How to Feed a Roadrunner

By David M. Oancea

roadrunner on the move image by Wendi Evans from Fotolia.com

Items you will need

  • Frozen and thawed white mice

  • Crickets

  • White grubs

  • Whole hairless mice

  • Gophers

  • Lizards

  • Snakes

  • Small mammals

  • Birds

  • Fruit and seeds

  • Meal worms

  • Tarantulas

  • Grasshoppers

Warnings

  • Although not known to attack humans, roadrunners eat whatever they find and can be extremely aggressive. The roadrunner is one of the few birds fast enough to capture and kill a rattlesnake.

Tips

  • Remember that roadrunners will attack other birds and small mammals at feeding stations, so providing food sources for them on the ground away from the stations may help keep them away from other birds. However, it's not possible to prevent a carnivorous predator like the roadrunner from seeking living, moving prey. An advantage of having a roadrunner around is that it provides a valuable service: it can protect a home against poisonous insects and mice by capturing them before they enter a family dwelling.

The Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), also know as the chaparral cock and a member of the cuckoo family, can run up to 19 miles an hour and was made popular in a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons illustrating Wile E. Coyote's encounters with the Roadrunner. The species can be found in the southern United States and northern Mexico. In New Mexico, it is the state bird. Due to extensive urbanization and agricultural development, roadrunners have experienced a negative growth trend in recent years, since they prefer "open, arid country with thickets," according to Whatbird.com and are especially adapted to the desert. Their diet relies heavily on insects but also includes larger prey, such as lizards, snakes, scorpions, small mammals and birds. They also feed on fruit and seeds in season when other food sources are scarce.

Capture and collect insects, purchase worms from the bait store, or purchase frozen mice to have on hand if a roadrunner appears in the yard. They have even been known to eat bits of hamburger and other human food items.

Get the roadrunner's attention by talking, then toss the food towards the bird, since roadrunners normally eat their prey off of the ground; or hold the food out and attempt to hand feed.

Make cactus and other fruit available, since the roadrunner is an omnivore. Although it prefers meat and does not seem to need water, when insects, reptiles and small mammals are scare, it will eat fruits.

Photo Credits

  • roadrunner on the move image by Wendi Evans from Fotolia.com