Our sad duty today is to tell you that our [the] baby roadrunner has died. He [or she] was wounded on the back leg. We can’t tell whether by a cat or a fence or some other accident. For a day and a night, he hopped around on his good leg in our enclosed front yard where his Mom and Dad fed him and we supplemented that with water and bits of raw meat.
A local rescue place suggested that we bring him in for examination but here is a fact: One-legged roadrunners are faster than two-legged humans. Besides, we were afraid that the stress of our chasing him would do more harm than good. And he seemed to be improving. He was eating and drinking and, after the first night, he began putting weight on the leg. The next morning we watched him hunting insects.
But an hour or so later, he was dead.
As we have told you before, a baby bird that gets hurt is far more likely to die than to live. Infant mortality among birds is enormous and any injury makes it far less likely that a baby will survive. It is why Greater Roadrunners and many other birds often have two clutches of babies a year. Survival requires abundance.
We know that we’re not supposed to feel too bad, but he lived in our neighborhood and when he was in trouble chose our front yard. Moreover, we’re humans; the species which understands the world’s absences, and so we miss him and are sad this day.