Meet Downtown Brooklyn’s pigeon whisperer

Gregory Pirog feeds the birds in MetroTech Center.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

A Windsor Terrace man has turned Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a veritable circus, where he leads a menagerie of feathered performers that are delighting locals. 

“They’re willing to put on a show,” said Gregory Pirog of the pigeons. “The part that gives me the most joy is when they fly up and down, they beat there wings so hard — they’re like angels.”

The 68-year-old uses bird feed as a lure to train his fowl friends outside his office in America’s Downtown, where he works as a repairman fixing radios for the Fire Department.

As it stands, the bird’s repertoire of tricks is limited, but Pirog plans to teach them more in the future. Most birds are content to gorge themselves from a safe distance, while only a few are willing to take a perch on their two legged benefactor. Pirog calls these his “A” students. 

“They stay on the ground. They don’t do any extra credit work with the teacher,” he said. “They’re content, they don’t mind getting less feed than the ‘A’ students.”

Pirog adopted his quirky past time after a friend bet him $10 that he couldn’t get a bird to land on his arm. Despite the lack of any formal training, the radioman soon found himself a few dollars richer — and with an irresistible new hobby. 

Pirog’s feathery pastime began when a friend bet him $10 he couldn’t get the birds to eat from his hand.Photo by Kevin Duggan

While many enjoy the spectacle surrounding the local bird enthusiast, some business owners are less than thrilled by his antics. One chef at an Italian eatery in Windsor Terrace tossed him with a knife and threw bleach at him for using a nearby fire hydrant as a perch for his pigeons.

Another local, blaming Pirog for the white poop dotting his property, almost punched him, but Pirog maintains the feces came from other people feeding the birds.

For the most part, the bird lover’s adversaries have gotten used to him at this point, and Pirog says he’s generally only confronted by the money to afford something worth getting upset over — if its covered in poop.

“The only main problem are people with beautiful cars and houses,” he said. “They usually get very upset with pigeons.”

But most people enjoy his show and he plans to expand it after his retirement in the next months to raise more awareness for the common birds.

“I see them as New York City citizens, I think they’re part of the city,” he said.