By Barbara Mahany
Tribune staff reporter
September 19, 2004
Except for his lips, you would think he was made out of stone, the man who sits, hours on end, on the red fire hydrant on Western Avenue, just north of Lawrence, pigeons by the dozens perched on him. Pigeons on his head. Pigeons on his shoulders and right down his arms. Pigeons poised on each palm. Pigeons clinging to his chest. Pigeons on his lap. Pigeons on his thighs. Pigeons, of course, perched on each foot.
JOE ZEMAN Called birds his children
December 21, 2007
BY KARA SPAK Staff
Roses, candles and a smattering of birdseed marked a fire hydrant in the 4800 block of North Western on Wednesday night in memory of Joe Zeman Jr., known to many Chicagoans simply as "the Pigeon Man."
Zeman, 77, died Tuesday after being hit by a car on Devon. The simple, mysterious man captured the attention of passersby who gawked at the dozens of pigeons roosting on and around him -- birds he called his children.
Kevin Kitchen, a Lincoln Square resident, was drawn Wednesday to the hydrant where Zeman and the pigeons merged to remember a man who was "going out and caring for the least of God's creatures."
Kitchen is talking to "neighbors, friends and strangers" about the possibility of a permanent memorial to Zeman in Lincoln Square. Kitchen proposed hanging artistic, locally designed birdhouses on lampposts near the statute of Abraham Lincoln at Lawrence and Western, across the street from Zeman's usual perch.
"He was such a unique person, he's hard to forget," he said.
Those interested in a "Pigeon Man" memorial can reach Kitchen at L7Bird@gmail.com . Kitchen has also started a "Remember the Bird Man" group on Facebook.