Roadrunner Egg, with Larvae

dead larvae in roadrunner egg

The two roadrunner eggs sat in the nest, totally unattended, for a couple of months, so we knew they weren’t viable. The other day one of them was on the ground and broken open. We don’t know if the newly-acquired rock squirrel did the deed, or if it was one of the myriad other birds, mostly notably cactus wrens, who have been in there with their young from time to time in the mornings looking for insects. I just checked, and the other egg is gone now, too. It was there a few days ago when I looked, so this is a fairly recent change.

I picked up the fallen egg and moved it to a better place to photograph it, and was surprised to see that a tiny hole had been drilled in the side, and that it appeared that a larvae had formed from an egg deposited in there, but didn’t live. The grey matter looks like some sort of lining that was probably on the inside of the shell when the egg thought it was going to be a roadrunner.

On the other hand, the larvae-like thing might be the beginning of a roadrunner, and the hole is just a coincidence. But I don’t think that the egg could have supported itself to that stage without some parental attention, so I’m going with the wasp egg/larvae theory, but open to any suggestions.

The squirrel and one of the roadrunners (I think it was the female) managed to get themselves quite close to each other this morning. The squirrel was rummaging around at the base of the back fence on the yard side, when the roadrunner hopped up onto the top rail from the opposite side. I think each was entirely surprised to find the other in such close proximity. The venue is quite near to the water pond in the alley, so a popular place for all the wildlife around here. It is fun to watch the birds land on the top rail of the fence, and then plummet down the other side to the water pond. We can’t see the pond from the deck; the birds just drop out of sight as if from a parachute drop ride at the midway.

The squirrel and the roadrunner had some words and the squirrel took off; roadrunner in hot pursuit. At one point, the squirrel got pretty close to the roadrunner, seemingly taunting her, and the roadrunner made several stabs towards him with that sharp beak. Discretion being the better part of valor, the squirrel (I’ve named him Scamper) ran across the yard and under DH’s workshop where I’m pretty sure he has taken up residence.

I’ve been putting the cores of the morning’s breakfast fruits out on top of a plant stand on the far corner of the deck, and Scamper waited an hour or so before emerging to see what was being offered for Sunday brunch today. Eventually, he showed up and dined. He dropped one piece of pear onto the deck, but came back for it later.

We never put out any kind of feed for the roadrunners, but the roadrunner likely either used that nest before for her family, or was one of the hatchlings from there, so she probably has some feeling of ownership, and doesn’t cotton to having this furry interloper on the property.

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

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About judilyn

RV'er, foody, caregiver, knowledge seeker
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2 Responses to Roadrunner Egg, with Larvae

  1. Liz says:

    You know you could start mini “you tube video series” on these interesting wildlife you glimpse from you deck. I am no good at videography but I bet you can do it. I will subscribe to the channel. I look forward to… squirrel and roadrunner and others. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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