Baby Roadrunner – R.I.P.

roadrunner baby

Yesterday morning we were soooo excited! The biggest fledgeling roadrunner was out of the nest and in the backyard. The parents were on the other side of our fence calling to the little guy to join them. He was running up and down – all around – trying to figure out how to hop up on the fence and thence to the ground to scamper over to his parents for his first lesson in lizard acquisition. Whilst he was frantically trying to get out of the yard, I was following him with the telephoto lens on my camera. He wouldn’t hold still, of course, so the pictures are not sharp.

Within moments of his having been able to loft himself over the fence, a huge hawk swooped down where the family was practicing and . . . well, we don’t really know what happened, but we didn’t see any of the three for the rest of the day. There is still a nestling that is probably five or so days behind in growth and ability. We despaired!

We called our birder friend, and she directed us to another friend who does this sort of rescue, and she assured us that the nestling should be left alone; that it was exceedingly unlikely that a surviving parent would abandon a nest with a chick in it.

We had heard the clicky/buzzing sounds that the roadrunners make after the appearance (and disappearance) of the hawk, so we knew that at least one had survived. But the day passed by (very slowly!), and we just kept wringing our hands and worrying.

Then, at almost dusk, one of the parents re-appeared. We heaved a combined sigh of relief as she settled down on the nest for the night. She was out bright and early this morning, returning with goodies, but she spends a lot of time hunting now, so the chick is left alone for a good part of the day.

The hawk spends a fair amount of time soaring over the open area, so is probably keenly aware almost instantly when a tasty morsel is available.

My heart aches! 😦

Click on the picture to see a close-up of his dainty little foot in the air as he runs along!


About judilyn

RV'er, foody, caregiver, knowledge seeker
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22 Responses to Baby Roadrunner – R.I.P.

  1. Dale Ellis says:

    Sorry to hear about your fledgling, but at least one remains. Nature will out.


    • judilyn says:

      We haven’t seen both parents here at the same time, which isn’t unusual. But we certainly hope that the hawk didn’t manage to snag the baby and a parent in the same swoop. Of course, ever hopeful, I am clinging to the possibility that the missing parent and the missing baby are hiding somewhere out there. The baby is too big to get back into the nest, so perhaps they have found a good hiding place for a while.


      • Dale Ellis says:

        I doubt the hawk could get both in one swoop, so one or possibly even both are still out there.


        • judilyn says:

          He swooped in, and then up for just a bit of height. Then disappeared again onto the ground. We didn’t seem him lift off again after that. We were sooooo devastated to have witnessed that. Had we not seen it, we probably would have thought everything was tickety-boo for the baby, and he was off to a lifetime of happiness!


  2. Linda says:

    I’m crying for you and them…


    • judilyn says:

      Thank you, Linda. It’s the way of nature, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. In my mind, I am going to think that they both got away and are out having more life lessons today somewhere that we can’t see.


  3. Bev says:

    Oh no! Sorry to hear about that. It’s even worse when you see it happening and fill in the missing bits in your mind. 😦


  4. dreamjosie says:

    Awww, so sad. But inevitably part of nature. I hate that part. 😦

    Jo Wishnie 414-704-2000 Blog at: Traveling with my DH Fred and the 2 fur kids: Phoenix the Phantom Pheline and Boo Boo the Diva Dog

    *Happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.*


  5. Of course, that’s nature, but still so sad, especially when you had to witness it. At least if the baby is gone, he is immortalized forever in photos. I’m glad you got such a good one of him running – its a great picture. Now, if the other one falls on the wrong side of the fence, run out and toss him back where Mom is.


    • judilyn says:

      Thanks, Barbara. We were devastated after all the weeks of watching and waiting. I have more “baby pictures” of the (presumed) lost baby, so that will have to comfort us. Still . . .


  6. Clanmother says:

    Your kindness and compassion are an inspiration to all of us!


  7. Liz says:

    What a sad story, and a reminder of the trials and tribulations animals face out there. It reminds me of Ecology lectures on survival for the fittest. I hope the remaining one lives to see it’s adult life. I was looking forward to see all of them grow!


  8. Pingback: Lunchus Interruptus – Roadrunner | Adventures of Dorrie Anne

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