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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: T-Pot Bridge
Common Name: Great Crested Flycatcher
Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus
Length: 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm)
Weight: 0.9-1.4 oz (27-40 g)
Wingspan: 13.4 in (34 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Great Crested Flycatchers weave shed snakeskin into their nest. Where it’s readily available, as in Florida, nearly every nest contains snakeskin. They also seem to look for flimsy, crinkly nest materials—they’ve also used onion skins, cellophane, or plastic wrappers.
  • Though they’re flycatchers, these birds also eat a fair amount of fruit. Instead of picking at the flesh of small fruit, Great Crested Flycatchers swallow the fruit whole and regurgitate the pits, sometimes several at a time.
  • Where other insect-snatching birds like Eastern Wood-Pewees, Least Flycatchers, Acadian Flycatchers, or Eastern Phoebes share their habitat, Great Crested Flycatchers exploit a niche higher in canopy to avoid direct competition for food. High up, they swoop out farther for prey, using multiple dead-branch perches.
  • When the male sings, it’s to be heard, not to see or be seen. He picks a singing perch within the canopy, well away from branch ends. In contrast, hunting perches require an unobstructed view of potential prey and unobstructed flight paths to them, whether the prey are in the air or on leaves or twigs. Both sexes favor hunting from dead branches with a backdrop of foliage for cover.
  • Nestlings rarely return to breed near where they were born. But once yearlings have chosen a breeding area, they often return to that same area year after year. Some pairs re-establish their bond from the previous season and may even reuse the same nesting cavity.
  • Great Crested Flycatchers live along the edges between habitats; they don’t need big stretches of unbroken forest canopy to thrive. That means that logging and development practices that increase forest fragmentation actually work to their advantage, in sharp contrast to birds that dwell deep in the forest.
  • The Great Crested Flycatcher is a bird of the treetops. It spends very little time on the ground, and does not hop or walk. It prefers to fly from place to place on the ground rather than walk.
  • The Great Crested Flycatcher makes the same “wee-eep” calls on the wintering grounds that it makes in summer.
  • The oldest recorded Great Crested Flycatcher was at least 14 years, 11 months old when it was found in Vermont in 1967. It had been banded in New Jersey in 1953.

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.




Mac at Richmond SPCA

 

Are you searching for a fun, friendly and adorable family member? My name is Mac and I’m the guy 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: 4 years, 2 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Brown / White
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 47589834

Adopt Mac 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 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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on

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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