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The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

November 1st, 2005

[Scissor-tailed flycatcher]

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is the Oklahoma State bird. Scissortails are easily identified by their long, deeply forked tail, which the bird opens and shuts like a pair of scissors during flight.

Scissor-tailed flycatchers spend their winters in Central and South America, returning to North America to nest and raise young. Scissortails can be seen in Oklahoma from early April to late October, on open prairies dotted with trees, along tree-lined country roads, and even in small towns, where they perch on telephone lines, flagpoles and fences.

Scissortails are famous for their “sky dance”, a popular sight along roadsides during spring and early summer. After climbing to about 100 feet in the air, the male plunges down in an erratic, zig-zag course while uttering a rolling, cackling call. This elaborate courtship display is performed by the male to attract the attention of potential mates.

I found a wealth of information on the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. I’d also like to mention two beautiful sites with bird photo galleries and much more: Birds of Oklahoma and the Backyard Bird Cam Blog by Pat Velte, who kindly provided the Scissortail picture. Thank you Pat!

Categories: Oklahoma!
  1. Scott Esk
    May 24th, 2006 at 22:41 | #117

    Dear Sirs,
    I’d like to hear a recording of the scissor-tailed flycatcher. Can you add that to your website? Thank you.—Scott Esk—

  2. May 25th, 2006 at 22:14 | #118

    Dear Scott,

    I’d really like to add sound to this post, and I plan to do that as soon as I find a good recording available on the Internet. Thank you for visiting and for your suggestion!

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