Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Roadrunner Revisited: Local Couple Fetching Dinner

Roadrunner in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

Shortly after I posted on roadrunners my husband and I were driving down our street and spotted a roadrunner couple hunting for food. This time of year they most likely have a small brood waiting in their nest for some food. (Actually, by the time I post this they are probably teaching their three to six babies how to hunt.

Roadrunner behind tall grass in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

As I discussed before, I refer to the roadrunner as a "humane" hunter because it captures its prey so quickly the creature doesn't even know what happened, then it smacks the head of its prey on the ground, killing it instantly or at least knocking it unconscious before eating it.

In this picture you see the Roadrunner leaping from a wall to catch a bug. This is how its wings and tail appear from behind. They can fly, but generally only fly short distances to escape a predator or catch prey. They can leap six feet in the air to capture hummingbirds. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

Roadrunners eat just about anything, including scorpions, which we greatly appreciated when we lived in Texas as we had a horrible infestation of Tree Bark Scorpions in our house. I often found two or more each day scampering across the floor and our last night in the house before moving to New Mexico, one climbed into my pajamas and stung me four times. Although I knew they were hunting our precious lizards and hummingbirds, as well, Roadrunners were always a welcome sight around our home. Here in New Mexico I generally see them eating lizards and small birds, like finches and sparrows. 

Roadrunner siting on brick wall with lizard in its mouth. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

On this day, both the male and female Roadrunner were lucky--they both caught a lizard within minutes of each other. In New Mexico they seem more comfortable with people so they did not run off when they saw me taking their picture. In fact, this one seemed to be posing with his catch. 

In this photo you can see the Roadrunners beautiful green tail. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

After years of drought we did have severe flooding in the Rio Grande Valley this past year, which I think is why we have so many baby lizards, swallowtails, baby house finches, swallows and sparrows, and bees. Oddly, we've also been swarmed with tan camo-colored grasshoppers. I generally associate grasshoppers with drought. The grasshopper timing is perfect for the birds, though, as they have plenty to eat! 

I like this photo (so I saved it for last) because it shows the magnificent colors of the Roadrunner. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

No comments: