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Friday, March 25, 2011

Roadrunner, Beep Beep

(Geococcyx californianus)
aka "Californian Earth-cuckoo"



Much to my delight, during my recent visit
to my N. Texas 'hometown',
I came across this fellow!

The roadrunner is a terrestrial cuckoo. 
I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't realize it was in the cuckoo family.
I thought I'd never seen a cuckoo before.

Adopted as the state bird of New Mexico in 1949,
it is often referred to as the "Chaparral Bird",
a bird of desert and scrub, from Arkansas
south and west to California.
In Spanish, it is called "El Correcaminos".

A very clumsy flyer, the roadrunner much prefers to run,
and has been clocked at speeds of 15 mph!  They eat lizards,
snakes, mice, insects, and yucky scopions
- lots of protein to fuel their long, spindly legs..

It's interesting to note that John James Audubon,
(1785 - 1851), was not familiar
with the roadrunner during his lifetime.

Approximately 22 inches long,
the roadrunner is listed as 'of least concern',
yet I hadn't seen one since childhood,


26 comments:

Lois Evensen said...

Great info and image. :) I haven't seen one, either, except in the cartoons! Perhaps we will see one/some when we travel West in the next year or so.

texwisgirl said...

We get them in a few areas here (and occasionally at our place). They seem to stay in the same territory and raise their families in the same locales every year. :)

Stephanie said...

My father used to have 3 regulars that he named. He fed them raw hamburger meat and eventually they'd eat out of his hand. One day they ate out of mine too.

john bord said...

They partner n help each other, watched one helping the other catching insects and giving them to the one with the messed up wing.

Kjell T. Evensen said...

That's a well camouflaged road runner. We'll have to look carefully for them! :)
Beautiful image.

Simone de Klerk said...

I have never seen a picture of a 'real' roadrunner. Only the strip figure.
Never thought they would be that big!
Thank you for sharing this. I always love learning new things!

Simone de Klerk said...

PS: Interesting story, about JJA. I had never heard of him. And funny, how he was not familiar with a bird as big as that!

walk2write said...

What a fantastic find! I've never seen one of them outside of the cartoon and on TV nature shows. Do they have the same kind of nesting habits as the cuckoo referred to in romantic comedy during Shakespeare's day?

MyMaracas said...

What a fun post! Love the photo and enjoyed the info. I've never seen a roadrunner, but I hope to one day.

(Funny - you posted about the roadrunner and I posted about the coyote. LOL)

KaHolly said...

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone.

Walk2Write, that is an excellent question, and I'm pleased to tell you that no, roadrunners are generally non-parasitic nesters (they do not generally nest in other birds nests). They build a platform nest up to 3 ft. high and they take turns tending to their young. It is common for them to have 2 broods a year.

MyMaracas, I'm heading over to learn more about the Wily Coyote!

~karen

Gary said...

Never seen one except in the cartoons, and now I have!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Carrie P. said...

I didn't know he was part of the cuckoo family either. Never seen one in real life.

KimQuiltz said...

What a cool bird!!

Just Ramblin' said...

How fun that you captured a picture of a "real" roadrunner. I have never seen one before and only associated them with cartoons. It looks like it blends in perfectly with its environment. Thanks for sharing. Nola

Bob Bushell said...

Oh, I'd love to meet it.

Sondra said...

IM totally Jealous! I dont know how many times Ive been thru Texas, NM, AZ, CO, NV, CA
IVE never seen one of these and Ive looked and hoped and tried for years!!
CONGRATS on this sighting!! Great photo too.

Carver said...

I've never seen a roadrunner so this was quite a treat for me. Very interesting post and a great shot.

Lyn said...

Hello Kaholly, thankyou..I enjoyed learning from your post....I have only ever seen the cartoon of the Road runner...Warm Regards, Lyn

Crafty Green Poet said...

they always seem to have so much character! I didn't realise they're in the cuckoo family

Frank said...

Hi Karen. Better view than I got during a visit to Texas. I spent ages waiting for one to reappear from a hedge and it never did!!

Rambling Woods said...

Oh..love it and I had no idea about them at all.. Not too many here in western NY..lol.....Michelle

EG Wow said...

Great shot of the roadrunner!

Marvin said...

Nice shot of the roadrunner.

Until moving to the Ozarks, I'd always thought of roadrunners as a secretive dwellers of the desert southwest. (Too many Roadrunner cartoons?) No so. Roadrunners are common here in the hills. A couple of years ago, we had a pair nesting nearby. I never located the nest, but the male would often fuss at me when I was out in the garden and he thought I was too close to wherever they were nesting. Last summer, I saw a roadrunner on the gas pump island in the parking of the grocery store in town. So much for secretive.

BTW: Unlike their European cousins, most New World cuckoos usually raise their own young, though they do sometimes lay their eggs in the nest of other birds.

Kathiesbirds said...

Wonderful photo and info! I have not seen one since I moved back east. Imagine that! :-)

Carrie P. said...

Just wanted to say congrats. I see you are a winner over at Quilting Life.

Wren said...

Beep beep indeed :) Love road runners, cartoon and real life. Am jealous of such a great, close photo