Bird whisperer draws pigeons to parking lot

LAZ Parking attendent Jeff Martin feeds pidgeons and sparrows on the morning of Monday, Aug. 24, at the Center City parking lot on Liberty Street. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)LAZ Parking attendent Jeff Martin feeds pidgeons and sparrows on the morning of Monday, Aug. 24, at the Center City parking lot on Liberty Street. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA
Gazette Reporter

SCHENECTADY — As the sky brightened Monday morning, the birds began to gather, their silhouettes softening the apex of a steeply pitched slate roof.

Eyes on the glass-and-metal booth at the edge of the Center City Parking Lot across the street, they waited.

Shortly before 7:30 a.m., Jeff Martin arrived, plastic grocery bag in hand. He unlocked the parking booth and brought out a jar of peanuts.

He shook the jar, eyes to the sky. The birds fluttered to his feet.

“There’s Brownie. That’s my favorite. He’s a very rare one,” the Niskayuna resident said, pointing out a brown-and-white pigeon, a standout among his gray-hued companions.

A two-year employee of LAZ Parking, Martin’s been feeding the birds from his parking lot post for about six months now. He started with the sparrows, tossing sunflower seeds into the nearby landscaping. About three months ago, he began to feed the pigeons.

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