Meet The Birdman Of Rancho Bernardo

rancho bernardo croppedRancho Bernardo is a community in San Diego, located about 20 miles northeast of downtown.

It tends to be a quiet place – not much making headlines in Rancho Bernardo.

That all changed recently, when an important story was covered by several august media outlets including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and NBC.

Life is pretty good in Rancho Bernardo – the average annual income is around $129,000 and the average household net worth is almost a $1 million.  The median age is 38, and the population about 88,500.

Plus 84 cockatiels.

Make that 84 apparently horny, definitely dirty, and probably very pissed off cockatiels.

That’s what put Rancho Bernardo in the national headlines:

wash post (2)

ny times

That’s right – 84 cockatiels plus one human were living in an apartment in Rancho Bernardo.

A small, one bedroom apartment.

It seems the vastly outnumbered human resident of the apartment – who was unnamed in the coverage so I’ll call him The Birdman – had purchased a few cockatiels awhile back but had forgotten the famous lyrics about “birds do it…”

birds do_01 croppedThe birds did.  And then did some more.  Confined in that small apartment, what else was there to do?

The birds were rescued by Humane Society officials, one of whom said, “The birds were free-flying so there was bird feces everywhere.”  And by “everywhere,” said a TV reporter, it was “on the man’s bed, the walls, the floors, and even his clothes left around the apartment.”

Neighbors said the bird problem had been going on for years:

tweet (2)

So I can’t help but wonder – what The Birdman was thinking in the interim?

“Oh, well, what’s another cockatiel or two?”
“I wonder why Mom never comes over for dinner?”
“Will anyone at work notices this stuff all over my clothes?”

Or maybe The Birdman doesn’t work.  Since recommends spending “at least one hour a day holding or playing with your cockatiel,” with 84 of them, this guy had his…er, hands full.

And as everyone knows, a bird in the hand…


The birds were brought out of the apartment in individual boxes:

officer with bird boxes cropped

The Birdman was brought out in handcuffs by the San Diego police:

birdman photo (2)

Stories noted that the San Diego Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) was also on site.

Though whether PERT was there for the birds, or The Birdman, was not clear.

OK, I’ll stop making fun of The Birdman.  He obviously has some issues, besides his dirty windows:

window (2)

I should be more empathetic – you know, put myself in this guy’s shoes.

If they’re not covered in bird shit…


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