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Scissor-tailed Fycatcher -August 20, 2012


Funny how one event leads to others.  I was floating on a mattress in the pool about four days ago and noticed a bird flying very high (too high for my identification skills) that appeared to have split tail feathers.  I immediately though of a very large tern.  Then yesterday, upon returning from a walk with Rocky, I noticed a bird on my television antenna.  What really caught my eye was the tail.

I took Rocky into the house and immediately got out my telephoto.  The bird very agreeably waited for me to return and take several photos.  I then loaded the photos onto the computer and began scanning bird books.  I was having a real hard time with identification since it was obviously not a tern.  I finally figured out it was an immature scissor-tailed flycatcher.  You may be able to pick up some pink hues in the above photo on the breast near the wings.  The tail is pretty diagnostic as well. 

Although not specifically in our range (more the central-southern U.S.) Birds of North America say it is a casual visitor to the eastern U.S. and shows southeast Florida on its map.  The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds suggests it likes to party in the Keys and overwinter in Panama and Mexico.  Apparently it is thick as, well, flies in Texas (pun intended).

The poor bird looked exhausted and bedraggled.  We just had a terrific rain store with high winds and it looked a little the worse for wear.  It sat perfectly happy on the antenna, seemingly recouping its strength. 

© Fred Searcy 2017