He’s the bird man of the Plaza de la Cultura

A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias Vela Jorge Jiménez and his friends

The Plaza de la Cultura is one of San José’s most visited points. It is in downtown and ideally located next to tourist hot-spots. But what isn’t mentioned in the guidebooks is that there is a man who does not fear the mass of pigeons that hover over the plaza. He said he rather enjoys their company everyday.

Jorge Jiménez is the friendly pigeon man of the Plaza de la Cultura. He walks around tossing food to the birds and, in return, the birds express their appreciation with extreme fluttering over the petite, elderly man.

Everyday after his lunch, Jiménez takes the bus from his home in Concepción to the plaza and spends a few hours feeding and hanging out with the pigeons. Or until it rains, he said. He has a bag full of salted or whole wheat bread crumbs that he feeds the birds.

From a distance, he can be seen surrounded by the pigeons. He was spotted by a reporter Wednesday because he had a pigeon on his head, and he seemed to like it. When he sat down, the birds used him as a live obstacle course. Some sat on his lap, others grabbed onto his forearm. There were a few pigeons that sat on his shoulder like a parrot. Jiménez didn’t mind the uncanny resemblance to the Alfred Hitchcock-directed film “The Birds.” Instead he smiled and grabbed a pigeon to throw him in the air. The bird flew and wasn’t hurt.

Jiménez isn’t like those who visit the area and fear a dropping from a bird. Instead he comes prepared.

He said on occasion he is soiled but that’s why he carries a damp piece of cloth to clean up a mess.

He said he has been going to the Plaza de la Cultura for years. He said he doesn’t know the exact number of years because it’s been part of his daily regimen for so long he lost track in the count. “I come here everyday because it beats staying at home by myself,” said Jiménez.

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