Thursday, April 14, 2011

Squirrel Whisperer

A while back, one grey winter Sunday, I was walking through Washington Square Park.  At the edge of a path, I saw a group of people gathered.

I usually avoid crowds.  But this crowd seemed non-threatening enough, and they were clearly entranced by whatever it was they were watching. 

I moved closer.  Saw a couple of squirrels, perched on wooden posts.  Didn't quite get the thrill.


Then I noticed there were A LOT of squirrels afoot.  And then I noticed why: a man in a blue windbreaker was feeding them.  He had the squirrels eating out of his hand.


Literally.  He literally had them EATING FROM HIS HAND.

I watched - fascinated, in awe, and maybe a little creeped out.  The man was calm, ignoring the chattering crowd around him.  He called out to the squirrels (by name!), and they ran up to him and grabbed nuts from his outstretched hand.


Occasionally the squirrels would get too amped up, and the Squirrel Whisper would say "One at a time!" or "Wait, wait your turn."

Sometimes the squirrels would even leap up into his hand, and dangle there for a few moments before dropping and scampering off.  It was like a squirrel version of a high-five or something.


It wasn't only the squirrels who felt comfortable enough to enjoy meaningful touch with the man: pigeons were his pals, too.  See them perched on his back-pack, above?  And eating out of his hands, below?


I want to - nay, need to - know everything about this man.  Like - when did he first discover he had The Gift?  Does he commune with any other species?  Did he name the squirrels, or did they name themselves?  Is he only familiar with the little buggers in Wash. Sq. Park, or does he feed squirrels all over town?

Who - pray tell - knows the secrets of the Squirrel Whisperer?

(I would have asked him myself, but I'm like, shy 'n stuff.)


DC Discombobulated said...

I am a photographer from DC and just met Susan the "Squirrel Whisperer: of Washington Square Park (google her).... the guy you have pictured in your post is I think the "Pigeon Guy" she talks about in many google video interviews. I saw him too! Small and fun world.

KristyWes said...


Found a cool documentary about Susan Goren( Like Susan, I also get a little sad about the way NYC is changing.

AND found a video of this Pigeon/Squirrel Guy (

Thanks for the lead! :)