I was so excited to see my first Scissor-tailed Flycatcher of the year on April 8, 2023. I was at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, and I first saw it in the back of a field that still had a few cornstalks.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are striking birds with their long tails, and Oklahoma is one of the states in the US where they can be found. These birds are known for their distinctive scissor-like tail feathers, which make them easy to identify. They typically inhabit open country, including farmland, fields, and prairies, making Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge an ideal habitat for them.

I parked on the side of the auto tour road and waited, hoping that the bird would move closer. I got lucky, and it did! I was able to get this shot of it on a brown cornstalk.

First Scissor-tailed Flycatcher of 2023

First Scissor-tailed Flycatcher of 2023

I took this photo from inside my pickup. I also had my camera and lens resting on a bean bag draped over the open window. This allowed me to get a steady shot, even though I was in a moving vehicle.

Here are some additional facts about Scissor-tailed Flycatchers:

  • They are about 15 inches long, with a wingspan of up to 22 inches.
  • They eat insects, which they catch in mid-air.
  • They are monogamous and build their nests in trees or shrubs.
  • They are migratory birds, and they winter in Mexico and Central America.
  • They are considered a species of least concern by the IUCN.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience photographing a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: April 8, 2023 (09:29 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f8
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250
  • ISO: 320 (Auto)
  • Exposure Compensation:  -0
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

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