Diana Comes To Call

Diana with lizard - 5-27-13

I looked up from my computer and out the kitchen window and could see this BIG BIRD sitting on the rail. Oh, no! The hawk is back after “mah baaaby”! But no, it was Diana with a lizard. I grabbed my camera, but didn’t want to go outside as they would no doubt spook her. So this shot is through two layers of glass, where two windows overlap.

She was cooing, presumably calling to see if her female (yet unnamed) baby was requiring sustenance. When there was no answer call from a needy baby, she happily upended the lizard into her own mouth, and that was that. She ran towards the house, around the corner, and out of my sight.

As for the baby . . . for the last few days, she has been running around the yard, doing big girl things, and learning how to survive. She hangs out in the back yard, and in the nest sometimes, and other times she goes into the front yard. Near dusk, she calls out a bit, and then hops up into the huge plum tree by my bedroom window.

If I see/hear her, I go to the window and talk baby bird talk to her, and she seems to listen. We wonder if she is looking for me before she goes to bed for the night. In the morning, she hops down, calls a bit, and I talk to her. Then she runs around the house, and out into the back forty to start her bug collecting for the day.

The other day, DH had his tripod and camera up on the deck to take a picture of the open expanse towards the mountains, and she hopped right up on the railing near where he was. He froze so as not to frighten her.

Apparently she is accustomed to the sound of my voice, having heard it since she was an egg. I wonder if birds “hear” while they are still eggs. Anyway, she had a black bumble bee in her mouth and marched right by him and started across the deck to where she could hear my voice out the kitchen window. It was almost as if she was trying to show me that she had captured her first meal!

She is small enough that she can get in between the openings in the latticework that is in front of the hedge where her nest is, so she hopped up there and skittered into the nest area. I guess that is the roadrunner equivalent of a picnic table after they grow too large to use it as a bed. We’ve seen Diana bring food to her there previously, so she apparently associates it with dining.

Last night, I was watching Baby Girlbird happily chasing lizards just out in the alley when I heard a clattering noise, and a big shape swooped down off our deck roof. Before I could register what it was, a huge male roadrunner landed right beside her and started doing what I presume is some sort of mating dance – leaping and jumping. It’s not clear she had any idea what was going on, but they both ran off into the mesquite trees where we couldn’t see them.

A few minutes later, she came back out. She was too far away to see if she was smiling, but I didn’t see anything of the really big roadrunner after that. I’m wondering if it is the male from the pair that hatched and raised her, or a random Romeo just passing through these here parts. Do birds even understand about incest? I can’t imagine that she is already sexually mature. She is only a week or so out of the nest.

We wonder if she will hang around here as her “home”, and if so, for how long? Do roadrunners migrate, or stake out territory and stay around for a while? Do they deplete the lizard population and then move on?

This has been a really thrilling experience!

About judilyn

RV'er, foody, caregiver, knowledge seeker
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10 Responses to Diana Comes To Call

  1. Bev says:

    A regular roadrunner soap opera! 🙂


    • judilyn says:

      I’m wondering if that nest is going to be re-used – maybe sooner than we think! It is in such a perfect place to raise a family of birds. I hope it gets used again. It looks so tiny now that I see how big the birds are. They must have little accordion-shaped innards that they can deflate to be so small in the nest and so big on the ground.


  2. How lucky you are that you’ve been able to watch all this! They do learn to come places for food. George’s in-;laws in Tucson used to let one come in the kitchen for a piece of hamburger each afternoon. He showed up faithfully! We’ve enjoyed watching baby quail but they did not hatch at our feeding area. Fun to watch the drama!


    • judilyn says:

      We had heard stories of roadrunners appearing at times certain for their own personal hamburger meat. I always thought they dined at Bugger King! We don’t want to get this baby roadrunner habituated to us because we are not here all the time, and we don’t want her to count on us for food. Now that we have become accustomed to seeing the “babies”, the adults look huge to us. The big male just flew down from the deck roof again, landing in the alley by the watering pond. Our drip system freshens it every afternoon about 5:15, so he is a bit early. There is a jackrabbit that every afternoon lays out in the shade of a yucca tree waiting for the fresh water to appear. Now I don’t want to say our “pets” are spoiled . . . but . . .


  3. Tammy says:

    You’re so lucky to be observing all of this.


  4. dreamjosie says:

    Wow that’s a lot of drama going on over there. It really does sound exciting. You are so lucky to be able to watch all this stuff so close.


  5. dreamjosie says:

    Oh yeah, forgot to say that’s a very nice picture, especially since you had that glass between.


  6. This close-up look into their lives is absolutely fascinating! I would love to experience it first hand. Are you submitting your photos to Mello Mike through his blog? The Annual Roadrunner Photo Contest ends May 31; if you haven’t submitted any photos, you can send him 3, but do it soon. I won last year, and your photos are soooo much better and more interesting than mine were. I also had a comment on my blog about a National Geographic photo contest that is going on now. You really should check that out, too. Your photos are the best, by far, of Roadrunner photos I’ve seen. Thank you for sharing them with us. 🙂


    • judilyn says:

      Yes, I have submitted two to Mello Mike. One when you first told me about the contest months ago, and the one of “Lazarus” just the other day. He said I could submit three, but I don’t think any that I have are any better than those two. Not sure why I did this, though . . . see next paragraph. Maybe I just coveted your roadrunner mug! ;-> My husband drinks his coffee in the morning from a roadrunner mug. It has all sorts of interesting roadrunner facts on it, and is a nice color combination. I’m easily pleased, it seems!

      The National Geographic photo contest announcement came directly to my box, but I just deleted it without reading it. I’ve been taking pictures since I could hold a camera (used my grandmother’s bellows camera when I was a kid!), but entering contests, or “showing”, has never appealed to me. I guess I don’t have the competitive gene. I just do it for my own pleasure (and to supplement my failing memory), and to hopefully brighten someone else’s day!

      I hope to get back over to the New Mexico State Park system – maybe this winter. Would love to meet up with you. Glad Andy was able to patch up The Palms. Your “Coffee” interview was very nice, too. I read a few more of them. There are so many interesting people in the world!!

      There was a lot of activity in the back yard last evening at dusk. Too dark for pictures, so I will just do a write up for the “Animals Spotted” area of my blog. It’s at the top, left side, under the picture of Dorrie Anne, our Lazy Daze. I should get it tapped out some time today. Errands this morning.


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