars on the flukes are from barnacles, which embed themselves into the whale’s skin.
  • Instead of teeth, this filter-feeder has baleen plates that overlap to form a dense net used to strain millions of small shrimp-like animals.
  • Humpbacks may work as a team when hunting for schooling fish. Once underwater, several humpbacks encircle the fish with a “bubble net”— a ring of bubbles blown from their blowholes. Others position themselves beneath the school and then rise, forcing the fish toward the surface. The humpbacks then lunge up through the concentrated school of fish, feasting on thousands of prey in a single gulp with their cavernous mouths.
  • Killer whales are known to prey on both calves and adult humpback whales.
  • At birth, a calf can measure up to 15 feet (4.6 m) long and weigh about 1,500 pounds (680 kg).

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.




Seafoam at Richmond SPCA

Hi there, who are you? My name is Seafoam and I really hope you’re my new family! Even though the people here at the Richmond SPCA are very nice, it’s still not the same as having a home to call my own. Won’t you please make me the happiest girl around by adopting me today?!

Age: 2 years,
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Grey / White
ID: 49283891

Adopt Finnegan at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

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