JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The kids see him and start chanting, "Birdman! Birdman!" They say it with affection because Bishop Kenny High School has a talented man on its maintenance staff.
Louis "Poncho" Fletcher, better known as the "Birdman," started realizing he had a talent when he was nine years old. He said he would make bird sounds at his Grandma's house. She was supportive, but asked him to practice outside.
He did practice, he said, four to five hours a day.
Now he said his best bird is a mockingbird. He said the birds probably hear him, but he has no thoughts of actually communicating with them with any meaning, of course.
Fletcher is careful not to make his bird imitations ring out at the wrong times. He doesn't want to disturb any students concentrating in class. But when the bell rings, he sometimes just breaks out "in mockingbird."
The students gather around and applaud. Often you'll hear, "Encore! Encore!"
Is there a trick in addition to hours of practice?
Fletcher moves his fingers almost like a string musician during a fast-tempo section of a song. But he also says he holds his breath during the bird imitations.
During high-five's and applause, Fletcher smiles. He's a humble guy and at first didn't even want to go on TV.
But the kids inspire him. "He's the best," on student shouts.
Fletcher said, "I love them all."
First Coast News