This little guy is a Tufted Titmouse and he is a frequent visitor to my feeder this year, though I've never seen one at my yard in town before. I have seen them at the lake, in the Adirondacks and at the land, which are all more wooded areas. He began coming last week, and seemed normal enough, often showing up along with the slightly smaller Nuthatches and Chickadees - sometimes scattering them away from the feeder with his frequent comings and goings.
I call my new friend a 'he' though from what I've read the two sexes look about the same. After a few days, the weather became especially overcast and that was when I couldn't help but notice his strange behavior. When I got up that morning shortly after daybreak he was already at the feeder and was acting frantic. He didn't leave his perch on the feeder for more than a couple of minutes at a time and while there he seemed to not be eating much. But rather perched on the top of the feeder which sits squarely in front of our large picture window where the cat almost constantly keeps watch of the activity outside from the back of a chair.
At first I thought he was harassing the cat. He fluttered his wings, bobbed his tail up and down, posed with outspread wings, and intermittently flew directly toward the window, fluttering there for a moment before flitting back to his perch. And he did harass the cat whether he meant to, or not. She had already leapt up in the window to grab the bird once, when it flew right up against the pane. She would have captured him between her paws if it hadn't been for the glass that separated them. At first she seemed confused, and then indignant. She didn't try to catch him again, but she did continue to watch his every move with fierce determination for most of the day.
I soon noticed that when the bird briefly left the feeder, it flew to my truck and landed on the side view mirror, and began flying up to the truck window and performing his antics there as well. From my view from the house I could see the distinct reflection of the bird in the glass and realized that he was intently courting himself. Spending his time between the feeder and the truck he kept up his mating display until well after the other birds had retired to their roosts and it came time for me to turn the lamp on inside.
He continues to come to the feeder daily, and most days since then have been partly overcast. During the gloomiest times he resumes his courtship and I feel sad that he might not find a real mate since he is so infatuated with his own ghostly reflection. I watch the trees nearby hoping that another Titmouse will hear his calls and join him. The cat has since lost interest, but I would love to watch a brood of Tufted Titmice being raised outside my living room. I try to turn the light on when it darkens to discourage reflections, though it was interesting to watch the courtship of the phantom in the window.