The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Scientific Name:  Tyrannus forficatus 

Where Scissor-tailed Flycatchers Live: 

Savannas with scattered trees, shrubs and patches of brush in the southern Great Plains, south Texas and just over the border into northern Mexico.  Winter range is southern Mexico and Central America, usually below 5,000 feet elevation.  It is the state bird of Oklahoma.


What Scissor-tailed Flycatchers Eat:   

Grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and sometimes fruit.  Their diet consists of many agricultural pests, which makes them a source of organic pest control for crops in their range.  

Why Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are Awesome:

Male Scissor-tailed Flycatchers perform a “sky dance” as part of their courtship ritual which includes acrobatics such as reverse somersaults.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher uses many man-made or artificial objects to build its nest such as cigarette butts, paper, cloth, carpet fibers, sometimes accounting for 30% of the nest’s weight.

Conservation of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers:  

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher population is currently stable after having declined slightly during the mid-1970s and rebounding during the 1980s.  Researchers suggest leaving strips or patches of brush intact when clearing brush or applying herbicides in order to protect nesting sites.

Here is a brief video and several photos of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.  Click on the video and it will open in a new window for viewing. (There are very few videos of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in general, and none of their “sky dance” to be found.  Let that be inspiration to you nature videographers out there.  Someone needs to document more of this beautiful bird’s natural behaviors.)

<p><a href=”″>Scissor-tailed Flycatcher</a> from <a href=”″>Laurence Taylor</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

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This entry was posted on March 11, 2014 by in Birds, Maymie Higgins, Ornithology and tagged , .
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