Birds, bees and conjugal visits

Mrs. Roadrunner believes she may have made a bad choice . . .

Spring at the ranch is out in full force–despite the temperature being hotter than the hammered hinges of hell, flowers are rioting, birds are singing and bees are doing their thing. And a pair of roadrunners have taken up residence in the oak tree out front.

For the past few weeks, Mr. Roadrunner has been busily building a nest for his beloved. I Googled this feathered fellow and discovered the boys (like most birds) are more colorful and prone to preening than the females.

I’ve known guys like this. They do not make good mates.

The male roadrunner, however, apparently makes a pretty good mate, and as spring amps up the hormones of animals and animal-like teenagers,  Mr. Roadrunner has been running back and forth, building a nest in the scrub oak at the front of the property. The tree is right on the driveway and not far from the power pole, so apparently this fellow, while beautiful, does not have a sense of location.

After watching her mate running about with twigs and sticks, the female hopped up on the rock underneath the tree to get a better view of the hubub, and the male raced over carrying a large green lizard.

He hopped up on the female, dangling the dead lizard in front of her nose (beak?) as he had his way with her.

When he was finished, he hopped off and offered her the lizard, which she promptly swallowed whole. Dinner and a date. What a guy.

After further googling, I discovered that, according to Audubon Magazine, this dinner and a date thing is a roadrunner pickup line. According to Jim Cornett, emeritus director of natural science, “A lizard or a rodent represents the richness of the environment, and it is an important motivation. It says, ‘Hey, baby, I brought you a lizard. It’s good out here. Let’s make a home.’ ” I’m not making this up.

Mrs. Roadrunner is now dutifully sitting in the too-small nest–the kind the real-a-tors out here call “a cozy handyman’s special.”

Mr. Roadrunner is busier than ever, proffering ever more tasty lizards, and twice that I’ve seen. . . a snake *ick* Apparently, this is like a Whitman’s Sampler for carnivorous birds.

This afternoon, I grabbed the camera and crept up to get a shot of her in her nest, and you can clearly see her terrified eye peering at me to get the hell away from her and her future progeny. So I did. Far be it from me to foul up a fowl nursery.


About kitfrazier

Award-winning novelist and former big city journalist who bumped into a cowboy and woke up in the wild, wild west.
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