Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Roadrunner Follies

There's always something!

Around mid-day today the roadrunner, who's been around a lot this season, determined that he needed a shady spot to hang out for awhile.  He chose the feed-block, which is kind of a favorite hang-out for white-winged doves, quail, thrashers, and smaller birds who tend not to hang out with the roadrunner.  (In particular, I noticed that although a bit earlier we'd spotted a huge family of quail, most of them very small young'uns, picking up the seeds we scatter near the feed-block, only doves were visible just now -- and they gave Mr. Roadrunner (or Ms. --- they look quite alike, and behave alike except during mating season) plenty of room.  The quail know only too well that roadrunners find baby quail delicious.

By the way, if you wonder about the bright orange spot behind his eye, the Pima say he acquired it trying to help a friend: A long time ago, a woman had a pet rattlesnake, and when it died she had no fire to cremate her pet.  The roadrunner offered to bring her some fire, and flew up to the sun (a four-day ) and got some, but on his way home he flew through a thunderstorm and was struck by lightning, creating the orange spot.  

Mr. Roadrunner didn't give a damn about the white-winged doves' interest in the feed-block.
He stood around, often grooming himself, indifferent to any inconvenience he was causing anyone.  Of course I watched this drama, wondering whether anything interesting might happen.  (A few weeks ago we watched smaller birds try for a half hour to chase a golden eagle off our property.  [See "Being an Eagle Ain't All Fun, I Guess", posted 3 July.])

White-winged doves milled about
Even a small rabbit, who'd wandered over, intending to perch exactly where Mr. Roadrunner stood, delicately broached the possibility that the grooming could be done elsewhere.  They discussed it at length, quite animatedly, with Mr. Roadrunner leaning further and further down toward the rabbit; but Br'er Rabbit apparently proved unconvincing.

But like a peasant petitioning the King, the rabbit remained. 
Eventually Mr. Roadrunner -- perhaps aware that I'd been watching him so long my own lunch was being delayed -- wandered off.

[See also The Courting of Roadrunners posted August 23, 2011; but it looks as if the video on that post may not be working any more; and for more information, James W. Cornett's "The Roadrunner" is a thin, useful book with some neat pictures, including a couple from Roadrunners' battles with rattlesnakes.  It has annoyed me that recently the roadrunner seems to be AWOL when rattlesnakes show up, and I've had to deal with them when I'd much rather photograph him doing so.]

No comments:

Post a Comment