Austin birders lose it over the Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Austin birders lose it over the Fork-tailed Flycatcher

A rare bird sighting near Austin, Texas has birders flocking to McKinney Falls State Park just south of Austin.

The Fork-tailed Flycatcher usually camps out in Central and South America in the winter, but biologists think the state’s unusual weather patterns brought this guest here.

"The Fork-tailed Flycatcher is a rare bird." explains wildlife biologist Mark Klym. "We’ve got about 25 records of it historically in Texas and one has been seen right across the road from the park. We had the rains for awhile during the summer and then it’s gone dry again so the wildlife is a little bit confused."

"So this bird is like relatively small," says Amber Conrad a Park Ranger with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "It’s like a little cotton ball with some black string hanging off of it for its heard and its tail, but the outpouring has been phenomenal because of this ultra rare tropical bird which is almost unheard of to be seen in Texas."

Birders like Chris Layten have an obsession about rare birds like this one. "For me it’s to be to have a chance to be out and have a more intimate connection with the natural world."

"We really hope it finds its way in its migratory process that’s for sure," says Conrad, "but if it does stick around, it will join the many other rare species that you can find at McKinney Falls State Park."

The Texas Ornithological Society has more information on rare birds in Texas and where to see them.


The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department produces these multi-media reports as an educational resource.

Austin Photo: News_kevin_TPWD_rare bird_December 2012_fork-tailed flycatcher
The Fork-tailed Flycatcher Photo by Martin Reid