My front yard has become a roadrunner haven

Roadrunner perching on rock
Young roadrunner perching atop a rock in my front yard

| The number of roadrunners that I see varies from year to year, just a few some years, other years, quite a few. This year a veritable marathon of roadrunners has made my front yard a regular stopping place on their daily rounds.

It's impossible to say how many of them there are — they never congregate in a flock to be counted — but they do have certain characteristics that help me tell one individual from another. They started appearing in the spring, clearly juveniles, and I concluded that there must have been a nest somewhere nearby.

One in particular caught my attention because one foot dangled loosely at the bottom of its leg. Encounter with an animal? Birth defect? I have no idea. Despite this clear handicap, the little fellow just went about his business, hopping along on one leg while the other was quite useless. It couldn't run as fast as the others, but it was still pretty fast. Every time I would see this young bird I would feel inspired that it just carried on, and not a little abashed for complaining about my own aches and pains that come with age.

juvenile with dangling foot
Young roadrunner with useless foot
foot detail
Foot detail

When this roadrunner came back again this morning, the dangling foot was gone, and the bird was walking about using the stump of the leg. Maybe in his mind he was feeling sorry for himself, wailing "Why me?", but still he was carrying on. Animals are like that.

While they're in the yard they spend their time looking for food, every now and then poking their beak under the rocks to pluck out a juicy worm or grub for breakfast.

juvenile roadrunner
Another young roadrunner foraging for breakfast

Roadrunners are curious birds. Curious in the sense of "strange" but also curious in the sense of "inquisitive." They are not reluctant to hop up on the ledge of my office window to check out what's happening inside. They usually don't give me enough time to find my camera and photograph them, however.

peeping roadrunner
Hey! Who invited you to look in my window?

I do look forward to their almost daily visits.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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