I caught this weird Rose-Breasted Grosbeak interaction on camera a week or so ago, but had to have an opportunity to read about it in the Stokes Guide to Bird Behavior to be sure what I was seeing. This is a mating behavior that the Stokes guide calls: “Wing-Droop-Fluff”. It is described this way:
“the bird droops wings and quivers them, spreads and lowers tail, and fluffs lower back and breast feathers. At the same time the body is slowly rotated side to side. They often sing the rapid version of their song during. This behavior is given by the male near the female during courtship and sometimes prior to copulation. The female may chase the male, in which case both birds may begin to move in high hops. May end in male chasing female.”Stokes Nature Guides: A Guide to Bird Behavior Volume 1 by Donald Stokes
The book also tells me that they continue this behavior through the egg laying phase. I believe that they should be getting done with egg laying around mid-July. The book also says this behavior isn’t seen as frequently as some of their other mating behavior (their slow song flight being the one we usually see). Also, pardon my air conditioner noise here, but I wanted to keep the song/calls.