Stanley Long, 45
St. Marks Place and Avenue A
Thu Jan 11 2007
Photograph by Jay Muhlin
"This is a wonderful hat. I made it 10 or 11 years ago. I've been dressing it up slowly but surely. I got the feathers at a store that used to be on 33rd Street called 33rd and Bird."
Caw, caw, caw!
Let me guess. You're the Bird Man? Caw! Yes, the Bird Man of America.
Oh, you're a national figure? Yup, I'm Bird Man for the whole country. But they haven't discovered me yet. They're taking their sweet time and I'm running out of patience.
With any luck this will be your big break. Tell me about these noises you're making. I've got a bunch. This is my Tweetybird [Chirps]. And my favorite is the crow. Caw! Caw! That's the deadly one.
How did you get your start as Bird Man? A long time ago, When I was in my twenties, I was living in the Bronx and I used to listen to the birds. It just came over me. I started with the tweet sound, then the crow one came later on.
Are you a Hitchcock fan? Yeah, The Birds! And The Crow, too. That's how this whole thing started. Caw! Caw!
What are you listening to? KISS FM. It makes these calls louder because I have to do it over the music.
How do New York City birds respond to you? They run behind me, they fly over me...you should see them. As soon as I'm out the door, they're there. Seagulls, crows, everything.
Do you have a mating call? Are you looking for the Bird Woman? Yeah, yeah, this is a mating call [Chirps loudly]. She's out there somewhere. I keep trying to catch her but she's always on the run. She's a beautiful yellowtail hawk.
What's the best place for watching your feathered buddies? Everywhere is great. There's a baby eagle up in Central Park, but I haven't talked to it yet.
What do you do to pay the bills? I work for a messenger company. It's slow today, though; that's why I'm free to talk to you.—Kate Lowenstein