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!