Is My Husband Seeing Things?
Outdoor Ontario

Is My Husband Seeing Things?

melanieb

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He swears he saw a Roadrunner here in Grey County. He knows the idea is absurd, but a friend in North Dakota claims to have seen them more than once. How lost can a bird get?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


thouc

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There are no approved sightings of Roadrunners in Ontario and from eBird, they haven't been seen north of a line from California to Missouri or east of a line from Missouri to Louisiana, so it would be very unlikely for any Roadrunners up here (unless they have been released/escaped from captivity). Birds that could look similar are female Ring-necked Pheasant or Ruffed Grouse.

/Thomas
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Axeman

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I can see mistaking a pheasants or wild turkey for a road runner. However, if you live in Grey, then you probably know what a wild turkey looks like.

He may not be seeing things.  About 7 or 8 years ago, there was a summer in which there were reports of a road runner in the Owen Sound area. There were a number of reports and then nothing once winter set in.

I think the key thing to look for is a shifty lookin' coyote following the road runner (the coyote could be wearing rocket propelled roller skates or a jet pack). Also listen for the Road Runner's distinctive call -- a "meep meep".

As for lost birds -- there was that blackish looking bird from Arizona that spent a few winter weeks in the Brampton area.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


melanieb

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Thanks guys! And thanks Axeman for the humour! Fingers crossed I haven't even HEARD any coyotes round here lately...not keen on them, they've killed my sheep in the past.

I actually did put it to him right at the start that it was a female pheasant he saw, and he insists it was skinnier than even the most underfed pheasant, and the markings just weren't right. It wasn't a fleeting glimpse from a distance, he was close enough to see it was carrying a snail in its mouth. So we are both intrigued by these Owen Sound sightings.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Axeman

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A few years ago, there were numerous sightings of a crow found in Africa in Neustadt, ON. There were many sightings and pictures. So, anything is possible.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


robporter

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Thanks for this post. Out of curiosity, I did some quick looking into how possible it is for a roadrunner to show up in Ontario, and unfortunately it looks very, very unlikely -- and completely unprecedented, actually.

Firstly, if I were to guess as-to what was actually seen, I'd say its more likely that if it isn't a Ring-necked Pheasant, it's most likely some form of escapee domestic pheasant -- there are plenty of kinds of those around that looks different. Another possibility would be to look at other similarly-sized birds, and consider "what if" something went wrong with that bird's wings so it kept itself grounded.

Roadrunners are really interesting and unique birds, and unfortunately one of the things that makes them unique is that they have never been (officially, at least) observed outside of their natural boundaries. All kinds of birds show up as vagrants in all kinds of crazy places due to the fact that most birds, well, fly. They get caught up in weather systems, take a wrong turn at Albuquerque, etc. But roadrunners are not only non-migratory, but they only have been noted to fly when escaping a predator. So, if an oddball "migratory" roadrunner were to exist, it'd be doing it by foot.

A quick check on eBird, no recognized records of Greater Roadrunners exist anywhere closer to Ontario than 200 miles southwest of St. Louis. No records at all anywhere in Canada. Also, no records at all anywhere but the US/Mexico. Lesser Roadrunners have never been seen north of Mexico, no recognized records in the US.

A possibility is an escaped domestic roadrunner, but there's good reason to doubt this too. Specifically, it is highly illegal in the US to own a roadrunner of any kind as a pet, so if this was the case then it would have been smuggled into the country, or purchased on a black market of some sort for great amounts of money... only to then escape.

An interesting fact I did not know before looking into this: roadrunners are technically cuckoos. Maybe it was an oversized cuckoo? :)

In any case, it was fun to take a look into how possible it is for a roadrunner to show up here. Too bad it seems so unlikely.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


melanieb

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I think, for now, it just remains a mystery. Perhaps he'll get a chance to pull over and take a photo if he sees it again.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Brian Bailey

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An odd looking individual of a more common species certainly seems most likely.  

I can still remember looking in my backyard one day many years ago and being shocked to see an American Dipper!  :shock: Once I grabbed my binoculars, it was clearly a Gray Catbird with no tail feathers.  It had me going for a moment though!

BB
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Brian Bailey
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Rotarran

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It would be ideal if pictures were obtained of this bird.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
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Kin Lau

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One was reported in the Bruce via Ontbirds back in 2008.  https://www.mail-archive.com/birdalert@ ... 15793.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Rotarran

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Hmmm...now that makes things interesting.  That's quite close to Grey county.  But even if it were true, it's most likely an escaped bird...or more than 1 escaped bird.  I have a hard time imagining it walked all the way from the SW part of the USA.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
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Axeman

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Quote from: "Kin Lau"
One was reported in the Bruce via Ontbirds back in 2008.  https://www.mail-archive.com/birdalert@ ... 15793.html

This jives with my memory of reports in the Owen Sound area...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Axeman

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The woman in this article is / was a member of this board

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2008/0 ... ed-in-area

but more interesting, the article details a number of sightings throughout the area.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »