There are two species of birds that will occasionally walk with me on my rambles through the farmlands and woodlands in the South Valley. Killdeers (above) are a type of plover and are best known for faking a broken wing to lure predators away from their ground nests. They are cute, charming birds that walk as much as they fly and they seem to be interested in humans. Some of them will walk within 15 feet of me, then take off flying, circle around, and return to the ground and walk a bit. Sometimes three or four of them will take take turns walking with me. Listen to their call, which is a repeated “Kill-dee, kill-dee.”
The second bird species that likes to accompany me is the State Bird of New Mexico, the Greater Roadrunner, nicknamed “Paisano,” or “countryman.” I have walked at least a mile with a roadrunner that walked ahead of me, occasionally looking back to see if I was still there. These birds are mischievous and love to tease our Doberman, Jagger Henley, by walking along the top of our back wall, just out of reach. Jagger goes nuts barking his head off, but the birds are not deterred. They are predators, chasing down and eating the whiptail lizards that live in our yard. They will also eat house sparrows, first grabbing them by their legs and smashing their bodies against a tree branch to break all their bones before swallowing them whole. It’s a jungle out there!