I was thrilled to capture some photos of a beautiful Scissor-tailed Flycatcher during a recent trip to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. As a wildlife photographer, I’m always looking to get shots of interesting birds in their natural habitats. The Scissor-tail is a stunning bird found in the southern Great Plains, known for its incredibly long, forked tail.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Singing

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Singing

I spotted this flycatcher perched on a weed near the auto tour road through the refuge. One of the challenges of photographing these birds is getting close enough for great shots without disturbing them. I took an approach of slowly driving up nearer to the bird, stopping to take some quick photos, and then easing forward again.

The Scissor-tail continued singing, apparently unbothered by my presence. I was able to get within about 30 feet as it vocalized its brisk, twittering song. Its melody changes throughout the breeding season, but this one was singing what sounded like a mix of lower whistles and higher-pitched notes.

I captured some beautiful images of the flycatcher in its natural habitat, showing off its graceful forms and subtle reddish-pink shading.  It was a thrill to document this special species up close. The Scissor-tail’s song will stick with me as a reminder of the natural wonders Oklahoma’s wildlife refuges have to offer. Being able to observe and photograph one of these unique songbirds in its natural environment was an unforgettable experience.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon EF 800 mm f/11


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: July 24, 2021 (8:23 A.M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f11 (Fixed)
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000
  • ISO: 1600 (Auto)
  • Exposure Compensation: 0
  • Focal Length: 800 mm

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