KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rick Gardner came to Oahu five years ago and didn't have any friends. Now, he's got a whole flock of 'em. The self-proclaimed Kailua Bird man frequents Kailua Beach Park just about everyday.
"Normally when I come here in the afternoon, as soon as the birds see me, they come land on me," explained Gardner. "And some people are like 'Wow!'"
Over the years Gardner's developed quite a following.
" The kids love it," said Gardner. "They go, 'How do you do that?' I say, 'Well you know I speak pigeon.'"
Bread crumbs and patience are the foundation of Gardner's bond with his birds. It's a relationship based on trust that's taken time to evolve.
"So I had these birds feeding out of my hand. Then I got them to land on me. Then I could walk with them. Then I found out I could actually take them for a swim," said Gardner
What started out with just one feathered friend has now grown to more than 20 birds.
"I'll have anywhere from 6 to a dozen birds," said Gardner. "Usually the most I'll have on me is six different birds at one time."
All the birds have names and are learning tricks. Gardner promises getting the birds to jump on him and swim out to sea is only the beginning.
" I want to get sponsored and get a stand up paddle board and be the only guy paddle boarding with a pigeon on his shoulder," said Gardner. "I think that would be kind of cool. Why not? They've got the surfing pig right?"
Rick's serious about paddle boarding with his birds and even kayaking with them. If you don't see him practicing at the beach you can check him out on Facebook at Kailua Bird man.