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Scissor-tails in Pawnee County

On Tuesday, I had to make a quick trip down to southeastern Nebraska which gave me an opportunity to visit a pair of nesting Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in Pawnee County.  Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are striking birds with extremely long tails that are rare but regular (annual in occurrence) in our state.  Southeastern Nebraska is right at the edge of their breeding range.  Scissor-tails are a species of tyrant flycatcher in the same genus (Tyrannus) as Eastern and Western Kingbirds.  Both kingbirds are common summer residents throughout Nebraska.  This pair of Scissor-tails was reported nesting on a power pole at the intersection of  626 Ave and 710 Trail east northeast of Pawnee City last summer.  A pair, presumably the same one, was relocated and again found nesting on top of the power pole earlier this summer by Brian Peterson.  I was able to capture a pile of photos of these birds and a few are below.

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The power pole in which the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are nesting.
The power pole in which the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are nesting.

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The nest located at the top of the pole and under a cover or bracket holding the pole’s insulators. You can see the bird’s long tail feathers sticking out from the nest.

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A closer view showing the nest and tail.
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About the best photo I could get of one of the birds in flight.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are groovy birds and these birds will likely be at this location for a few more weeks before heading south later this summer.

Good birding!

Nongame Bird Program

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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