Roadrunners Make the NNSS Their Home

A roadrunner spotted at the NNSS.

Springtime is a good time to find a safe, cozy home for your new family. Especially if you’re a roadrunner at the NNSS.

In May, some workers at the Site’s Device Assembly Facility (DAF) noticed that a family of roadrunners was nesting in a forklift that serves the building. Because the NNSS community cherishes the wildlife that call the Site home, and personnel have been trained to not disturb active nests, they left the nesting birds alone.

“We have ways of protecting the species while getting the work done,” says Derek Hall, an NNSS senior scientist in Ecological and Environmental Monitoring.

Roadrunners typically nest about three to nine feet above ground, from spring to mid-summer. What better place than a metal behemoth like a forklift?

Roadrunners not only like the DAF, they’re hanging out elsewhere—lately, at the U1a Complex. Hall also mentioned that in Area 5, one of the operators, during his routine inspection of equipment, found two roadrunner eggs in a lift’s engine compartment at the Radiological Waste Management Complex (RWMC).

roadrunner nest
One of the nests found in Area 5.

Hall says that he’s seen more roadrunners the last couple of years – about eight – at the Site than in his 20 years there, from Mercury to Rainier Mesa. Last year, two nests were found near the RWMC: one halfway up a ladder and another in a pile of pallets about three to five feet off the ground.

Roadrunners have adapted techniques to kill and eat rattlesnakes. Seems these roadrunners have the Site’s back and know the NNSS employees have theirs as well.