By Shannon Edinger
Fishing is more than just a hobby for Wayne Rogers. It is a way for him to bond with his buddy, Elvis.
What makes their relationship unique? Elvis is a Great Blue Heron.
Rogers, 67, has lived in the area for 19 years now. Elvis first came by his Land O’ Lakes house five years ago and, Rogers said, has returned every day since. Rogers’ wife, Kitty, says Elvis showed up a week after their dog died. “After losing my dog, I kind of took him in as a pet,” he said.
Rogers is not entirely sure if Elvis is a male or female, but he named him Elvis and refers to him as a he. Elvis initially got Rogers’ attention by flying around outside his back window. He also walked around and pecked on the roof to make noise.
To this day, Elvis still uses these techniques to get Rogers’ attention when he is hungry.
“The hungrier he is, the braver he is,” Rogers said. In the winter, Elvis is more aggressive because there are fewer fish to catch than in the summer. Great Blue Herons primarily feed on small fish. Neighbors have seen Elvis walk up to Rogers’ back door and patiently wait for him to come outside.
When Rogers walks outside, Elvis follows him down the back walkway to the dock.
There, the bird quietly stands, waiting for Rogers to catch him some fish. Once Rogers catches a fish, he will hold the fishing pole up with the fish dangling so Elvis can grab the fish off the line. “I don’t want to try feeding him by hand,” Rogers said. “He’s still a wild animal and that long bill could cut one of my fingers off.”
Rogers usually spends about an hour on the dock, but Elvis will remain outside until dark.
“Once it’s dark, he will fly off somewhere. I’m not sure where he goes, but I’ve always been curious about it,” Rogers said.
Sometimes, Rogers will go out on his boat to go fishing and Elvis will stand on the front of the boat.
“If I’m not careful, he will get into the bait well and eat all the bait,” Rogers said. Elvis has become territorial of Rogers’ dock. “He won’t let any other birds on the dock,” Rogers said. Elvis started a fight with a hawk one time for coming too close to the dock. “This is his territory.”
Elvis is shy around people he does not know. He keeps a safe distance when there are strangers around, but he always keeps a watchful eye on Rogers and the dock.
It is uncertain why Elvis chose Rogers’ home, but Rogers is certain of one thing: “He is a happy camper.”
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