If you ever get up to the Nevada State Veterans Home, you already know that’s where some of the friendliest folks in town live … they’re super awesome. AS IS the little guy that will come up to greet you if he happens to be running around the front when you get there. He’s the coolest roadrunner I’ve ever seen in Boulder City and certainly the one who is the most used to people (who might perhaps have something yummy for him is my guess)!
So here’s some roadrunner fun facts for you today:
- Roadrunners (aka chaparral bird or chaparral cock) are actually fast-running ground cuckoos … some having been clocked at 20 miles per hour. At those speeds, they prefer to run vs. fly, although they will take to the air for a short burst when escaping a predator.
- The ‘greater roadrunner’ is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico, usually in the desert (while the ‘lesser roadrunner’ inhabits Mexico and Central America) and has an average size of 2 feet from tail to beak.
- All roadrunners have “zygodactyl feet”, which means they have 2 toes facing forward and 2 facing backward, which causes them to leave behind a very distinct “X” track mark. This gives the illusion that they are traveling in both directions, so you don’t know if they’ve come or gone (sneaky little stinkers).
- They’re ‘opportunistic omnivores’, generally eating insects, small reptiles (including rattlesnakes), rodents and small mammals, spiders (including tarantulas), scorpions, centipedes and snails. Oh yeah – they raid bird nests for small birds and eggs too (boo). But on the upside, they’re the only real predator of tarantula hawk wasps (view our most horrifying post about those here if you missed it).
- Roadrunners live alone or in pairs because they mate for life and new daddies do their fair share when the kiddos come along, incubating the nest at night.
So there you have it — all you ever wanted to know about our fine feathered friend living on the outskirts of town!