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.
A roadrunner visit is pretty common in this neighborhood. After all, it is the State Bird of New Mexico.I see them daily up and down the street, even if not always in my back yard. This morning I was out enjoying all the avian visitors, when I saw this one. It was hanging out in the shadows, waiting for a tiny tasty morsel such as a goldfinch to drop by.
The camera click startled this one a bit (not a common reaction). It jumped down and ran away from me.
Roadrunners really do run, although they are capable of flying. Fastest running speed is often reported at 20 mph, but some have been clocked as fast as 26 mph.
This one decided to show us some running form.
The ubiquitous walls (block, adobe, rock, etc.) are like superhighways to the roadrunners. This one came back as soon as I went in the house, strolled onto the patio, and grabbed a lizard hanging out under a rose bush.
If you are not squeamish, you might find these two YouTubes of encounters between roadrunners and rattlers interesting. Life in the desert…
The roadrunner, a member of the cuckoo family, is the official Bird of the State of New Mexico. They are abundant even within the city of Albuquerque. They are regular visitors to my yard, using the ubiquitous block walls as superhighways. Unlike people, who seem to walk in the streets rather than on the sidewalks in this neighborhood, the roadrunners make great use of sidewalks and garden walls, and seem to be in the streets here only when crossing! They have smartly adapted to an urban environment.
One recent afternoon I caught sight of the young Cooper’s hawk just hanging out in what seems to have become one of its favorite spots in a pine tree, which does provide good cover for it. I was amazed that many little birds were at the feeders I provide, blissfully unaware of the presence of the hawk, who would soon be looking for dinner or an afternoon snack. I grabbed my camera and set out to photograph the hawk. As I usually do, I left the lens cap on, planning to remove it when I was settled into a chosen spot for photographing the hawk.
Silly me! I walked out the door, and about six feet to my right was a roadrunner with a hapless lizard hanging from its beak. Yes! Get that picture quick! Uh, no, remove the lens cap! In the time that took, the roadrunner swallowed it prey. Missed that one! But, the roadrunner did hang around for a few pictures before running off to another yard.
I went out to photograph a hawk hiding in a tree, and instead got a roadrunner in the open and in the light. Not a bad deal overall. 🙂
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has a nice video of roadrunners in that state: