Up Close and Personal with a Roadrunner

Roadrunners are abundant in Albuquerque. They have adapted to an urban environment, using the block walls in my neighborhood as superhighways. They also like sidewalks, rarely using streets except to cross.

Roadrunners are not afraid of people, but they tend to keep a bit of a distance. Yesterday was somewhat unusual. In the morning I saw a roadrunner sitting on my patio table! It was eyeing a hummingbird feeder, apparently hoping to grab a tasty bite. However, it left before catching anything, at least while I was watching.

In the afternoon I was having some trees trimmed. A roadrunner seemed to think it could find something to eat in one of the trees. Even though people were around, this roadrunner was in no hurry to leave. I used the opportunity to take some pictures.

Note the beak, which can crush instantly almost any prey. Also note its feet. Certainly roadrunners are not the funny creatures that have been portrayed in cartoons: they are much more interesting.

Roadrunner with Ruffled Feathers

10 Replies to “Up Close and Personal with a Roadrunner”

  1. Fantastic photos. It looks like it’s sizing you up, trying to figure out if it can make a meal of you. Roadrunners are very prehistoric looking. To me they are like small Velociraptors.

    1. Hi, Tim. Thanks! That thought did cross my mind 🙂 but it kept looking up into the tree. I*think* it was hoping for some baby bird. However, I did give it its space 😉 I completely agree that they are prehistoric looking.

  2. Wow, that roadrunner is up close and personal! I like all the photos. They really show off his personality. Fantastic!

  3. Interesting that the bird seemed to be hamming it up a bit. How do you tell a male from a female? Does that turquoise “eyeliner” help distinguish gender?

    1. Hi, Barbara. First, let me say I have appreciated your comments elsewhere.
      Those are great questions. The roadrunner is generally considered monomorphic. I had to look up “how to differentiate gender in roadrunners.” 🙂 I didn’t know…My experience in photographing roadrunners is that seeing the blue depends upon lighting conditions. That seems to be true for the blue in the tail feathers as well as the blue (and orange) “eye makeup.”
      Thanks for coming by.

  4. Fabulous, Susan. What a thrill it must be to see them racing along. And a bigger one to get one to model for you.

    1. Anita, so nice to see you again. I admit I enjoy the roadrunners. 🙂 You may (or may not) remember a hawk series I did several years ago. With the hawk, there was no doubt in my mind that it was interacting with me. With this roadrunner, I think it wanted to hunt birds and it was sizing me up to see if I would be a hindrance. Some people describe “the roadrunner stare-down.” Under any circumstances, I was thrilled to have this opportunity to photograph this one. Thank you for the comment.. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  5. The roadrunner seems to have an expressive face. After Tim’s mention of the RR having prehistoric look about him, I was almost expecting a reptilian tongue to flick out to measure the surroundings. For sure that’s when to slowly back away, lol. 🙂

    O/T: My daughters started year 2 of med school last week. They’re pretty excited about it. I think it’s the idea they get to go on rounds once a week, and time to look the part – we gave them a couple pair of scrubs. Both Laurie and Andrea told them to be sharp while on rounds. Not bad considering they were equestrians two weeks ago.

    1. Hi, David!
      First, you must be so proud of your daughters. Again, congratulations to them and to you. 🙂
      Sometimes it is really easy to see that birds started out as reptiles.Several years ago I got several shots of a jay as it was flying off. In the last shot, it looked more like a flying reptile than a bird.
      Thanks for coming by. Really nice to see you again.

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