Stanley, the Roadrunner

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

An umbrella propped in the corner of a covered patio has become an evening-through-the-night roosting place for a roadrunner at my brother-in-law’s house, outside of Phoenix.

Every afternoon between 3:30 and 4:00, a roadrunner wanders in from his (we think it is a male) day of hunting for food. He ambles about the patio, freezing into position if he senses movement behind the glass doors. When he feels safe, he continues his patrol of the patio. My brother-in-law reports that occasionally, he will tap on the glass doors. Sadly, he was not in a tapping mood during my visit during the holidays.

After taking stock of his surroundings, he may fly up to the back of a chair to study his final destination, the top of the propped umbrella. Or he may decide to fly right to the top of the umbrella.

Stanley is all puffed up trying to dry off. Believe it or not, it rained the days were were in Arizona.

Stanley is all puffed up trying to dry off. Believe it or not, it rained the days were were in Arizona.

Once perched, he faces out so he can keep an eye on his surroundings. His tail is straight up and flush with the wall. That is his pose until he leaves in the morning. Departure is usually around 8:00-8:30.

Since this bird has been roosting on my brother-in-law’s patio for several months, he was given a name, Stanley. Stanley does not take flight when you go out to view this curiosity. He views the intruder with an unblinking steely stare.

Stanley, settled in for the night. He has become the finial of the umbrella.

Stanley, settled in for the night. He has become the finial of the umbrella.

This is the tidiest bird ever. He has never left one dropping on the umbrella or patio. Now, I find that amazing! I’ve never known a bird not to leave a little disgusting reminder of their presence.

Every morning, the patio corner is checked to see if Stanley stayed the night. Each evening his arrival is anticipated and noted. It will be a sad day when Stanley decides to relocate.

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14 thoughts on “Stanley, the Roadrunner

  1. Joyce says:

    I believe Stanley must feel very secure in his chosen spot on the umbrella. What staying power he has…..to be able to roost in that starched upright position. His back so protected and his tail balancing him. Well done, Stanley!

  2. lindabaie says:

    One of my favorite memories when in Arizona was to see those fun roadrunners “run” across my path, the road, wherever. It was wonderful. I love this story & had no idea they lived in neighborhoods too.

  3. I got so excited when I saw the topic of your post, because your animal posts are always some of my favorites, elsie! How fun that Stanley always follows his appointed routine! And of course, as always, great pictures! I have never seen a roadrunner, and I would love to see one, especially that close!

  4. Judy C. says:

    It’s amazing that Stanley is not startled by humans. He much feel very safe and secure in his surroundings and such a perfect house/patio guest.

  5. Leigh Anne says:

    My first thought when I read the part about being the tidiest bird ever, with no droppings was that it could not be a male! What a special little guest. I have missed your posts. I hope everything is OK in your corner of the world!

  6. Jennifer Laffin says:

    How funny! What a great visitor to have, especially a neat and tidy one. I think I have the same robin that returns every year to build a nest on the ladder on my front porch. It’s funny how some creatures develop that sense of home.

  7. Stanley is a road-runner who knows where to take a break and hang out safely. I love, love how you tell this story and especially the picture of Stanley as umbrella-finial. I am also delighted to know of other families that make observing bird behavior a focal point of their day. Since we brought the bird-feeder closer to our kitchen doors and installed a bird-bath de-icer, we have been mesmerized by our local population. But nothing as grand as Stanley has yet appeared!

  8. Love this Stanley, the Roadrunner slice. I am amazed at your powers of observation and the way you bring your stories to us. And I always love the pictures! Stanley is a lovely evening fixture. Hope he continues his evening visits for a long time.

  9. I love your first sentence. “An umbrella propped in the corner…” A serious mentor sentence for putting the reader right there.

    Stanley is quite beautiful and apparently loyal. There is something lovely about a creature who chooses your home to make their home. It is rather endearing. My yard is never chosen. The cat is not inviting.

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