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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: Bryan Park
Common Name: Purple Martin
Scientific Name: Progne subis
Length: 7.5-7.9 in (19-20 cm)
Weight: 1.6-2.1 oz (45-60 g)
Wingspan: 15.3-16.1 in (39-41 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Despite the term “scout” used for the first returning Purple Martins, the first arriving individuals are not checking out the area to make sure it is safe for the rest of the group. They are the older martins returning to areas where they nested before. Martins returning north to breed for their first time come back several weeks later. The earlier return of older individuals is a common occurrence in species of migratory birds.
  • The Purple Martin not only gets all its food in flight, it gets all its water that way too. It skims the surface of a pond and scoops up the water with its lower bill.
  • The Purple Martin Conservation Association supports the study of the Purple Martin and provides information on its website. The Purple Martin Society of North America also provides information on martins and martin houses.
  • Putting up martin houses used to be so common that John James Audubon used them to choose his lodgings for the night. In 1831, he remarked, “Almost every country tavern has a martin box on the upper part of its sign-board; and I have observed that the handsomer the box, the better does the inn generally prove to be.”
  • Native Americans hung up empty gourds for the Purple Martin before Europeans arrived in North America. Purple Martins in eastern North America now nest almost exclusively in birdhouses, but those in the West use mostly natural cavities.
  • European Starlings and House Sparrows often push Purple Martins out of local areas by taking over all of the nest sites, including houses that people put up specifically for the martins.
  • Purple Martins roost together by the thousands in late summer, as soon as the chicks leave the nest. They form such dense gatherings that you can easily see them on weather radar. It’s particularly noticeable in the early morning as the birds leave their roosts for the day, and looks like an expanding donut on the radar map.
  • The oldest Purple Martin on record was at least 13 years, 9 months old, banded in 1933 and found in 1947. It lived in Illinois.

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.




Bonnie at Richmond SPCA

Bonnie is all hound who loves using her nose to explore and going on walks and hikes. She is very social with people here in our facility and often gives you the full butt wag. Bonnie is very affectionate and loves to play, she has a good amount of energy and will keep you moving. Bonnie is looking for just the right home to call hers forever. Contact the Adoptions Department to learn more about Bonnie and how you can make her your forever friend.

Age: 3 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brindle
Size: M (dog size guide)
ID: 43854229

Adopt Bonnie at the Galileo 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: Floodwall
Common Name: Common Raven
Scientific Name: Corvus corax
Length: 22.1-27.2 in (56-69 cm)
Weight: 24.3-57.3 oz (689-1625 g)
Wingspan: 45.7-46.5 in (116-118 cm)

Quick Facts from Cornell Lab

  • The Common Raven is an acrobatic flier, often doing rolls and somersaults in the air. One bird was seen flying upside down for more than a half-mile. Young birds are fond of playing games with sticks, repeatedly dropping them, then diving to catch them in midair.
  • Breeding pairs of Common Ravens hold territories and try to exclude all other ravens throughout the year. In winter, young ravens finding a carcass will call other ravens to the prize. They apparently do this to overwhelm the local territory owners by force of numbers to gain access to the food.
  • Common Ravens are smart, which makes them dangerous predators. They sometimes work in pairs to raid seabird colonies, with one bird distracting an incubating adult and the other waiting to grab an egg or chick as soon as it’s uncovered. They’ve been seen waiting in trees as ewes give birth, then attacking the newborn lambs.
  • They also use their intellect to put together cause and effect. A study in Wyoming discovered that during hunting season, the sound of a gunshot draws ravens in to investigate a presumed carcass, whereas the birds ignore sounds that are just as loud but harmless, such as an airhorn or a car door slamming.
  • People the world over sense a certain kind of personality in ravens. Edgar Allan Poe clearly found them a little creepy. The captive ravens at the Tower of London are beloved and perhaps a little feared: legend has it that if they ever leave the tower, the British Empire will crumble. Native people of the Pacific Northwest regard the raven as an incurable trickster, bringing fire to people by stealing it from the sun, and stealing salmon only to drop them in rivers all over the world.
  • Increasing raven populations threaten some vulnerable species including desert tortoises, Marbled Murrelets, and Least Terns. Ravens can cause trouble for people too. They’ve been implicated in causing power outages by contaminating insulators on power lines, fouling satellite dishes at the Goldstone Deep Space Site, peeling radar absorbent material off buildings at the Chinal Lake Naval Weapons center, pecking holes in airplane wings, stealing golf balls, opening campers’ tents, and raiding cars left open at parks.
  • Common Ravens can mimic the calls of other bird species. When raised in captivity, they can even imitate human words; one Common Raven raised from birth was taught to mimic the word “nevermore.”
  • The oldest known wild Common Raven was at least 22 years, 7 months old. It was banded and found in Nova Scotia.

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.




Crocus at Richmond SPCA

Age: 3 years,
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Grey / White
Declawed: No
ID: 47475427

Adopt Crocus 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: Bryan Park
Common Name: Great Horned Owl & Owlets
Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus
Length: 18.1-24.8 in (46-63 cm)
Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz (910-2500 g)
Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in (101-145 cm)

Quick Facts from Cornell Lab

  • Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
  • When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.
  • If you hear an agitated group of cawing American Crows, they may be mobbing a Great Horned Owl. Crows may gather from near and far and harass the owl for hours. The crows have good reason, because the Great Horned Owl is their most dangerous predator.
  • Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice. Pairs often call together, with audible differences in pitch.
  • Great Horned Owls are covered in extremely soft feathers that insulate them against the cold winter weather and help them fly very quietly in pursuit of prey. Their short, wide wings allow them to maneuver among the trees of the forest.
  • Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark, and retinas containing many rod cells for excellent night vision. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction. They also have sensitive hearing, thanks in part to facial disc feathers that direct sound waves to their ears.
  • The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005.

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.




Mr. Bones at Richmond SPCA

Age: 1 year, 4 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Red / White
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 46151861

 

Adopt Mr. Bones at the Galileo 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: Bryan Park
Common Name: Turkey Vulture
Scientific Name: Cathartes aura
Length: 25.2-31.9 in (64-81 cm)
Weight: 70.5 oz (2000 g)
Wingspan: 66.9-70.1 in (170-178 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Chattanooga Nature Center

  • The turkey vulture is related to the stork, not to any birds of prey.
  • Their scientific name in Latin means “cleansing breeze.”
  • Like all other vultures, the turkey vulture has a bald head. This is so that bits of carrion (dead meat) do not adhere to the skin as they would to feathers. At close range the naked red heads of the adult turkey vultures resemble those of turkeys, hence the name.
  • Turkey vultures are the only scavenger birds that can’t kill their prey.
  • A close inspection of their feet reminds one of a chicken instead of a hawk or an eagle. Their feet are useless for ripping into prey, but the vultures have powerful beaks that can tear through even the toughest cow hide.
  • They feed by thrusting their heads into the body cavities of rotting animals.
  • Turkey vultures have an extraordinary sense of smell. They have been known to be able to smell carrion from over a mile away, which is very unique in the bird world. The turkey vulture has the largest olfactory (smelling) system of all birds.
  • Vultures prefer meat as fresh as possible and won’t eat extremely rotted carcasses. They can smell carrion only 12-24 hours old.
  • In the early morning hours you may see turkey vultures sunbathing in a tree with their wings spread out. This is done to increase their body temperature after the cool night.
  • Researchers have determined that turkey vultures can travel at up to 200 miles in a day.

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.




Booger at Richmond SPCA

Booger is a silly, outgoing girl who loves people and wants all the attention she can get. Sometimes she gets so wound up by receiving affection that she may love-bite, but have no fear, this sweet lady just has a hard time containing her joy! Schedule an appointment to visit Booger today to see what a wonderful companion she is!

Age: 3 years, 4 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Grey / White
Declawed: No
ID: 46034951

Adopt Booger at the Booger 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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