Yesterday I stopped at one of my favorite spots to see what grassland birds were on territory there. I found both the expected Longspurs- McCown's and Chestnut-collared. There were also many Sprague's Pipits singing high above me. Occasionally I could spot one but more often than not I was staring into what appeared to be blank sky with a song coming from nowhere.
Once I watched two singing birds circle close to each other and then engage in what appeared to be a territorial dispute and I managed to get a few distant photos of the altercation. After looking at the photos it was apparent that the fight was just a vicious as any bird fight I have observed but it took place about a 100 feet above the ground.
In the photo above you can see the bird on the left has a mouth full of feathers.
After falling for a while, but not yet really close to the ground, the broke apart and headed off in opposite directions, back into the sky, to start singing all over again - a show that will go on for the next couple of months on a daily basis.