Roadrunner Pose

The roadrunner, thanks to Warner Brothers and the Bugs Bunny cartoons, has long been associated with the southwestern landscape. We look out over a dusty road and we fully expect to hear “Beep! Beep!” and see a cloud of dust roll by, with a coyote in hot pursuit. Yet, for all that, the roadrunner is an awesome bird in and of its own right.

The cartoons portrayed the roadrunner fairly accurately for a children’s cartoon. They are fast, very fast, and can run up to 17 miles per hour. Although that’s faster than many animals, it is significantly slower than a coyote can run. Of course, that’s running. Coyotes don’t fly so well, so all a roadrunner has to do to escape one is simply open its wings. Having said all that, the roadrunner is an unusual bird in that it prefers to walk instead of flying.

Roadrunners are pretty smart, too. They are capable of laying in wait and ambushing their prey. Their speed and agility allow them to fest upon all sorts of poisonous critters, such as rattlesnakes and scorpions, although they will readily eat seeds and berries, too. In short, the roadrunner is a fascinating bird, full of life and character, and joy to watch outwit a certain coyote.

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