The Bird Man of….Beaubourg (Paris)
Around the Beaubourg, aka as the Pompidou Centre, buskers and informal artists are always part of the scene and are fun to watch.
We usually see the Chalk Man by the Stravinsky Fountains, drawing his elaborate creations on the pavement. And one day we were there, a young guy was standing on his head for a very long time (not a good idea really!). There was also a dancing/acrobatic group of very energetic young men, who really got the crowd involved.
We watched an African man making beautiful intricate wire creations, and were very tempted to buy the lizard, but didn’t, and when we went back he was gone (of course!). A caricaturist does a pretty good job, and one man makes “flutes” in a pipe shape.
But, last time there we saw something that was new to us, that was also a bit of a spectacle; a huge flock of pigeons, of hundreds, maybe thousands of birds, swarming, fluttering, whirring, whizzing, flapping. At first we thought it was someone doing a trick or an “act” with lots of fake flying birds, this black circle dipping and diving.
But no. These were real. Why were they doing that there? An older man, stooped, in non-descript clothes arrived with a red wheelie bag with large plastic packets filled with stale pieces of bread and bread crumbs. He walked around one small section of the paving, flinging out the bread like he was sowing seeds, and the birds followed him in a frenzy, swooping and pecking. So many birds that at times the man was hardly visible through the feathered bodies.
It was fun to watch, but actually probably not fun for the local merchants whose stores are just opposite—the negatives of having so many birds hanging around, like bird poop, feathers, lice etc.