A Roadrunner roosts

Don Sorchych, my viewLiving on the edge of Cave Creek near Spur Cross Ranch there are animals and birds a-plenty. Oh, reptiles too. The sightings and visits depend on the season with winter the least active except for mule deer and Javelina. Coyotes, bobcats and foxes seem to do fine, no matter the season. Our favorites though are Roadrunners. We have an abundance of lizards and snakes, both favorite Roadrunner food. However, both have a type of hibernation which makes them scarce in the wintertime.

Although we have lived there for 18 years we have never seen Roadrunner babies, until last year, but they were half grown.

Shari Jo has established oases of the east and south sides of the house and in summer they are busy with wildlife. Arizona heat requires lots of water to sustain life.

I first learned about Roadrunners from a Sonoran News employee and her husband. I didn’t believe their story about feeding Roadrunners hamburger out of their hands until I witnessed it. Sure enough, a male Roadrunner delicately took hamburger from her fingers, after she called it with an unfamiliar call (to me).

Her husband said in the winter time the Roadrunner circled the house until it located the room he was in. Then the bird would peck on the window until it was allowed in. After it warmed, the Roadrunner would peck on the window to be let out.


Last year, although we never saw the birds in a nest we did see half-grown birds chasing their parents and pecking their mouths to be fed with their wings madly flapping. The adults shied away from their demands. It was as if the adults were saying, ‘we taught you to go hunt, go do it’.

A friend of mine works outside a good deal of the time and somehow he made friends with three Roadrunners. He too fed them hamburger. He speaks of their seven note call. One of them had only one leg. He froze marble size hamburger pieces and threw thawed ones for them to pick up or catch in mid-air.

Shari Jo and I have the tradition of watching the sunset in our courtyard which is bounded by a six foot concrete wall and the house. We sat there one evening and watched a yearling Roadrunner fly to the wall, drop down into the courtyard, race toward the house, turn around, race back toward the wall and fly back out. It did that three times before it flew straight up and vanished from our sight under the roof. After several days of this we observed it was roosting in a space created by our outside fireplace chimney. The bird tolerated us for several days and then decided to roost elsewhere as his chosen space has now been inhabited by roosting Mourning Doves.