Roadrunner Takes Cross Country Trip After Hitchhiking on Moving Van

by Jon D. B.

Whether the roadrunner was fleeing a wily coyote is unknown, but the bird is currently making a “full recovery” in a New England sanctuary.

“A surprise guest!” lauds Avian Haven, one of Maine’s bird rehabilitation facilities. A surprise, indeed, as staff is taking care of a species native to the other side of the continent.

“On Saturday afternoon, November 13, we took a call from a man named Gary, who had driven a rental moving van from Las Vegas, Nevada to Westbrook, Maine. Gary and his son Brian were unloading the van at a storage facility in Westbrook when they discovered a stowaway… A Greater Roadrunner! A species native to the American Southwest,” begins Avian Haven in their Facebook reveal.

In response, AH would “quickly dispatch” Portland-area volunteer Karen Silverman. “Shortly after Karen arrived, Brian discovered the bird hiding in a front storage area of the van. He flushed the roadrunner out into the back of the vehicle, where Karen handily netted the bird. A transportation relay comprising Karen, Cheryl King, and Deb Huard got the bird here safely. And in record time!” the facility continues. Talk about a harrowing wildlife rescue!

As you can see by their photo above, the roadrunner was in “remarkably good shape” for having been confined in a van for four days. “Perhaps some food items had also stowed away,” staff ponders.

Roadrunner’s Cross-Country Trip Lands Him in Excellent Hands

Caring for a species native to the other side of North America can be a challenge. Wildlife technicians are typically only trained in local (native) species. This allows for much more thorough care for native animals.

As such, Avian Haven lucked out big time in that their Rehabilitation Manager, Chelsey Gundlach, has experience with roadrunners “from her previous job at a rehab center in Oklahoma.”

Through this, the Las Vegas stowaway would benefit from “firsthand knowledge” and care. “Of course we are exploring options for returning the roadrunner to Las Vegas!” Avian Haven continues. “The first step is conversations with Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and its agency counterpart in Nevada,” they cite.

While remaining in the Maine facility’s care, the roadrunner is at least “eating well.”

Due to New England’s lack of roadrunners, however, the staff is unsure if the bird is a male or female. ” If we were to judge by admission weight, we would lean toward female. But we have no way of knowing how much weight the bird might have lost during the cross-country trip,” AH continues.

Staff are also doing all they can to keep the lovely bird warm. As Southwestern Outsiders know, roadrunners come from a much warmer place than Maine. Keeping the little fella in an outdoor aviary would prove deadly, indeed. Thankfully, Avian Haven has a “heated pool hall” their foreign feathered friend can call home until a trip back to Las Vegas is secured.

From one wildlife tech to another: Well done, Avian Haven!