Bird Man of the Alvarado Street Exit

04/06/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I love interesting people. In Washington DC, I observed "Nature Boy" walking down the street. He was such a contrast to the neighborhood, I had to meet him. As luck would have it we met at a park across the street from the White House. While driving the Embarcadero in San Francisco I caught a glimpse of a man trying to leverage his wheelchair to dig deeper into a trash can. The next day I went back purposely to find Dale. For maybe a year now I would pass by "Bird Man", always regretting that I didn't have my camera on me. I often drove to his Echo Park location off the 101 with my camera, but he was never there. Today that changed.

Ninja, as he likes to be called, has been on the streets for 20 years. He says the birds are attracted to him because he has a heart full of love. The very sad part is I often see him sleeping on the cold concrete under the freeway overpass.

I very much relate to "Bird Man". When I was homeless, my pet iguana D.O.G provided me with a gimmick to increase panhandling revenue.

When I asked Ninja for his three wishes, without hesitation he responded "health, wealth and wisdom."