The Chronicles Of Grant County


roadrunners a j brittain flickr june 17 2017 65A momma Roadrunner feeding her child. (The photograph was provided courtesy of A J Brittain, June 17, 2017.)

The Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico. Actually, it is the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) that is officially the state bird. The New Mexico Legislature named the Greater Roadrunner as the official state bird on March 16, 1949.

The National Park Service indicated that a Roadrunner can run up to 17 miles per hour. Other sources have detailed that Roadrunners can run even faster.

This speedy critter – a member of the Cuckoo Family – can be found in most areas of New Mexico, including in Grant County. While roadrunners inhabit large parts of America's Southwest and sections of Mexico, the range of this bird also includes such areas as Oklahoma and Arkansas. A second type of Roadrunner – the Lesser Roadrunner – is found in Mexico and Central America, noted several entities.

A number of Native American nations consider the Roadrunner to have special attributes.

"There is probably no State Bird more closely connected to the people of the state than the Greater Roadrunner is to the citizens of New Mexico," according to a statement from the Office of the Secretary of State of New Mexico. "Early settlers for example were told that if you got lost a roadrunner would always lead you back to the path for which you were searching. Many Native American groups said that the spirit of this bird has supernatural powers. Hopi tribes used the "X" on Kachina figures to confuse evil spirits because the "X" footprint of a roadrunner doesn't show which direction the bird is traveling."

Roadrunners are well-suited to the Southwest of the United States. According to a statement from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "Roadrunners reach two feet from sturdy bill to white tail tip, with a bushy blue-black crest and mottled plumage that blends well with dusty shrubs."

Several organizations indicated that the diet of a Roadrunner includes such delicious items as lizards, beetles, and small birds, among other delicacies. A special treat that Roadrunners seem to enjoy are rattlesnakes.

"Greater Roadrunners eat poisonous prey, including venomous lizards and scorpions, with no ill effect, although they're careful to swallow horned lizards head-first with the horns pointed away from vital organs," continued the statement from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "Roadrunners can also kill and eat rattlesnakes, often in tandem with another roadrunner: as one distracts the snake by jumping and flapping, the other sneaks up and pins its head, then bashes the snake against a rock. If it's is too long to swallow all at once, a roadrunner will walk around with a length of snake still protruding from its bill, swallowing it a little at a time as the snake digests."

You can listen to several calls from Roadrunners by clicking on this webpage provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

Roadrunner Lane, located north of Silver City, gets its name from this bird. This roadway is one of more than twenty other streets in New Mexico that have been named after Roadrunners.

The name and image of Roadrunners are also utilized in a variety of commercial and governmental activities in New Mexico. We'll detail some of those activities in the next edition of The Chronicles Of Grant County.

roadrunner a j brittain flickr july 18 2019 65A Roadrunner in Grant County. (The photograph was provided courtesy of A J Brittain, July 18, 2019.)

A Roadrunner in Grant County. (The photograph was provided courtesy of A J Brittain, July 18, 2019.)

Do you have questions about communities in Grant County?

A street name? A building?

Your questions may be used in a future news column.

Contact Richard McDonough at

If your email does not go through, please contact

© 2020 Richard McDonough

Click to search the Beat Click to search the Beat

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

Please Note in Classifieds a dog looking for a home. And now a well-loved cat is looking for a home.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

  • The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option at the top of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Go to Top