Say’s Phoebe and Nest

On our vacation, we spent the night in El Centro, California. In the morning, while loading the luggage back in the car, I noticed a bird flying in and out of a corner. Investigating, here is what I found:

Say's Phoebe nestling at El Centro Ca by Lee

Say’s Phoebe nestling at El Centro Ca by Lee

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalms 84:3 KJV)

The nest with a young bird in it was patiently waiting for mom/pop to show up with some more food. Sure enough, the parent came and went but didn’t stay long enough for me to get a photo. Finally, they landed on a spot long enough to get a few photos. (He/she was in the direct sun and not the best photo.)

Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) at El Centro Ca by Lee

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) at El Centro Ca by Lee

Yeah! A new Life Bird for my list. This is a Say’s Phobe. Been reading up on this beautiful creation from the Creator. The Say’s phoebe (Sayornis saya) is a passerine bird in the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family. A common bird in the western United States. It prefers dry, desolate areas. This bird was named for Thomas Say, the American naturalist.

Here is a better photo from Flickr by Dawn Ellner:

Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) ©©Flickr Dawn Ellner

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) ©©Flickr Dawn Ellner

The adult Say’s phoebe is a drab, chunky bird. It is gray-brown above with a black tail and buffy cinnamon below, becoming more orange around the vent. The tail is long and the primaries end just past the rump on resting birds. The wings seem pale in flight and resemble a female mountain bluebird. The juvenile is similar to adult, but has buffy orange to whitish wingbars and a yellow gape. Adult birds are 7.5 in (19 cm) long. They have a 13 in (33 cm) wingspan and they weigh 0.75 oz (21 g). Their diet is almost exclusively insects which they dart out to capture. Sometimes they hover over grass to catch the insects.

Nest – Adherent also under eaves, bridges, in wells; of grass, forbs, moss, plant fibers, lined with fine materials, especially hair. Female believed to build nest. The Eggs – White, mostly unmarked, some (last laid) with small red spots. 0.8″ (19 mm). The female incubates for 12-14 days. Development is altricial (immobile, downless, eyes closed, fed). Young leave the nest after 14-16 days. Both sexes tend young. “Say’s Phoebe is common around people, often nesting on buildings.” (All About Birds)

(Info from Wikipedia, internet and Thayer’s Birding Software)

More about that nest in the next post. Photos can be clicked on to enlarge them.

(Update: Orni-Theology and The Nest)

Good News

Sunday Inspiration – Flycatchers

White-headed Marsh Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala) Male ©©Dario Sanches

White-headed Marsh Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala) Male ©©Dario Sanches

Where the birds build their nests, And the stork, whose home is the fir trees. (Psalms 104:17 NASB)

Last week we saw some of the Tyrant Flycatcher family. This time, with over 400 species, just this family of birds will be featured.

The tyrant flycatchers are birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. Most, but not all, species are rather plain, with various hues of brown, gray and white commonplace. Obvious exceptions include the bright red vermilion flycatcher, blue, black, white and yellow many-colored rush-tyrant and some species of tody-flycatchers or tyrants, which are often yellow, black, white and/or rufous.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

The smallest family members are the closely related short-tailed pygmy tyrant and black-capped pygmy tyrant. These species reach a total length of 6.5–7 cm (2.5–2.8 in) and a weight of 4–5 grams. By length, they are the smallest passerines on earth, although some species of Old World warblers apparently rival them in their minuscule mean body masses if not in total length. The minuscule size and very short tail of the Myiornis pygmy tyrants often lend them a resemblance to a tiny ball or insect. The largest tyrant flycatcher is the great shrike-tyrant at 29 cm (11.5 in) and 99.2 grams (3.5 oz).

Please enjoy watching a slideshow of some more of the Lord’s neatly created birds as you listen our orchestra and then the choir sing.

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Click to listen:

“Amazing Grace” – Orchestra and “I Love You, Written in Red” – Choir (Faith Baptist Church)

(Because there are so many birds there are two inspirations. More of this bird family were shown in Sunday Inspiration – Everlasting God)


Sunday Inspirations
Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family
Good News


Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Is Complete Minus One Bird

Blue-billed Black Tyrant (Knipolegus cyanirostris) by Dario Sanches

Blue-billed Black Tyrant (Knipolegus cyanirostris) by Dario Sanches

The Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers is complete minus one bird, the Spectacled BristleTyrant (Pogonotriccus orbitalis). Big deal you say? I decided to dig into that family and try to get the photos for it. I have been at it for about 3 days to find the missing 300 species. This is the largest bird family. There are 421 members there and I had already collected or found links to 121 of them.

I have searched high and low for that Spectacled Bristle Tyrant and the best I could find is a stamp with it’s photo on it. It is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It also referred to as the Spectacled Bristle-tyrant (Phylloscartes orbitalis) and it is said to be common. That may be true, but no one has posted a photo of that Spectacled bird.

“The tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are a clade of passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds on Earth, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. Some Tyrant flycatchers superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers which they are named after but are not related to. They are members of suborder Tyranni (suboscines), which do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of most other songbirds.” (Wikipedia)

Spectacled Tyrant (Hymenops perspicillatus) ©©Flickr Cláudio Timm

Spectacled Tyrant (Hymenops perspicillatus) ©©Flickr Cláudio Timm

That family also has another Spectacled bird, the Spectacled Tyrant (Hymenops perspicillatus).

Sometimes we are challenged to get the hardest projects finished first. This has been one of those times. Was it drudgery? No way! Even though these are not the prettiest birds, they have personality and expressions on their faces. The Lord created all these neat birds and I was enjoying seeing them. I had my internet radio playing, (Old Fashioned Christian Music Radio) and I just kept plugging away. (For hours!) Our attitudes can be enjoyable even when we are busy. I could have been “grumpy” and said, “there are too many birds to find, it will take forever” or, as I did, it was a joy to work on this page even though many bloggers will never see it.

I just kept making expressions as the various birds were viewed. I am always amazed at the variety that the Lord uses. What expression of surprise when I saw the Spectacled Tyrant above.  (He is not the one I need yet.)

And of course, Scripture comes to mind or you wonder how a word is used in His Word. These are called “tyrant” and sure enough, I found some verses with “tyrant” in them.

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan Eating

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan Eating

“an the prey be taken from the mighty man, Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?” (Isaiah 49:24 NASB)

Surely, thus says the LORD, “Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. (Isaiah 49:25 NASB)

This prey in the mouth of the Tyrant family doesn’t look like he will escape.

It is always enjoyable when we finish a project. I still have about 50 Families yet to finish, but this was the largest and it feels good to accomplish something.

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. (Psalms 111:1-4 ESV)

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. (Psalms 77:11-12 KJV)

What better when all of life is over and we hear something like this verses

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21 ESV)

Enjoy looking through the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatcher Family photos. There are some neat birds there to be viewed and enjoyed.

Wordless Birds


Birds Vol 1 #5 – The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. May, 1897 No. 5



F for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

LYCATCHERS are all interesting, and many of them are beautiful, but the Scissor-tailed species of Texas is especially attractive. They are also known as the Swallow-tailed Flycatcher, and more frequently as the “Texan Bird of Paradise.” It is a common summer resident throughout the greater portion of that state and the Indian Territory, and its breeding range extends northward into Southern Kansas. Occasionally it is found in southwestern Missouri, western Arkansas, and Illinois. It is accidental in the New England states, the Northwest Territory, and Canada. It arrives about the middle of March and returns to its winter home in Central America in October. Some of the birds remain in the vicinity of Galveston throughout the year, moving about in small flocks.

There is no denying that the gracefulness of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher should well entitle him to the admiration of bird-lovers, and he is certain to be noticed wherever he goes. The long outer tail feathers he can open and close at will. His appearance is most pleasing to the eye when fluttering slowly from tree to tree on the rather open prairie, uttering his twittering notes, “Spee-spee.” When chasing each other in play or anger these birds have a harsh note like “Thish-thish,” not altogether agreeable. Extensive timber land is shunned by this Flycatcher, as it prefers more open country, though it is often seen in the edges of woods. It is not often seen on the ground, where its movements are rather awkward. Its amiability and social disposition are observed in the fact that several pairs will breed close to each other in perfect harmony. Birds smaller than itself are rarely molested by it, but it boldly attacks birds of prey. It is a restless bird, constantly on the lookout for passing insects, nearly all of which are caught on the wing and carried to a perch to be eaten. It eats moths, butterflies, beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, cotton worms, and, to some extent, berries. Its usefulness cannot be doubted. According to Major Bendire, these charming creatures seem to be steadily increasing in numbers, being far more common in many parts of Texas, where they are a matter of pride with the people, than they were twenty years ago.

The Scissor-tails begin housekeeping some time after their arrival from Central America, courting and love making occupying much time before the nest is built. They are not hard to please in the selection of a suitable nesting place, almost any tree standing alone being selected rather than a secluded situation. The nest is bulky, commonly resting on an exposed limb, and is made of any material that may be at hand. They nest in oaks, mesquite, honey locust, mulberry, pecan, and magnolia trees, as well as in small thorny shrubs, from five to forty feet from the ground. Rarely molested they become quite tame. Two broods are often raised. The eggs are usually five. They are hatched by the female in twelve days, while the male protects the nest from suspicious intruders. The young are fed entirely on insects and are able to leave the nest in two weeks. The eggs are clear white, with markings of brown, purple, and lavender spots and blotches.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) by Daves BirdingPix

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

The Lord has given us another beautiful bird to enjoy. The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are in the Tyrant Flycatchers – Tyrannidae Family. Adult birds have pale gray heads and upper parts, light underparts, salmon-pink flanks, and dark gray wings. Their extremely long, forked tails, which are black on top and white on the underside, are characteristic and unmistakable. At maturity, the bird may be up to 14.5 inches (37 cm) in length. Immature birds are duller in color and have shorter tails. A lot of these birds have been reported to be more than 40 cm.

They build a cup nest in isolated trees or shrubs, sometimes using artificial sites such as telephone poles near towns. The male performs a spectacular aerial display during courtship with his long tail forks streaming out behind him. Both parents feed the young. Like other kingbirds, they are very aggressive in defending their nest. Clutches contain three to six eggs.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) ©TexasEagle

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) ©TexasEagle

In the summer, Scissor-tailed flycatchers feed mainly on insects (grasshoppers, robber-flies, and dragonflies), which they may catch by waiting on a perch and then flying out to catch them in flight (hawking). For additional food in the winter they will also eat some berries.

Since the article was written they are increased their range. Their breeding habitat is open shrubby country with scattered trees in the south-central states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas; western portions of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri; far eastern New Mexico; and northeastern Mexico. Reported sightings record occasional stray visitors as far north as southern Canada and as far east as Florida and Georgia. They migrate through the Gulf states of Mexico to their winter non-breeding range, from southern Mexico to Panama. Pre-migratory roosts and flocks flying south may contain as many as 1,000 birds.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Oklahoma-quarter

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Oklahoma-quarter

The scissor-tailed flycatcher is the state bird of Oklahoma, and is displayed in flight with tail feathers spread on the reverse of the Oklahoma Commemorative Quarter.

There are actually four Scissor-tailed named birds in the world:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Hummingbird
Scissor-tailed Kite
Scissor-tailed Nightjar

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 May, 1897 No 5 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 May, 1897 No 5 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction

The above article is the first article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Prothonotary Yellow Warblers

Previous Article – The Black-Capped Chickadee

Gospel Message


Birds of Oklahoma Plus

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – All About Birds

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Wikipedia

Tyrant Flycatchers – Tyrannidae Family