Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Mr. Lonesome"

Greater Roadrunner


      Today we found Mr. Lonesome. When my Honey was growing up, lonesome was listening to western music on the radio most of the hours of a day at his house or his aunt’s house. Western music was all there was. Those western songs were always lonesome. When a cowboy sang he was lonesome, someone he knew was lonesome, or the mountains were lonesome. At night it was Waco, Texas on the air. Its music reached most of the southwestern United States, but because of the vast distance, the music would fade in and out and it made the kids in his house feel like Utah was in the middle of nowhere. This was back in the dark ages when he was a kid and there was no TV, only a lonely radio.

        Today we were looking for birds south of Bloomington, next to the Virgin River when we spotted Mr. Lonesome, a Greater Roadrunner, perched on the crest of a little knoll. He was all fluffed up to catch the warmth of the morning sun and sorta bobbing up and down. We stopped our truck, rolled the windows down, and with the stillness of the morning we could hear the Roadrunner calling for a mate. "Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooooh. Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooooh." The Roadrunner’s call drifted over the vast, empty space of the river bed. Our winter’s flood caused enormous destruction of habitat and food supply along the river. Maybe he will not find a mate in this eroded habitat.

        The Roadrunner, a large chicken-like bird with a long tail and short shaggy crest is a bird people will travel many miles to see. The name Roadrunner caught on because this bird is known to run along roads at speeds nearly reaching 20 mph. If you would like to see one, come along on one of the Red Cliffs Audubon Field Trips.

        Brenda Rusnell has drawn the Greater Roadrunner with color pencil. We thank Brenda for sharing her talent with us.  For information about birds or upcoming Field Trips call 435 673-0996.

Red Cliffs Audubon