June 9, 2012
I feel for this road runner pair. Judging by their size and lack of nest building skills, they appear to be young. They have tried various nesting sites around our house over the last month, but nothing would work. In the horse barn? No level spot big enough to put branches and twigs, they all fell out. Other spots more suited to nest building? Already taken. They finally settled on the middle of the butterfly bush, out by the garden. I came eyeball to eyeball with the female while watering this morning.
The other reason I think they are young birds is that they could have evicted the curve bill thrashers from their nest on the potting shed, last year occupied by another road runner pair, but this spring the thrashers took that nest back and raised a brood, unchallenged.
Meanwhile, it is not easy being a predator. The cactus wrens, who have appointed themselves WD security forces, scream at the road runners whenever they spot one of them. They probably do not realize that the road runners would happily gobble down the snake (rattler or not) they are so eager to point out to us. True, young birds and young ground squirrels are not passed up for a meal, but I have seen the road runner back down from an agitated quail who was defending his or her brood.
We will have to see if this pair is successful in raising chicks. The nest is not in an optimum location with our winds. I cannot help but cheer them on.