Steve the Zebra Pigeon Feeder

While exploring Waikiki Beach this morning, I walked down a concrete (let’s call it something like a pier, because it went out into the water, but it’s not a traditional wood pier) pier after a long and meandering path down the beach and then back via road (I just walked have a vague sense of direction, figuring if I got lost, alll the better). Walking toward the end of the pier, a man (about my age and Asian) had one hand and arm covered in small birds. An older American man was talking to him. I took a few photos of this. The American man looked at me and asked, “You want to feed them? It’s free.”

“OK,” I said, though I was unsure about having birds on my arm. He gave me a couple of pieces of bread.

“Put your thumb on top of it so they don’t make off with the whole pieces,” he said.

I did that and instantly my hand and left arm were covered with birds. Zebra pigeons he said they are called. We stood there, the two of us. Not talking a whole lot to start with — I never like being nosy, so I often have a difficult time just asking people questions. But after a while — maybe only a few minutes — he asked me where I’m from.

“California,” I said.

“What part?”

“Central Coast.”

Eventually, he mentioned Morro Bay. “That’s really close to me,” I said.

He and his wife lived in Seattle until they moved to Waikiki 11 years ago. He said he retired 18 years ago, but took his time deciding where to retire, until he realized that Waikiki was the place he wanted to be.

He walks out that pier nearly every morning about 7 a.m. and stays until 10 or 11 a.m. feeding the birds and talking to visitors. He knows the other regulars who are out there boogie boarding and chats up with a smile all those who stop by.

The zebra birds on my hand and arm.

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