You may have noticed a lot of birds around lately. I sure have. I keep seeing one bird in particular that always brings a smile to my face. I had not seen many of them before, and they seem to be everywhere this year. I see them on the sides of the highway, out on the country roads, in open fields, and flying around all over.
I’ll give you some hints to see if you can guess the bird. This bird likes to sit on fences and power lines. It has a long tail that sticks out. It has orange-salmon patches underneath its wings. Got it yet?It’s the scissor-tail flycatcher! This is a bird that travels through all of Texas and uses this area as a breeding ground during the summer. They migrate through Mexico and spend the winters in Central America. During the spring, they wander across North America and have been spotted as far north as British Columbia.
They are a fun bird to watch in flight, because their tail opens and closes like scissors. They are amazing acrobats to watch as they flit around at fast speeds to catch insects and flies. One of their primary food sources are grasshoppers, which is good news for farmers! They nest in taller trees near open areas of grass and prairies.
Scissor tail flycatchers build their nests using grass, Spanish moss, plastic pieces, paper, string, cigarette butts, pieces of carpet, and almost anything else that they can scavenge from nearby. A study of nests in Texas found that 30% of the nest materials were man-made materials that the birds had gathered.
For more information, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website: