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Scissortail Flycatchers Vs Intruding Vultures

Published on July 23, 2016 by sherons

We never know what awaits us when we step outside, and are continually surprised and delighted if we have a few minutes to slow down, watch and listen!  There is always some drama in nature occurring if we just notice - many times life and death events.  Last week we witnessed a pair of beautiful Scissortail Flycatchers dive bombing intruding vultures at Scurlock Farms!

Last week, a breeze was blowing late in the evening and it had cooled down considerably.

Dan and I were sitting under the trees in the front yard when all of a sudden we heard a pair of Scissortail Flycatchers really raising a ruckus!  We looked up, and 2 large Vultures were sitting on an antennae on Dan's radio tower about 55' in the air.  They were being repeatedly dive bombed by a pair of Scissortail Flycatchers.

In order to help you understand why the pair was so upset, you should know that every year they build their nest at 55' on the top of another tower that is about 40' from the tower the vultures were perched on.

Talk about bobbing and weaving!

One of the vultures was braver than the other and he kept sticking his neck and head up - big mistake!  The pair of scissortails would dive bomb him and he would quickly tuck his neck and head back in!!  Talk about David vs Goliath.

The scissortail flycatchers did not give up until the vultures decided the better part of valor was to give in to the much smaller birds and depart the premises.

The next evening, we happened to be sitting outside again, and low and behold, there were 5 Scissortail Flycatchers flitting about the area.

Scissortail Flycatcher

Scissortail Flycatcher


Three babies had fledged and were flying about with their parents.  That definitely answered the question of why the pair of Scissortails had been so determined to chase off the interlopers the day before.

According to Wikipedia:

"The scissortail is now considered to be a member of the Tyrannus, or "tyrant-like" genus. This genus earned its name because several of its species are extremely aggressive on their breeding territories, where they will attack larger birds such as crows, hawks and owls."

For several years, I had a large black-eyed pea patch near Rocky Overlook at Scurlock Farms.

Beautiful Scissortail Flycatchers

A pair of Scissortail Flycatchers always nested in one of the pecan trees on the border of the garden.  As long as I was in the garden, they were flitting around and fussing about my being there.  Luckily, they never dive bombed me like they did the vultures!

Did you see Scissortail Flycatchers when you were growing up?    Have you noticed them being territorial?  We would love to hear where and when you saw them.  Scroll down and leave a comment below?

Meet The Author
Dan and I were childhood sweethearts and will celebrate our 53 anniversary in May. We moved to the country in 1971 and have loved raising our two boys on the farm. After my parents died, we acquired the 112 acre farm and bought the adjoining 60 acre farm. We now have 172 beautiful acres with a little over one mile of San Gabriel River frontage. We remodeled the three homes on the farm and have offered them as vacation rental homes since 2010. We have hosted guests from every state and 21 countries and have loved meeting many different people. We raise cattle, goats, hay and pecans on the farm and there is always something going on! I love giving tours of the farm to our guests in a Polaris and show them the river, animals, hiking areas and give a little history of the farm. Well behave pets are welcome and the owners and the pets love being able to be off-leash. Wildlife is abundant and guests love seeing deer, bobcat, fox, coyote, raccoon, possom, rabbits, skunks, and armadillo. The farm is a birder's delights with the varied terrains - prairie top pastures, wooded hillside and bluffs, heavily wooded areas, and the river wetlands. Many bird watchers have seen lifers while visiting (a bird they have never seen in person before). Roadrunners are a favorite! Our youngest son was only 6 weeks old when we moved to the farm and he has built a home along the bluff and raised his family here. Our oldest son owns a business in Dallas and when he retires, he will move back to the farm. Guests have loved fishing and tubing the river, looking for fossils, or simply skipping rocks and wading with their little ones. Others have enjoyed hiking the spring-fed creek bed, looking for arrowheads, and hiking about the 172 acres. Others have enjoyed sitting in the outdoor areas of the homes and soaking up the peace and quiet as they enjoy the beauty from the bluffs and watch the birds and wildlife that comes by.
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