Thursday, July 18, 2013

BEEP-BEEP! Visit from a Roadrunner

Greater roadrunners are common in the Tucson area. I once saw one crossing the road—at the crosswalk!—at the busy intersection of Grant and Craycroft. We often see them at Tohono Chul Park.
Yesterday afternoon a handsome roadrunner visited my porch, presumably looking for lizards, one of their favorite things to eat. He did not find one, so went on to explore the pond and the quail block. It was hot, and you can see him using the gular flutter, in which a bird rapidly vibrates throat membranes to create evaporation and cool off. (This is the avian equivalent of panting.)
Roadrunners have a variety of odd calls;  none of them sounds like the cartoon character. They are members of the cuckoo family, and their most common call is a percussive “Coo!”, which you can hear near the beginning of this video. The plaintive call just before the roadrunner’s is a white wing dove.


  1. Too coo(l)! I would have expected a *clack* or *squawk*, but not a coo.

    1. They also clack. I forgot about that. In any case, he or she didn't do that here.