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Date:   Mon, 1 Sep 2008 18:27:45 -0400
Reply-To:   James Brooks <jrbamc@JUNO.COM>
Sender:   Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:   James Brooks <jrbamc@JUNO.COM>
Subject:   RTWL - Ruby-Throated Wrestling League

I've had a male and a female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird contesting for rights to my feeder. This afternoon things went from contentious to extreme and downright physical. Another male and another female have appeared and they all have been going at each other. The two males began circling the feeder, each refusing to back down. For several minutes they went back and forth, neither bird willing to fly off and try to come back later. Then one of the females would try to slip in and get a quick sip while the males were occupied with each other. Finally it came to a head, one of the males drove the other male to the ground under the feeder. This male pinned the other one to the ground, and seemed to be sitting on it's head. Occasionally seen pecking at the pinned birds underparts and tail feathers. Now the females swooped in to feed, but they gave no ground either. The two males still lay buzzing and tangled in the grass. Finally after a few minutes the male holding the other one down let it go, and both of them buzzed away. The females came in to feed and one of the males swooped in again and dive-bombed the females. It's a never-ending battle for sugar water.

I've never seen two males actually be THAT aggressive before, but food and migration is at stake here I suppose. Seems like they burn up more energy fighting over the feeder than is healthy. A little cooperation goes a long way, like all the way across the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season.

Also had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the yard today.

James Brooks east of McDonough (Henr Cty) GA

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