All the Roadrunning

It’s the title of a great song by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler and it’s also the situation in Ellwood Canyon where a pair of resident Greater Roadrunners have run of the ranch, although the lyrics to the Goleta roadrunners’ song is simpler and more like the Looney Tunes Roadrunner “Meep-Meep” that stirs the hunger and always-failing scientific genius of Wile E. Coyote.

The greater roadrunners are big guys, ranging in size from 18 to 22 inches from tail to beak. They are members of the cuckoo family and can run up to 20 miles per hour and prefer sprinting to flying. The roadrunner is an opportunistic omnivore and dines on insects and small reptiles including lizards and rattlesnakes (I’d like to see that dinner-in-action!), rodents and small mammals, snails, small birds and eggs, fruit and seeds. They forage on the ground and will hunt for prey from under cover. Because they are such quick movers, the roadrunners are one of very few animals that will prey on a rattlesnake. Roadrunners usually live alone or in pairs, are monogamous and may mate for life. Pairs of roadrunners may hold a territory all year, are non-migratory and reside in their breeding area year round and their reproductive season is generally from spring to mid-summer. All the Roadrunning and Happy Summer Solstice!

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