Mason County News
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Around the Square
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 • Posted May 22, 2014


A funny kinda bird.

Resembles a scraggly pheasant or skinny chicken.

But more striking with dark streaks and a black topnotch.

And red and blue above the eyes.

Doesn’t fly either.

Except to clear a barb wire fence.

Rushes ahead.


Outrunning a human.

Geococcyx californianus.

Now that sounds downright obscene.

But there we have it.

“A long-tailed, crested, desert cuckoo bird.”

So says Trusty Webster.

This cuckoo bird (aka “chaparral cock”) measures two feet long from tip of beak to tip of tail.

And nests as low as three feet from the ground.

See them run around the Southwestern United States.

And Northern Mexico.

And now Louisiana and Missouri.

Oklahoma and Arkansas.

A solitary soul.

Appears to travel alone.

Yet mates for life.

But they renew their vows every Spring.

A romantic roadrunner?

They certainly amuse and delight.

And some believe it’s good luck to see one.

Not so for Wile E. Coyote.

He bit the dust every time he tried catching The Road Runner.



Those Looney Tunes still entertain us after 65 years.

However, roadrunners don’t really go “beep-beep” like in the cartoon.

More like a slow, mournful coo-cooo-coooo.

In real life, a roadrunner lives off rattlesnakes.

And scorpions.


A good bird to have around.

Also venomous lizards.


Even other birds’ eggs and chicks.

Native Americans considered the roadrunner a sacred symbol of speed, bravery, and endurance.

The Pueblo tribe revered the bird’s unusual X-shaped footprints as a protection against evil.

The tracks obviously conceal which direction it goes.

So malignant spirits could never follow it.

Or so they believed.

They even applied the X-mark to rock paintings to ward off evil.

X marks the spot.


That’s Mason.

Renee Walker is a poet, writer, and real estate broker on the Square with her canine assistant, Buster.

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