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I was at Sweetwater Wetlands before six this morning.  The sun had just cleared the horizon and most of the wetlands, except for a small area at the wetlands’ extreme west end, was still in shadows.  There, the early sun illuminated everything brightly.

And, that’s where I found this Roadrunner.  As I approached it I saw that it was oblivious to me.  It had its back turned to the rising sun and its wings extended and it was blissfully enjoying the morning sun’s warmth.

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It couldn’t have cared less that I was watching it.  I approached within 10 feet of the bird and it continued to sit there with wings outstretched, making soft cooing and chuckling sounds to itself.  I stood and watched it for a minute, then walked past it and photographed it in profile.

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It definitely knew I was there because it turned its head to keep me under observation.  But, it was in no hurry to move on, it was obviously enjoying itself too much.  Finally, after about five minutes, it rearranged its feathers, folded its wings, and walked right by me, slowly, and in a dignified way.

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The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum has a captive Roadrunner and on chilly winter mornings I’ve observed the museum bird do exactly what this bird was doing.  But, this morning wasn’t chilly. We’re still hitting 100 routinely here for a daytime high and mornings are usually in the upper 70’s to about 80 degrees.  This bird wasn’t warming up so much as it was sunbathing.  And, obviously, loving it.


Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 320, aperture preferred setting, f8, shutter speeds varied.

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