ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s not hard to spot a Roadrunner nowadays.”By my house and by everywhere. We have a lot of them,” Liam Montoya of Albuquerque said. The Roadrunner is one of the few species increasing in population.
“You’ll see them riding on the sidewalk, you’ll see them in the street, but mostly I have been seeing them around this Bosque area. It’s definitely always lucky to see them, you want to make sure you cross its path because good luck will come to you. It’s always awesome to see those still running around,” Roberto Madrid, an Albuquerque resident said.
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Data shows their population has nearly doubled since the 1960s. The highest numbers ever recorded were in 2015 and 2016, around the same time we had severe drought conditions.
“What we’re seeing with climate change in the southwest is conditions becoming hotter and drier and more places looking like those hot dry conditions of the southwest, and the Roadrunner likes that,” Jonathan Hayes, the Executive Director of Audubon Southwest said.
“Really I think the extended droughts we have experienced have helped the bird. That’s pretty good in the desert, gain an advantage over other critters out there,” he added. But it’s not just warmer weather contributing to more Roadrunners, urbanization is helping too. “Lizards, rodents, those things are often associated with neighborhoods in Albuquerque. Those are the same food sources that the Roadrunner needs,” Hayes said.
New Mexico’s state bird is even making its way to other parts of the country. “We’re actually seeing their range expand the last few years, the last few decades. They have actually moved into Louisiana and Missouri where they haven’t been previously,” he added.