It's springtime at Casa Wallace. Pink salvia and Spanish lavender are blooming; the roses are budded. The rabbits are chasing one another amorously through the mesquites and cacti. Our feathered friends are a warbling choir in the trees--finches, curved-bill thrashers, silver cardinals, black-throated sparrows, and verdins searching for that special someone. And then there are the roadrunners. A pair of them who are in the mood to build a nest. In fact, they've considered the three acres comprising the Casa Wallace territory and decided that the garage is the perfect place to construct their abode.
They're of course completely wrong about the location. I can see the attraction though. Inside out of the wind--no obvious predators for babies. They're also close to the bags of seed for the bird feeders. It's sort of like room service.
We have no intention of allowing squatters to live in the garage. It just won't work. My good husband has cleared out their construction of mesquite twigs, grasses, and feathers at least three times so far. They tried the top of a cabinet and then decided that the tines of several rakes hanging on the wall was a good idea. Engineering is not their strength. After being foiled once again over the weekend, they've begun another attempt with humble nesting materials situated on top of the cupboards. Now mind you, the usual nesting places of roadrunners is in cacti, trees, and shrubs---outside. These roadrunners have different ideas and seem mostly indifferent to my instructions to vacate. Their beady little eyes stare at me as if to test me or frighten me back in the kitchen. It is a little creepy to see one atop the step ladder or on the raised garage door when I step out to shoo them away. Maybe Hitchcock's The Birds has scarred me.
Roadrunners are part of the cuckoo family which explains a great deal about them. They like to eat a variety of critters including scorpions (YAY!!) and even rattlesnakes (YAY!!). They supplement their diet with seeds and fruits. They are monogamous and usually raise about four progeny in a nest. Their flying ability is dismal, which accounts for the occasional flattened one on the roads. They are rather speedy when running and reach speeds of 20mph. In case you're wondering, coyotes are faster with speeds to around 40mph. They don't beep as a rule, but make an odd clacking sound with their beak accompanied by cooing. Their normal lifespan is seven to eight years.
The ones around Casa Wallace tend to be rather brazen and unafraid of people. They keep us company when raking or working in the garden and now they want to live with us. Oh boy!
Well, the garage door is down--no admittance for Mr. and Mrs. Roadrunner, who really should consider that cozy cactus in the side yard. We are determined to win the war against the feathered trespassers. But I will be watching my back.