Southern bird has found a new home in Mason County.

October 29, 2014

(null)Scissor-tailed flycatcher spotted on Buttersville Peninsula.

By Kate Krieger. Senior Correspondent.

PERE MARQUETTE TWP – Although it is the state bird of Oklahoma and a native to the warmth of the southern states of America, Mexico and portions of Central America, the scissor-tailed flycatcher has taken up a new home in Mason County’s Pere Marquette Township.

Residents living on the Buttersville Peninsula have sighted the rare bird on several occasions sitting on electrical wires and swooping down occasionally to catch its daily dose of insects.

The scissor-tailed flycatcher has also drawn a number of avid bird watchers to the peninsula, who have brought cameras with hopes they will get a rare photograph of the bird out of its natural habitat.

Mount Pleasant resident and bird watcher, Stan Lilley said he was very excited to hear about the bird and then getting to actually see it in person.

“I was very happy to see the bird,” he said. “I’m from the Mt. Pleasant area and it took me two trips, eight hours driving time and five hours there on Lakeshore Drive before I finally saw it.”

Boasting a long, black and white, fork-like tail, resembling a pair of scissors, the scissor-tailed flycatcher is mainly gray and white in color with a pinkish brown underbelly. Larger than most birds native to the area, in its mature state can measure around 15 inches long, which helped make the bird stand out and easier to identify out of its normal elements.

Lilley said he believes the bird has been in the area since sometime since late September.

“The best I can say about how long it has been here is at least two, and possibly three weeks,” he said. “I first chased it on October 19 and it had already been reported a few days earlier.”

It’s really a mystery why the bird is here in Mason County, but as long as it stays, birdwatchers are given a rare opportunity to see this bird in person, although it may take a few trips to catch a glimpse.

“It’s a beautiful and very acrobatic bird that is typically found in Texas and Oklahoma, not Michigan,” Lilley said. “It may be a young bird that is simply lost or it may have been blown up here by a storm or there may be some genetic defect. The species has been appearing in Michigan two or three times annually for the past several years.”

Lilley said that sightings of the bird are still being reported on eBird.com.

“By the most recent reports I have seen, it was present yesterday (October 28), at 611 Lakeshore Drive,” he said. “It has been popping up on the power lines and in small conifers in the yard.”

On a side note, the late Carol Omohundro, a Ludington resident was known around town as an avid birdwatcher and she always hoped to catch a glimpse of the scissor-tailed flycatcher, but never got a chance before her passing on June 30, 2014. Perhaps her passing and the bird’s appearance weren’t a coincidence.

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