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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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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: 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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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.

Published

on

Where Spotted: Reedy Creek
Common Name: Brown-headed Cowbird
Scientific Name: Molothrus ater
Male
Length:
7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
Weight: 1.5-1.8 oz (42-50 g)
Wingspan: 14.2 in (36 cm)
Female
Length:
6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)
Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz (38-45 g)
Wingspan: 12.6-15.0 in (32-38 cm)

Cool Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • The Brown-headed Cowbird is North America’s most common “brood parasite.” A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds.
  • Social relationships are difficult to figure out in birds that do not build nests, but male and female Brown-headed Cowbirds are not monogamous. Genetic analyses show that males and females have several different mates within a single season.
  • Brown-headed Cowbird lay eggs in the nests of more than 220 species of birds. Recent genetic analyses have shown that most individual females specialize on one particular host species.
  • Some birds, such as the Yellow Warbler, can recognize cowbird eggs but are too small to get the eggs out of their nests. Instead, they build a new nest over the top of the old one and hope cowbirds don’t come back. Some larger species puncture or grab cowbird eggs and throw them out of the nest. But the majority of hosts don’t recognize cowbird eggs at all.
  • Cowbird eggs hatch faster than other species eggs, giving cowbird nestlings a head start in getting food from the parents. Young cowbirds also develop at a faster pace than their nest mates, and they sometimes toss out eggs and young nestlings or smother them in the bottom of the nest.
  • In winter, Brown-headed Cowbirds may join huge roosts with several blackbird species. One such mixed roost in Kentucky contained more than five million birds.
  • The oldest recorded Brown-headed Cowbird was a male, and at least 16 years 11 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Wisconsin.

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.




Wartortle at Richmond SPCA

Hi! My name is Wartortle and I’m a lovely little lady looking for a loving home. Won’t you help me? I promise that I won’t ask for much… just a lifetime of love and devotion! I can’t wait to play and cuddle with my new family. Could you be the one I’m waiting for? Please ask to meet me today!

Age: 10 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Orange
ID: 49721701

Adopt Wartortle at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

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