WatchinTheSky's WunderBlog

Looking Over My Shoulder

By: WatchinTheSky, 11:17 PM GMT on August 24, 2013

A barely occasional visitor to the backyard (indeed, today as I checked up on feeders) - geococcyx californianus, known by some as velocitus tremenjus or speedipus rex ;)

A member of the cuckoo family, they prefer the ground over flight. They extrude salt from their blood through glands over their eyes as an adaptation of desert living. They can get by on the moisture from their food if water content is enough, but will drink if water is available.

This guy did not seem too shy, was busy hunting. calpoppy has mentioned roadrunners will catch birds, 'opportunistic foraging' as Cornell Labs ornithology website says - catching small birds at feeders and nest boxes. They are know for dining on various venomous critters, snakes, scorpions, spiders.

This guy had two shady spots below feeders that he tried out - to no avail, feeders were too high or he was too slow. I saw him make two tries, not even close. But the posturing was cool to watch, reminding me of a cat crouching - then springing up.

He looks as if just resting or even sitting on a nest (which would be off the ground in a shrub or tree) but he very purposefully crouched down with wings a bit open ready launch.

A signature bird of the desert southwest, they are expanding range east to southern Missouri and western Louisiana. IUCN conservation status is LC (least concern, much like 'yotes or in spite of 'yotes - appetitius giganticus / hungrii flea-bagius) so their population is in good condition.

Since he (or she, 'it' sounds weird to me and he/she is clunky) did not catch any of the other feathered visitors, I will say it - he is a good looking bird!

Here's the current Hummer Cam view -
Hummer cam current view -

Updated: 5:55 PM GMT on October 23, 2013


About WatchinTheSky

Observations and occasional comments about San Diego county weather - nature - and the world around us.

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