Growing up in the deserts of Arizona and studying the wildlife, one of my favorite animals is a bird called the Greater Roadrunner, or just roadrunner. Its scientific name is Geococcyx californianus, which means “Californian Earth-cuckoo.” It is a member of the cuckoo family.
While most of you may never have had the opportunity to see a roadrunner in the wild, I’m sure you’ve all seen them in cartoons. But in real life, they’re a very interesting bird to watch as they seldom fly and love to run. I’ve seen them run for nearly a hundred yards in front of our truck as we drove along a dirt road. Just as we start to get a little too close to them, they suddenly veer off to one side or they will fly out of the way. Although they are good fliers, they only fly a short distance and they will continue to run some more.
I’ve watched roadrunners chase down lizards and snakes including rattlesnakes. I one watched a roadrunner hunt down and kill a rattlesnake nearly two feet long. The rattlesnake repeatedly tried to strike at the bird, but the roadrunner was relentless and kept striking at the snake with its sharp talons. After fighting one another for about twenty minutes, the roadrunner prevailed and killed the rattlesnake. I was amazed to watch the roadrunner swallow all two feet of the snake.
On another occasion, I watched a roadrunner chase down a lizard. After catching the lizard, the bird wanted to make sure it was dead before it ate it so it carried the lizard over to a nearby cactus and stuck the lizard on the cactus thorns. Several minutes after the lizard quit moving, the roadrunner pulled off the cactus and swallowed it.
Roadrunners are very well designed for life in the arid regions of the Arizona deserts along with the rest of the Southwestern part of the country. To start with, their feet are perfectly designed for running by having two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward. This allows them to reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. According to some sources, this makes them the fastest running bird that can still fly.
The color of their feathers is a mottled dark and light brown that helps them behind into their surroundings, especially when they are standing in the shade of a desert shrub. This camouflage allows them to wait for a snake or lizard to come to closer seeking shade. The roadrunner then has a much shorter distance to travel to hunt down their dinner, again helping them to conserve their energy.
Living in the dry desert poses several problems for many animals and people. One is the lack of water. The roadrunner has the ability to conserve water and to obtain water from the lizards and snakes that they eat.
The other issue is regulating body temperature in the extreme desert heat. During the day, roadrunners will often stand in the shade of the bush or tree. While resting at night, they can actually lower their body temperature. This also helps then to conserve energy which helps them go longer between meals. The darker feathers help them to heat up on colder days and the lighter feathers helps to deflect some of the intense heat during the heart of the summer.
The greater roadrunner is one of many examples of an animal being perfectly designed to live in an extreme environment. They are a testimony to the wisdom of an all knowing Creator God.
Using the alphabet as a guide, this book provides 26 devotional meditations for young children (ages 4-9), based on Bible texts that children can easily memorize. Gods Alphabet for Life stresses that, like adults, children must be born again, come by faith and repentance to the Lord Jesus Christ, and live lives of thankfulness to God for His great salvation.
Here is a great resource for parents wondering where to start with training their children. I highly recommend Gods Alphabet for Life as an excellent tool for communicating truth your children will grow into and never outgrow. Dr. Tedd Tripp (author, Shepherding a Child’s Heart)