OK, so I am sorry if you are sick of hearing about roadrunners. .but here is another post including them. Cami and I were out walking last Friday--and saw, not one, but TWO roadrunners in our path at the same time. I took that to mean that the roadrunner(s) we have been seeing for nearly a year now (off and on) must live at our house somewhere. Which caused me to wonder more about them--like where they live, how they nest, what they eat, etc. Mind you, we googled them last winter when we saw the first one a couple times, to find out how to keep them around because they were so cool lookin'. We found out they eat snakes and mice and that's all I remember. I googled them again to get some more information--the results were fun to read--and I thought I might share some facts with you.
They can be found in my neck of the woods year round (barely)--we are at the very bottom of Kansas along the northern border of their usual territory. They prefer arid and semi arid conditions-we definitely qualify there!
They can be up to 24 inches long from their beak to the tip of the tail and weigh between 8-24 oz.
They mostly prefer to walk or run but can fly if scared. They can run up to 20 mph--not bad!
Plant material makes up about 10% of their diet--the rest is from insects, frogs, rodents, scorpions, snakes, and even other birds--including little birds innocently eating from backyard birdfeeders (gulp). They are fast enough to snatch a hummingbird or dragonfly out of the air.
They are one of the only things that can eat a rattlesnake before the snake eats them (great quality around here!!). They do this by grabbing the snake's tail and flipping it's head against the ground multiple times until the snake is dead. Because it generally eats it's food whole, the roadrunner ingests as much of the snake as will go down in one swallow. The rest of the snake just hangs out of its mouth until there is room in its stomach to swallow a little more. Sometimes it takes two roadrunners to kill a really large snake (I'm so glad that they are equipped with man power enough to kill the big snakes at my house!)
They gather materials for their nest together (usually small, thorny branches--go figure) but then the female builds the nest (probably so she can strategically place each thorn so he might find one when it is his turn to sit on the nest--usually at night. .in the dark. .HAHA-DON'T MESS WITH WOMEN!!)
The baby birds usually fledge out of the nest after about 18 days. Then hang out for another couple of weeks with their parents before they move out totally. This whole process usually happens in the spring/summer. So I am sure that I have missed any baby roadrunner opportunities this year.
I am eager to see if I can locate their nest in our tree row.
Roadrunners can become prey for hawks, house cats, raccoons, skunks, and interestingly, bullsnakes and rat snakes.
The roadrunners around our house have provided us with lots of entertainment this year. My desire for more knowledge is now quenched and hopefully you enjoyed a little "lesson" on my NEW obsession!
(Pictures courtesy of internet sources)