Just before the picture of Lily and the recently departed mouse was taken, I was celebrating the return of Studly Segal. He had not been around for many months, and I thought he was gone for good.
For those who don't know the story or have forgotten, Studly is the inheritor of a long tradition of spoiled critters at this house on the coast. His predecessor was Charlie who taught my step father to hand feed him a LONG time ago. When my step father died in 1997, we started thinking about how long he had been feeding Charlie, and it had been over 25 years. Charlie trained my mom after my step dad died and when my mom died in 2005, he became less picky and would let several people feed him if they were properly quiet and respectful. Charlie died several years ago, but before he did he brought another bird around to show him the ropes and how to train us.
His name was Studly Segal. He tried to train me for many months, but the best we could do was when he would land with a flop on our carport I would defrost a hot dog and approach the birdbath. But I never got close enough to have him take it from my hand. I always had to toss it the last 3 feet.
Yesterday, after being MIA for many months I heard the familiar flop. I went out and there was a seagull staring at me like "So WHERE is my hot dog?" He walked to the edge of the roof and when I went to the birdbath he flew down for the toss. I'm sure it's Studly because he always hopped down off the birdbath after getting a piece of hotdog, then hopped back up for the next piece. He seemed a little more confident than in the past. Later he came back and I gave him some bread. Still later he came back again when there were several of us in the back yard where there is an alternate feeding spot, the corner of the carport.
This spot offers a way to hand feed that can make him feel safer. Additionally, I turned my head away to not seem threatening.