Book Reviews of Roadrunner.

1. "Virginia Douglas, a devoted roadrunner watcher, has written a fine booklet on this charismatic Southwest character. This beautiful, aggressive bird, with his antenna tail, gaudy eye shadow, and Groucho Marx gait is the state bird of New Mexico and a symbol of the Southwest. Covering the bird's voracious appetite and terrific speed; propensity for killing snakes and robbing other birds' nests; and its own irregular and unusual nesting habits, Douglas's work sets this bird, both beloved and maligned, as straight as he will ever be. Both the fact and the folklore make this well worth reading." (Arizona Highways Magazine, August 1985, p. 48)

2. "Roadrunner are as common to Arizona as cactus, but little has been actually known about them, except for what can be observed from the Roadrunner cartoons, until local resident, Virginia Douglas, authored a book about them titled, Roadrunner (and his cuckoo cousins). Douglas moved to Tonto Creek Shores in Gisela from Prescott in 1976. In 1980, she moved to Payson. While in Gisela, she 'got acquainted' with the roadrunners that lived all around her. Two of them became special pets, calling at least once a day for a handout of hamburger. When they were nesting, they came in as many as 20 times a day for food for their chicks. As Douglas's affection for the roadrunners grew, so did her curiosity about them. She began reading what books she could find about them and studying their habits.

"In 1980, The Arizona Republic published an article Douglas wrote about her roadrunners. The article led to a book which was published in 1981 by Naturegraph of Happy Camp, Calif. Delmer J. Yoakum of Sedona did beautiful watercolor paintings of roadrunners which were used for the front and back covers of the book....Everyone should have a copy of this book that tells about the roadrunner, the 'clown of the desert.' Understanding the bird and his habits makes him much more intriguing to watch.

"A roadrunner measures from 20-24 inches in length with a foot-long tail and short wings. He does not fly unless pressed, but can volplane downhill for long distances. The legs are long and the feet huge with two toes facing backwards and two toes facing forward. The outer back toe is reversible to aid in climbing and perching. The beak is long and slightly curved and very sharp. It can cut through a scorpion or a tarantula like a pair of shears. The diet is mostly lizards and various kinds of insects. Roadrunners are adept at killing snakes and they take several hours to swallow a large one.

"Unbelievably, 45 million years ago, the roadrunner's relatives, the yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoos, the groove-billed, and others migrated from the Old World. These are just a few facts about the curious and shy bird. You'll have to read the book to find out all about roadrunners. Their antics are fun to watch and they are truly 'clowns of the desert.' " (Jayne Peace, Rim County News, June 7, 1985)

3. "I have always been very partial toward roadrunners....I was, therefore, very interested in reading Roadrunner! by Virginia Douglas, a lady who has spent a part of her lifetime observing and living among roadrunners. This readable and informative slim volume on Geococcyx californanus may be read at one sitting but probably should be savoured over a longer time, and then reread leisurely again. The book is divided into five chapters that deal with the habits and habitats and the place in nature of roadrunners and their cousins, the cuckoos. We are also served wonderful anecdotal stories of Ruby, who frequented the author's place at Tonto Creek, Arizona. I only wish that Virginia would have included more stories of roadrunners and then incorporated summarization of all of the scientific knowledge that we have at present on Geococcyx californanus. I am certain that all the many friends of the roadrunner would welcome an expanded second edition. Roadrunner! is a love story by an author who intimately knows the subject and writes from her heart and communicates her feeling and love of roadrunners to her readers. This is a book that can be highly recommended to all who are interested in birds and nature." (V.J., "Nature Notes," The Journal of the Webster Grove's Nature Study Society, vol. 58, no. 5 (June 1986), pp. 50-51)