pattern stories
Written by:
Ed Domain

pic by Andrew Morrfew CC by 2.0     I swear they look bigger in person

In the new normal, I have found myself sitting outside quite a bit more than usual. I am lucky in that I have a large garden and patio, and in the early mornings can usually be found sipping coffee to greet the rising sun.

It’s peaceful, and something I didn’t get to do often in the past when I had to rush out the door every morning. 

As you can imagine, I don’t just sit outside in the early mornings- I am out there quite a bit. Thanks to the garden, I am able to work outside and enjoy the animals that come through the yard to feed on the bugs trying to feed on the plants.

It’s all very verdant and relaxing.

One afternoon, while in the backyard enjoying some water, I saw a flash, nearly jumped out of my skin, and found myself face to face with the state bird of New Mexico, the Greater Roadrunner. 

 “I understand now why Warner Bros. made a Roadrunner into a cartoon character. The real things are hysterical!”

Lunch is served

I think it was just as surprised as I was, and as I gathered my wits and we stared at each other, I was interested. What kind of bird/Pterodactyl was this? 

As New Mexican natives can guess, and the title of this article makes clear, it was the state bird, the Greater Roadrunner. I keep running into them in the yard, and they are quite the comedians. I’ve tried to get their picture, but they seem to know what I want and run off before I can. (I’ll need you to trust me on this, New Mexico.)

I understand now why Warner Bros. made Roadrunners into a cartoon character. The real things are hysterical!

Here, then, are Roadrunner anecdotes for someone who had never met them until now. 


They are big. When I walk towards them, they look at me like, “I’m not interested in you, or your agenda, Sasquatch,” until I get close, then they take an indignant hop or two away, throw some shade at me. (Unless I point a camera at them. Then they have places to be and leave me.)

They like to run on my roof. I awakened one morning around 4:30 am to the pitter patter of feet on my roof. Half asleep, I thought, “kids must be running around upstairs.”  Once I realized I didn’t have kids, or an upstairs, my eyes shot open and I thought, “something with feet is walking around on my roof.”  (They also like to slide on metal roofs, which I have. My roof, the Roadrunner amusement park.)

I was told this tale by Todd Duplantis, entrepreneur and Mayor Pro Tem of Tucumcari: Roadrunners know how to make a sound that attracts rattlesnakes. They make this noise, and the rattlesnake comes to check it out, and then the roadrunner eats the rattlesnake. Sometimes the Roadrunners work in pairs, too. 

He went on to tell me, “My neighbors and I always know where snakes are trying to hide. It’s the yard with all the roadrunners in it, hunting rattlesnakes. In the beginning of summer, they were in my yard. Now they are down the street. And, I don’t have snakes in my yard!”

Hey, Neighbor

One killed a mouse right in front of me as I pulled up to the house the other day. It snatched it up, and then thrashed its head from side to side violently until the mouse stopped twitching.

It stared at me, dead mouse hanging out of its mouth as I got out of the car and walked inside. The mood in the air was, “I just murdered this mouse. Now I’m going to eat it. You got an opinion? DO YOU?”

When I enter the backyard, most birds fly off. The roadrunner doesn’t fly off, it moves. I’d say it gives me a good 12-15 feet of distance, but it doesn’t always leave, either. As if we’re all cool.

I expect one will become my eventual ally, or mortal enemy. Either way, I’m a fan! 

What’s your crazy Roadrunner story? 

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