Steve, The Bird Caller

The Man With The Birds in Hand

“Anyone can do this,” Says the friendly yet resolute looking man who, in Hawaii sporting a white beard looks like Santa Claus on vacation.  “Be sure to pinch the bread,” Steve says.  “Pinch it gently with your thumb.  If you don’t, they may knock it out of your hand.”

Steve — the Bird Caller — is a man I met one morning when I decided, by random, to take photos of surfers who come gliding in close.  Fast shutter speeds for the ocean spray.  Blue ocean, white crests… that’s what I was there for that morning.  In snapping pictures of the surfers by the pier, a man with birds all over his arms and shoulder totally stole the show.  It was a random event.  How in the… what in the world is this? I wondered.  Needless to say, I was going to go over there and meet him.  This is a place full of tourist anyway; I’m sure he’s used to it.

“Oh yeah, they well catch you sometimes. It’s part of the risk.  Yes, yes they may poop on you.  Birds have no sphincter muscles you know.  When they gotta go they just go.  So when they get your car, they aren’t aiming for it, they don’t do it intentionally.  Birds cannot hold it.”  ~Steve

Steve is a man who used to work in the Honolulu Zoo.  He also served in the military, which is the reason why he landed in Hawaii.  While not retiring from the military, he did retire from being an animal keeper in the zoo.  He currently goes to the beach in Honolulu to call the birds to his arm.  “These are zebra doves,” He tells.  “They are very friendly. Here, take this bread and watch.”  Of course like some sort of fantasy movie, the birds gravitated to my hand and arm, now forming pyramids on my hand for the bread to the point of falling off due to the collective mass.  They would catch themselves in air, the privilege of an graceful aviation master, land, fly up to do it all over again.

He comes here every morning.  And that’s Steve, the Bird Caller.  Remember the message from Steve: You can always call birds to your arm, but know the risk that they may make a mess on you.  Boy, that can be applied to life right there.  No messes were made that day.  Thank you Steve, you have yourself a good one.

Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

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