The Murrells Inlet birdman, Joseph Weeks, 58, said God told him to bring joy through birds. And now it’s his life’s purpose.
He, his several birds and his dog are easily recognized in Murrells Inlet. He will pull up in his van, get his “family” of animals out and quickly a crowd flocks to him. He has a sign giving more information about his birds.
“I just love showing these bird,” he said. “I just want you to get to know these birds.”
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But his love for birds is relatively new.
Weeks got his first bird from a woman at church. It was then that the “Birdman,” as man call him now, was born. Fast forward two years and he spends most the day with his birds, caring for them and making sure they’re healthy.
“Sonny was the very first bird I got and all of a sudden that started my passion for these birds,” he said.
He talks with his birds, dances beside them and sometimes has to scold them when they get into fights. The birds even ride on the back of his dog.
“People ask me, ‘do the birds and the dog get along?’” he said. “And I say ‘just fine.’”
Two of his parrots recently joined the family after Weeks adopted them from breeders who kept the birds in cages. They were not compatible as mates.
Jake, one of the two, likes to dance when he hears music, drawing a big crowd as he bobs back-and-forth.
“Come-on Jake, do your Stevie Wonder,” he said while Jake danced for a family standing in the pouring rain on a recent day.
Susie, the other rescue, pulled her feathers out from the stress of being locked in a cage. Weeks is proud that her feathers are coming back under his care.
Showcasing and caring for these birds has became Weeks’ life. But times are getting tough for the Birdman.
In the last few months the police have been stopping him. Weeks was arrested on July 4 for not heeding Georgetown police requests for him to stop soliciting in the area with his birds. A police report from one of the incidents said he did not have the appropriate permission to operate in a business’ parking lot and was soliciting funds.
He said the police officer did not listen to him when he tried to explain he had permission.
Weeks said he will continue bringing his birds to public spaces and allowing people to hold them. Sharing his birds with the world makes him happy.
The joy is his reward, Weeks said, and he does not charge anyone. He even asked people who visited him to sign a piece of paper agreeing that he did not harass them or ask for money.
“I have never asked people for money,” he said. “For me that would take the joy out of it.”