Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Road Runner

This road runner was pretty tame and didn't mind people taking pictures. We watched it pull a couple of caterpillars out of the brushy area near the vistiors' center at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands in Texas. According to the range map it occurs in California, but I have never seen one here. In addition to eating caterpillars, it eats scorpions, tarantulas, rattlesnakes, rodents and small birds. To warm up in the morning, it turns its back to the sun much like butterflies do. It has salt glands near its eyes to excrete excess salt. Birds that drink sea water commonly have these glands. The roadrunner has them because it takes a lot less water to remove salt with the salt glands than with the kidneys, and water is sometimes hard to find in the desert.

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