Roadrunners – nature’s comedians

In my eyes real roadrunners are about as comical as the cartoon bird portrayed with poor ol’ Wile E. Coyote.

Every time I’ve seen one in Kansas the bird caused a chuckle with some funny action. Most stories I’ve heard from friends also make me smile.

Currently there’s a fun video to watch on the Wildlife and Parks website’s home page. You can click here to see Mike Blair’s neat video and narration of a roadrunner hanging around Ken Brunson’s rural Pratt home.

Brunson, a Wildlife and Parks biologist, can call the bird into his yard with a whistle. He then feeds it scraps of vension. Roadrunners are primarily carnivores. Be sure you watch the video through so you can check-out the cool X-shaped tracks.

The first one I saw in Kansas was near Sun City. Mark Dugan was driving slowly down a Barber County backroad when I looked over and saw the roadrunner trotting along beside us.

When Mark slowed to a stop for a better look the roadrunner also stopped. When Mark put his pick-up into gear the bird kept the pace. So it went for a half-mile or so before we headed to Buster’s for lunch at a normal speed. I half expected the roadrunner to eventually show up in Sun City, tongue hanging from trying to keep-up.

In a Comanche Count blizzard I once got out to open a gate and noticed a roadrunner standing under a nearby cedar, seemingly leaning against the tree’s trunk like some guy against a street sign watching traffic pass.

It looked at me when I spoke to the bird. No, it didn’t go “beep-beep.”

Friends have looked up and seen them staring into a window of their house or standing atop their car’s hood many mornings in a row when they leave for work.

My favorite story is a Comanche County friend who often returned home to find a roadrunner trotting around his yard, always with something in its beak. The best was when it walked by with a cigarette butt dangling from the corner of its beak.

Occasionally one makes it as farm east and north as the Wichita area. Jerrod once got a good look at one in Chase County. Friends had one much of a summer in their rural yard near Newton.

Word has it one has been seen over the past couple of years in western Wichita, roosting on houses and scurrying by when people least expect it.

I’m sure they can’t help but giggle as the bird passes by.