This is the time of year that a Texan automatically starts stepping carefully in the country. You are aware, without even thinking about it, that you could run into a rattlesnake or copperhead or such. I stopped by a country cemetery earlier this week for a quick look around and became aware of a strange disquiet. Since I'm not at all afraid of ghostly encounters, it wasn't characteristic. Then I realized that I was scanning the ground ahead of me carefully. It's snake season. Time to postpone cemetery visits for awhile.
So I'm glad to have roadrunners hanging around the house. They help to keep the snake population down. We have several that cruise our street. They dart in and out of the woods, usually carrying their latest catch. I've seen them running past with lizards hanging limply in their beak. I've seen them suddenly zoom 3-4 feet upward to snatch a bug in mid-air. I've seen them entertain themselves by running races with the cars that travel our street. Last year I would hear their distinctive "click, click" when I was walking in the yard. I was mystified until I realized they were perched on the peak of my roof, chattering at me while they kept an eye out for their next meal.
The chap in the photos usually doesn't acknowledge my presence in the yard, staying 8-10 feet away and pretending he doesn't see me. I didn't anticipate that I would have any problem snapping a few pictures today, but he suddenly became wary when he realized I was trailing along behind him. He led me a merry chase around the yard, probably chuckling to himself, before he finally let me get close enough to get a decent photo. So glad I was able to provide a diversion for a roadrunner today. Makes me feel useful.
You can find out a little more about roadrunners by following this link: http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/sep/papr/road.html .
Beep, beep. Zoooooom!