Monday, January 12, 2009


I realize this is not a very clear picture of a Roadrunner in my front yard, but these rascals can really move. When I moved here from Florida, I was ecstatic to learn that the Roadrunner really does exist and that he exists in Arkansas. I really thought the cartoon character was the creation of a fertile mind, not an actual bird.

When two RRs seemed to find my yard attractive, I was blown away. They are so funny to watch. Their foot speed has to be seen to be appreciated. I was disappointed however that I never heard the signature "Beep-Beep." That may be creative cartooning. They can fly but not very far or high. I only saw them fly to clear my fence line. When I learned that their main diet was insects and snakes, I thought "Way to go Roadrunner."

It took a while for the dark side of the RR to become apparent. One day I heard a ruckus by my bird feeder. As I ran out to see what was wrong, I saw my RR pounding a red wing black bird to death. At first I was totally shocked and did not want to believe what I was seeing. Then my Disney upbringing came forth and I ran to save the blackbird. I am such a weenie. The RR grabbed the much smaller, critically wounded bird in its mouth and ran from me towards the back of the property and a pile of yard waste. I was waving my arms like a mad women when a hawk swooped down and almost got two for the price of one. This was not Disneyesque. Early Disney always let the prey escape and you knew the predator would eventually get supper, you just never had to watch it.

That day, all escaped but the hapless blackbird. I then realized why the RR's liked my property. I was providing plentiful food by putting out bird feeders which attracted easy prey. I was crushed by the dark side of the RR. I know all about and understand the "food chain." I just don't have the stomach to watch it.

I quit feeding the small birds and soon the RRs lost interest in my property. They are now eating snakes and insects at a friends house and I can again feed the smaller birds but I do keep a wary eye out for the RR. Now we are all happy.


  1. I doubt this is a comfort, Patti, but I moved to Deming, NM a year ago and started feeding birds here -- we have mostly doves (at least 3 kinds) and sparrows, but we're in the migratory path of many birds, and get many species of hummingbird in the summer and "wintering" visitors too. I've watched what is either a peregrine falcon or Cooper's hawk (the vote is still out - it's possible both have dropped by) take doves and sparrows from me and my neighbors in the air and on the ground. When I first saw this, I felt like my window was a TV and I watching the Discovery Channel - my second thought was that I'm offering up the predators a smorgasbord! I've not stopped feeding the birds, but I'm scattering the seed for the ground feeders much wider (no tight crowds of 25 doves anymore) and I moved the feeding to the back yard - the birds were taken in the front yard. My neighbors and I agree it's unfortunately nature and don't want to stop feeding the birds. Ruth (P.S. I went to a motel once where they had "resident" RRs and fed them chicken legs - and some friends fed a peregrine falcon raw chicken so it wouldn't take their birds.)

  2. Hi Patti,
    I had to look at internet, what kind of bird is Roadrunner. We don't have that speces in Finland.
    I have, like you an cartoon idea of it. Your photo is great because that bird moves so quikly.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Ruth. Tried to go back to your blog but was blocked. Good idea on spreading out the feeding areas so as not to attract a crowd. That must have been cool to feed the RRs. I like them when they are not eating my little ones.