BirdMan of WaiKiKi

The idea that humanity is somehow an obstacle in the path of nature has always left me conflicted. The signs which remind us to stay off the grass; not feed the animals; keep our distance from the natural setting; seem ironic to me. Surely we destroy much of what we touch as a species. But we are nature. And nature is sometimes as destructive to itself as we are. Whales kill whales with as much venom as humans do with each other. There is giving and taking of life amongst all the creatures on this planet and clearly, animals and people can both coexist, illuminate, or eliminate each other, if conditions allow.

When I saw the areial display above this man’s head, I had to get closer …

Maybe he’s upsetting the natural balance. Maybe the birds should find their own way, but with Pete, the birds must simply view him as a man with manna from the heavens, daily communing and feeding his faithful flock. This to me is church. 

Some of the birds are greedy, they pick at his flesh when the slices of bread run low; or they fight with others already in good position on his arms, but he obviously has an uncommon communion with nature–more so than the average person, and neither he, nor his bird-friends are reading any signs to the contrary. Pete says he does this daily but has never seen a photo of himself doing so. I hope he saves the card I gave him and finds time to see how beautiful his interaction with the birds is. This scene surely made my day.


Pete, an unassuming beach comber spends each day of his Hawaiian life on the shores of Waikiki, communing and feeding his fluttering friends–a clear kinship between man and animal.