I thought roadrunners lived only in Texas and points west. I was wrong.
Day before yesterday (or perhaps the day before that), as my wife and I were driving by our soon-to-be-new house, I saw what I swore was a roadrunner, just a few feet from the car. It darted in front of me, zipped up a steep driveway and then disappeared into the thin underbrush of the mixed pine and hardwood forest next to the house. The only thing that made me think it might not be a roadrunner was the fact that there was no ridge on the back of its head; that, alone, made me wonder if I had seen a close cousin of the bird, and not the infamous “Pete” himself. Otherwise, every facet of its body was roadrunner…its gait, its beak, its long legs, its long tail, and its body shape.
I did a bit of research online and found that, though not daily events, roadrunner sightings in central Arkansas and in the Ouachita National Forest area in particular are not uncommon. Especially around Hot Springs, I found that people claim to see them fairly often. More research revealed that they have expanded their range eastward in the last few decades. The most easily understandable information I found about them and their range can be found here.
Thus far, we’ve seen deer, wild turkeys, grey squirrels, opossums, skunks, and an exceptional variety of songbirds. And now I’ve seen a roadrunner. All within shouting distance of the house into which we’re about to move.