[TN-Bird] Male Ruby-throat displaying

I have both male and female ruby-throated hummers visiting the two feeders  
I have out (along with downies and their juveniles!), leading me to  
believe that my feeders are either part of a female's territory or  a neutral 
territory that both males and females visit.  I have only  seen a couple of 
high 
speed chases with warning chirps between two males  who happened to arrive 
in the feeder area at nearly the same time.  Single  females are observed 
frequently, as well as, single visits  from males.  
 
At about 6:00 p.m. this evening a male and a female arrived in the  area of 
the feeder at approximately the same time.  The vocals  emitted were not 
the typical sounds of warning chirps, but of a softer  tone and frequency.  
The female disappeared into the nearby holly  shrub as the male arrived and 
she remained  hidden there.  The male displayed beside the holly by swinging  
back and forth in a shallow U-shaped arch with the bottom of the U occuring  
one to two feet from the ground.  The ends of the arch extended from a  
couple of feet in front of the holly bush to a couple of feet to  the rear of 
the bush, approximately ten to twelve feet in height at the ends of  each 
swing.  After approximately five swings, both hummers  departed, but returned a 
few minutes later, and the male  displayed again, as described previously, 
but with only about three repetitions  before the two departed again.  
 
I have witnessed this display once before at Seven Islands Wildlife  Refuge 
with a male displaying in a similiar manner at tree top level, and  once 
last season with a male swinging out from a mid-canopy tree limb and back  
again.  This display is delightful to see at any time, but, in particular,  
this one's closeness to the ground came as a surprise.  
 
Vickie Henderson
Knox County
Knoxville, Tennessee
  

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