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The Greater Road-Runner (Geococcyx californianus)

With Campaign 2004 rapidly approaching, candidates are speeding up like the famous bird of the Southwest, made famous in the cartoons. The Greater Road-Runner, a distinct character, is a skillful hunter; a ground-dweller, who can glide off big boulders or run up to 15 mph on the ground in pursuit of snakes, rodents, large insects like scorpions, lizards,or even birds. He has been known to pace automobiles and can move in still faster bursts in pursuit of prey. Interestingly, the Road Runner, thought of as a desert bird, has moved its range as far north and east as Missouri.

They may mate for life. They bear little, if any, resemblance to the cartoon figure. Streaked and well camouflaged with brown and white, they are about 23 inches in length with a foot-long tail used as a rudder; a heavy beak and prominent crest. Sorry, grown-up kids, they are mostly quiet, with a gentle song of slow cooing notes. Beeh! Beep!!

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