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Mystery Sound - Anna's Hummingbird "Ping!"

Subject: Mystery Sound - Anna's Hummingbird "Ping!"
From: Doug Von Gausig <>
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 09:37:15 -0700
The sound that an Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) makes when it reaches
the bottom of it's nuptial dance has long been a matter of speculation
amount ornithologists. The male of this species, like many Hummingbird
species, displays for the females by "dancing" in the air. The dance
consists of a vertical hovering climb, all the while looking downward with=

his bill pointed at the admiring female perched below, then after climbing=

about 30 meters and singing to her during the climb he flips over and
dives, pulling out of this vertical dive just in front of her face, and
starting the dance all over again. For those aerobatic pilots in the group,=

this would be described as a "Split S" maneuver.

Just as he reaches the bottom of his dive and pulls out he emits a sharp
"ping" sound that is the subject of the mystery. Most ornithologists these=

days accept that the sound is made mechanically by two of his outer tail
feathers, as they reach top speed and are pulled forward to stop his dive.=

Others believe that the sound is vocal.

My question is, is there any way to analyze the sound so that we might
definitively end the mystery? I've posted an example, made just a few days=

ago outside my office. It was picked up by a custom Telinga stationery
stereo mike, and fed directly to my computer sound card. Give a listen at (anhudd14.wav) and
tell me what you think.

Doug Von Gausig
Digitally Recorded Birds Sounds at:
Clarkdale, Central Arizona, USA


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