Fork-tailed Flycatcher in Connecticut

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana)

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) not showing his spectacular forked tail well in my picture.

Those in the know about Connecticut sightings will say, “This is old news,” but I had wanted to post about our South American visitor and didn’t get to it over the busyness of the holidays.  The first notice that Connecticut had a Fork-tailed Flycatcher came on November 30th.  It had been seen at the ferry landing in Hadlyme and the next morning I was on the road (icy from an overnight freezing rain) and on my way up to see it.  When I pulled into the parking lot, several friends were already there and the bird was flitting from tree to tree.   We all got great looks at the bird as it ate berries and searched for insects.  I had seen this species once previously at Cove Island Sanctuary in Stamford on November 18, 2010.  This bird is noted for wandering to the East Coast of the United States.  I believe this is the fourth time one has been sighted here in Connecticut.

Why do birds wander so far away from their familiar territories?  Are the ones we are seeing “scouts” coming north to explore our area in hopes of extending their natural range?  Are their brain cortexes defective with regard to directions?  Are they just overshoots (going too far in their migrations)?  I’ve heard some theories but no one seems to know for sure.



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