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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: Lake Harrison
Common Name: Tree Swallow
Scientific Name: Tachycineta bicolor
Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-25 g)
Wingspan: 11.8-13.8 in (30-35 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Migrating and wintering Tree Swallows can form enormous flocks numbering in the hundreds of thousands. They gather about an hour before sunset and form a dense cloud above a roost site (such as a cattail marsh or grove of small trees), swirling around like a living tornado. With each pass, more birds drop down until they are all settled on the roost.
  • Tree Swallows winter farther north than any other American swallows and return to their nesting grounds long before other swallows come back. They can eat plant foods as well as their normal insect prey, which helps them survive the cold snaps and wintry weather of early spring.
  • The Tree Swallow—which is most often seen in open, treeless areas—gets its name from its habit of nesting in tree cavities. They also take readily to nest boxes.
  • Tree Swallows have helped researchers make major advances in several branches of ecology, and they are among the best-studied bird species in North America. Still, we know little about their lives during migration and winter.
  • The oldest Tree Swallow on record was at least 12 years, 1 month old when it was recaptured and released during banding operations in Ontario in 1998.

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.




Adopt Wanda at Richmond SPCA

Hi everyone! My name is Wanda. I love people and affection. I even wag my tail like a dog when I am happy. Please come visit me and possibly take me home!

Age: 4 years,
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brown
Declawed: No
ID: 47833868

Adopt Wanda at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption 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 further afield and a critter up for adoption by Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Monkey Island (on the border of Virginia and North Carolina)
Common Name: Cattle Egret
Scientific Name: Bubulcus ibis
Length: 18.1-22.1 in (46-56 cm)
Weight: 9.5-18.1 oz (270-512 g)
Wingspan: 34.6-37.8 in (88-96 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Cattle Egrets are native to Africa but somehow reached northeastern South America in 1877. They continued to spread, arriving in the United States in 1941 and nesting there by 1953. In the next 50 years they became one of the most abundant of the North American herons, showing up as far north as Alaska and Newfoundland.
  • Cattle Egrets follow large animals or machines and eat invertebrates stirred up from the ground. They will fly toward smoke from long distances away, to catch insects fleeing a fire.
  • The Cattle Egret has a broad and flexible diet that occasionally includes other birds. In the Dry Tortugas off the coast of Florida, migrating Cattle Egrets have been seen hunting migrating warblers.
  • Cattle Egrets have many names around the world, usually referencing the grazing animals they team up with to forage. In various languages they are known as cow cranes, cow herons, cow birds, elephant birds, rhinoceros egrets, and hippopotamus egrets.
  • The oldest Cattle Egret on record was at least 17 years old when it was captured and released in Pennsylvania in 1979. It had been banded in Maryland in 1962.

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.




Fluffy at Richmond SPCA

ALL FLUFF, ALL ENERGY, ALL GLORY. My name is Fluffy and as you can see I am a very handsome cloud of hair. Despite my A-List star appearance, I’m actually a pretty nervous guy who will need a home that will be patient and understanding with me as I learn the ropes of being in a home. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE attention and partying with my friends… I just need some time to get there. If you are interested in learning more about me, visit our adoption center or give us a call at (804)521-1307.

Age: 3 years, 3 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black / Brown
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 46843010

Adopt Fluffy 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 bit further afield and a critter up for adoption by Richmond SPCA.

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This is the 100th posting of Critters of the Week. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and of course all the critters.

Where Spotted: Monkey Island (on the border of Virginia and North Carolina) One was spotted at Tuckahoe Creek Park earlier this year.
Common Name: Little Blue Heron
Scientific Name: Egretta caerulea
Length: 22.1-29.1 in (56-74 cm)
Weight: 10.4-14.5 oz (296-412 g)
Wingspan: 39.4-41.3 in (100-105 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • During the feathered-hat fashion craze of the early twentieth century, Little Blue Herons’ lack of showy “aigrette plumes” saved them from the hunting frenzy that decimated other heron and egret populations.
  • Little Blue Herons may gain a survival advantage by wearing white during their first year of life. Immature birds are likelier than their blue elders to be tolerated by Snowy Egrets—and in the egrets’ company, they catch more fish. Mingling in mixed-species flocks of white herons, immature Little Blue Herons probably also acquire extra protection against predators.
  • With their patchy white-and-blue appearance, Little Blue Herons in transition from the white first-year stage to blue adult plumage are often referred to as “Calico,” “Pied,” or “Piebald.”
  • When observing groups of white herons and egrets foraging together, look for the slow, deliberate movements of an immature Little Blue Heron. This stately and deliberate pace helps distinguish the Little Blue Heron from its relatives, which tend to move more quickly or erratically.
  • A row of built-in “teeth” along the Little Blue Heron’s middle toe serves as a grooming comb. The bird uses this handy tool to scratch its head, neck, and throat.
  • The oldest known Little Blue Heron was at least 13 years, 11 months old. It was banded in 1957 in Virginia, and found in Maryland in 1971.

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.




Ivory at Richmond SPCA

Ivory is an adorable girl that is looking for just the right home and environment for her. If you’re interested in learning more about Ivory please contact the Richmond SPCA adoption center at 804-521-1307 or visit our humane center to meet with an adoption counselor and Ivory.

Age: 2 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Tan / Black
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 47640525

Adopt Ivory 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: Tuckahoe Creek Park
Common Name: Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher aka Mr. Angry Eyebrows
Scientific Name: Polioptila caerulea
Length: 3.9-4.3 in (10-11 cm)
Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (4.8-8.9 g)
Wingspan: 6.3 in (16 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Lab

  • The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher’s grayish coloring and long tail, as well as the way it mixes snippets of other birds’ repertoires into its own high, nasal songs, have earned it the nickname “Little Mockingbird.”
  • The nesting range of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers has been shifting northward since the early twentieth century. Over the last quarter of that century, the shift was about 200 miles, in concert with increasing average temperatures.
  • A pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers can build up to seven nests in a breeding season. They often re-use nest material from previous nests, which speeds re-nesting. This can be essential to breeding success, since predation, nest parasitism, or mite infestations frequently cause nest loss and brood failure.
  • Occasionally, significant numbers of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers “overshoot” on their spring migrations and end up much further north than usual. They may be carried past their target by strong southwest winds in warm regions, and by strong northerly winds on the west side of high pressure systems. Most probably make their way back south before nesting.
  • In spite of their name, gnats do not form a significant part of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher’s diet.
  • Fiercely territorial Blue-gray Gnatcatchers may use vocal displays and postures to chase a rival as far as 70 feet. Further resistance by an intruder may provoke midair confrontations, with the two birds climbing steeply, breast-to-breast, snapping at each other.
  • The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is the northernmost-occurring species of gnatcatcher, and the only truly migratory one. Most members of its genus are resident in Central and South America.
  • The oldest known Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher was a male, and at least 4 years, 2 months old, when it was recaught at a banding station in Pennsylvania and rereleased.

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.




Hot Cheeto

Hi! My name is Hot Cheeto and I’m a cute, curious little fellow 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, all you need to do is come and meet me!

Age: 7 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Brown / White
Declawed: No
ID: 47587979

Adopt Hot Cheeto 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 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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