Hunting the Elusive Roadrunner


Chloe attempts to sniff out a New Mexico Roadrunner.

I'm sure you've seen the cartoon where the Road Runner always happens to be one step ahead of that Wile E. Coyote character who's only lot in life is to find his next meal. Ten times out of ten, the Road Runner manages to leave the coyote in the dust, as he streaks across the ground in an escape. In real life the New Mexico "roadrunner" bird also seems to be just one step ahead particularly when Chloe is on the hunt during our walks.

Wile E. Coyote chases the Road Runner.
Image courtesy of Warner Brothers Studios
Even though it was declared New Mexico's official State bird in 1949, the roadrunner is still an elusive creature and sightings are not all that familiar in our neighborhood, so when I spot one, I pause for the opportunity to take in their behavior. With their unique traveling mode that includes both a combination of preferred land running, as well as short distance flying, catching a glimpse of a roadrunner makes for some interesting observations. 

Just like in the cartoon, these birds are fast as they can travel 15 miles per hour or more in a sprint, which definitely outpaces Chloe and me, so we don't even try to give chase. But if you move slowly, we've been able to walk up to them which is how I snapped these pictures at close range. As you can see from the images, the chaparral bird, el corrrecaminos, and el paisano, as it's also known, has a coloring that camouflages it against the desert environment, easily masking it from prowlers. 

I'm not sure Chloe knows what to think of the roadrunner, and most of the times she doesn't seem that interested when we spot one on the ground. Maybe's it because Chloe's stalking maneuvers are better suited for those birds that don't "run away", but rather "fly away" giving her at least a sporting chance in actually catching one ..which she has done on several occasions I might add, when unsuspecting doves wandering in our backyard were no match for a sneaky Cocker Spaniel.

The real New Mexico "Roadrunner" seen during our recent walk.


  1. Beautiful pictures, Chris! Loved seeing them also-interesting birds!

  2. Replies
    1. Actually the real roadrunner is pretty quite, it definitely doesn't sound kike its cartoon counterpart.


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