Bird Man

A few years ago, I took a photo of a man I often saw in the parks of downtown Portland.  On that, and every other day I saw him, he was surrounded by pigeons. They were at his feet and waiting for the sky to rain bird seed. A couple were even poking around in his backpack while he talked on a cell phone.  They knew him and expected him to reach into his bag and pull out fistfuls of lunch.  I remember approaching slowly for fear of scaring the birds away. Politely I asked for permission to take pictures. He agreed.  As I lifted the camera and moved in closer, the pigeons fluttered into the air and disappeared to the 4 corners of the urban park.  I pressed the button somewhere in the middle of the action and this is what I captured.  It’s no masterpiece, but I like it because it captured the motion of the moment.  I was sorry about disturbing what seemed to be a daily ritual but, [Bird Man] didn’t seem to mind.  He knew they would come back, as surely as they always had.

Yesterday at the end of my work day, I walked through the park blocks to my car. There, the [bird man] sat on a bench in the shade. Dreadlocks, free from the knit cap he wears in the winter time hung heavily from his head and he tossed seed to a throng of happy pigeons.  What a shame that I wasted an opportunity, camera in hand or not, to sit for a while and learn his name. Maybe next time….

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One thought on “Bird Man

  1. randomly found this page while searching google for something else. read your photoessay, for lack of a better word. it struck me that you’ve seen him twice now, and profited from his life in your own. it’s high time you talked to bird man, learned his name, and bought him a damn sandwich.

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