Tonight we walked in "our" tiny Glendover Park. In the grove of trees, we saw half a dozen scissortail flycatchers. These birds simply amaze us. They have nine inch tail feathers, which they can spread during flight to permit aerial acrobatics. They can be seen paused in mid-air like a hovercraft, their tail feathers extended like scissors, or they can be serene in a tree, tail feathers poised downwards. They are voracious insect stalkers, nimble in flight. They are also really fearless. I have seen scissortails attack much larger crows in nest defense. Their coloring is a gray-blue, with white on the breast and an almost orange underneath. They are wild tropical birds, here in anything but tropical north Texas. They winter in Central and South America, though, so they are indeed savvy travellers.
Tonight they launched from the trees in wild aerial manuvers, like the pilots in over-sentimental movies about biplane barnstormers. They sang songs of hope and courage, light whistles, words beyond melody. They sparred with one another, they flew up and down to capture insects, and they congregated in a couple of trees.
We are but an hour south of the Oklahoma border, and it's somehow fitting that the scissortail is Oklahoma's state bird. Prior to our moving north of Dallas, a scissortail flycatcher was a rare treat. Now it is a ubiquitous treat, but a treat nonetheless. The chocolate chip cookie of my hiking life is the scissortail flycatcher. I plan to savor each sighting as if it were the last cookie on offer.