Bagman for the Birds

Hitchcock himself couldn’t set the scene better. As if on cue, the birds start to assemble in midafternoon. Within half an hour, power lines overlooking Lakewood’s grass-bermed pocket park are strung solidly with pigeons, sparrows, even mockingbirds, waiting for the man they seem to know will come to feed them.

Minutes later, he does-a wiry walker, bearing bags of leftover biscuits and corn muffins saved for him by the nearby Dixie House restaurant. Like the birds, Lake-wood’s human regulars know the energetic 80-year-old they call the Birdman will appear twice daily, as he has for more than five years, on his bird-feeding rounds.

What most don’t know is that Marvin J. Kadlick’s rounds extend far beyond Lakewood and keep the twice-retired ex-postman busy for as many hours a day as most people work. Late mornings find Kadlick darting downtown for lunch at the Stewpot. where he bags salvaged bread and doughnuts to carry on foot to feathered clientele gathered at two other locations; then he reboards the bus to yet another feeding station off Gaston before proceeding-again on foot-to Lakewood.

A World War II veteran and SMU journalism graduate who spent 21 years delivering mail, Kadlick has walked his share of miles. So why go to so much trouble to feed birds many consider a nuisance? Kadlick turns shy at the question. “Oh, I don’t know-it just didn’t seem right for them not to be eating.” Then, thoughtfully: “I was reading an article the other day-it said if we didn’t have any birds, in 10 years there would be no life on earth.”

And what does he do when it rains? He chuckles. “I get wet. I was a postman, you know.”

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