Hummingbird mating is an amazing event to watch. The male Hummingbird in his quest to attract a female puts on an elaborate aerial show.
First, the male stakes out a territory that will provide a source of food and a safe place for raising baby birds.
Not that the male participates in the activities of nesting but he does want to provide for the needs of his family.
While he must constantly defend his turf the male Hummingbird must also work at finding a mate.
The Hummingbird mating process is a simple but dramatic affair.
The female Hummingbird sits quietly on a branch waiting for the male to impress her with visual and audio displays.
The male makes a series of impressive deep arcing swoops to catch her attention.
The visual display of the male is accentuated by flashing colours created by his “gorget”. The “gorget” is the flat iridescent feathers around the neck, that flash brightly when the sun is reflected on them at certain angles.
Consequently, the more he swoops and dives, the greater the number of angles the sun can catch the brilliant colours of his feathers.
The better the show, the better the chances of catching the attention of the female.
Perhaps one could suggest that for the female Hummingbird, the male’s gorget is the diamonds of their world.
“Gorgets are a female Hummingbird's best friend” has a similar ring to “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. ;-)
A note about the “Gorgets”: Although the gorgets are used during Hummingbird mating, they have another purpose.
They are like human fingerprints.
The pattern created by the gorget is different on each Hummingbird.
They are used to make a statement in territorial disputes reminding other males that this male with this particular pattern is "Lord" of this area.
Just like humans, the female Hummingbird enjoys being serenaded. To this end the male adds to his arsenal of weapons for attracting females by “singing”. As he swoops about displaying the rich colors of his gorget he chirps, buzzes and "zees".
The whole process of Hummingbird mating seems very arduous for such little creatures, especially when you consider that Hummingbirds do not mate for life.
Each spring after migrating from their winter habitat, the male must start the whole process over again.
After the wooing process is completed, the female will drive the male away and his participation in the process is finished until mating season the next year.
Now the female sets out raising baby birds alone.