At the Gilbert Water Ranch in Arizona, there were dozens of male Anna's Hummingbirds. Ya know...I didn't see a single female. But I did see one male in particular that was doing his impressive courtship display. He would fly way up high and then come zipping down, then turn a u-shaped dip making a surprisingly loud buzzing-pop with its tail feathers. I assume a female was hidden somewhere nearby, unless this behavior is also part of territorial display and defense. This male did chase off several other males while I observed it.
I was so excited about this that I went all Steve Irwin (the late Crocodile Hunter) on the innocent passers-by, exuberantly showing them the hummingbird and describing for them the behavior we were privileged to be witnessing. Either they too found the behavior as exciting as I did or they got caught up in my enthusiasm, because I had quite a large group of non-birders, both old and young, gathered watching and oohing and ahhing at the beautiful little bird putting on quite a show. While the tiny hummer made dozens of these flights and dips and pops and we all stood there captivated by the spectacle, I heard comments like: "Oh my goodness, he goes so high!" "Heeeeeeere he comes!", "Wow! Did you hear that?!" "Amazing! I've never seen anything like it." "Oh, I didn't know hummingbirds rested on branches too. I thought they flew their entire lives." "Check out the neon pink head!" "Thanks for showing us!"
Yes, it was a small, but great moment in birding public relations, thanks to the magic of nature! Happy Birding!
Check out this link to Rich Ditch's Anna's Hummingbird photo from the same location.