EXPLORATION

Meet Your Neighbors

Can’t forget about roadrunners, another species of full-time desert dwellers. Forget what you think you know from the cartoon series. Roadrunners can make about 7 different calls, mostly coo-ing, but “beep beep” is not one of them. The Road Runner always outsmarted and outran Wile E. Coyote, but in fact, coyotes can run over 40 mph, while roadrunners clock in around 20 mph. Not much for flying, their short wings can only keep their body airborne for a few seconds at a time.

Like quail, they mate for life. Unlike quail, they don’t tend to continually “hang” with their mate except for breeding and raising their babies. Both male and female work together gathering materials to make a nest, placing it on a branch or cactus a few feet off the ground. Male body temp is warmer, so they are in charge of incubating the eggs.

Roadrunners have a distinctive x-shaped footprint, with 2 toes pointing forward and 2 backward. As the state bird of New Mexico, their footprints are regarded by Native Americans as sacred symbols to ward off evil. The x-shape disguises the direction the bird is heading, and is thought to prevent evil spirits from following.

Eating mostly small animals and insects, roadrunners have been known to even kill and eat rattlesnakes. But since lizards are in great supply during all the warm months in our desert, this would appear to be their preference.

Roadrunners enjoy perching high to bask in the sun after a cool night in the desert. They blanket themselves in their feathers to become rather undistinguishable. Maybe you have seen them sunbathing in your windowsill.

 

 

In The Loop & Under The Radar

Those of us who live in the unique south west desert of Utah have learned to appreciate the fragile beauty of this incredible landscape. This is a beauty tempered by extremes. At times those extremes can test a person and their resolve to inhabit this remarkable area. There may be challenges for sure but for us  who call it home...there is no place on earth like it. 

 Need a reminder why we are here? Take a step outside your door and discover the life that surrounds you. Reach across cultures and extend a welcoming hand. You will soon remember why you choose southern Utah. Do you have friends or  family who question your sanity for living in such a place? Or just don't get it? Do them a favor and send them a taste of life down south, courtesy of Jeremiah Barber Photography. Click on the links below and forward them to the skeptics in your life and let the envy begin.

Some naysayers made need a bit more convincing... this one is for them.



Do Yourself A Favor

From the "do yourself a favor" department a couple of noteworthy publications. Passing Through is a poignant and beautiful look at the fringes of our desert culture. Rocks and Plants is a must have little pocket guide to keep with you on any trip outside your door, even if it's just your own back yard. The authors are local treasures, friends of mine and just all around great guys. If you are lucky enough to know them you don't have to take my word for it. If not, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a peek at these publications.

Passing Through: An Existential Journey Across America's Outback by Richard Menzies


Rocks and Plants: A Pocket Field Guide to the Geology and Botany of the St George Basin