Birdman of Washington Square

This is a really sweet and interesting interview by Colin Jones with Paul, a fixture at the park you’ve likely encountered, who proclaims himself “The Birdman of Washington Square.” It’s true, as he says, that, for children raised in an urban environment, sometimes the only form of ‘nature’ and wildlife they’ll experience are pigeons, and that interaction actually becomes very important.

Pigeons are such interesting, smart birds who have developed a bad reputation. It wasn’t until I encountered an injured one on a wintry day about 12 years ago outside a meatpacking plant on Greenwich Street that I even took notice of them, for the most part. The workers there that morning noticed my concern – imagine, they handled raw carcasses all day and yet they cared enough to bring out a box and help move the bird into it. Ever since then, I’ve noticed the pigeons of New York City, amazed at how they survive, co-existing with humans and other birds. A really nice thing about Washington Square is that pretty much all the wildlife is appreciated by people who inhabit the park.

Video: Colin Jones