They call him the Birdman of Newcastle.
Sitting on Northumberland Street, covered in a flock of pigeons, Edward Hood often attracts intruiged looks from passers-by.
Mr Hood, who was born near to Scotswood Road, sits on a bench between Greggs and Fenwicks and feeds his feathered friends once a day.
"Urban pigeons," he explains, "normally live on a diet of bread, which only provides a small percentage of their feed.
"Since January I have been bringing them pigeon feed - about half a kilo can feed the whole flock."
Urban or feral pigeons - correctly called rock doves - roost and breed on cliffs and rock faces in the wild.
Mr Hood said the birds, which are often dismissed as dirty and destructive "flying rats", are actually benefitial for the environment.
"They eat the food dropped by humans on the streets. They are getting to it before the rats do. The pigeons stop the rats," he said.
"People say they are vermin. These people know very little about pigeons and have obviously never kept them.
"If a pigeon is sick it will leave the flock. The pigeons you see on the street, they are fit, they are healthy."
Mr Hood also fed pigeons on the beach when he lived in the South of France.
A former engineer, taxi driver, coach driver and bus driver, the retired 76-year-old now spends his time studying history.
He gained a BA Honours studying modules including English, French and History at Northumbria University at the age of 65.
At his Gosforth home Mr Hood keeps a dog and cat, and says he loves pigeons as much as he loves his pets.
"They know what life is about. They have cut out all the frills and they go for what they need."
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