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8 months ago
Several times in the course of the past 30 years or so, I have seen a red-eyed vireo acting in a very odd manner. It has occurred when an adult is feeding a full-grown young. The old bird suddenly departs, for a moment, from its normal behavior; it draws its feathers tight to its body and sways slowly from side to side through a wide arc, certainly as great as 90 o. If the two birds are facing each other, as they usually are, the bill of the adult points successively far to each side of the young bird, over and over. The old bird gives the impression of being in a sort of trance, or as if it were trying to influence the other bird in some strange way, although the action probably has a more prosaic explanation. Behavior of a similar nature is described under "Courtship." I have never seen any other species of vireo act in this manner.