clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Calvin Kattar explains how he became the ‘Bird Whisperer’ in viral video

Calvin Kattar and his bird friend, “Robin”
@calvinkattar, Instagram

It’s impossible to tell what kind of clip will go viral when it comes to the MMA community.

Typically, it’s a ridiculously violent knockout. Or it could be an elaborate post-fight celebration, or perhaps a wicked verbal exchange between two popular fighters.

Then again, sometimes it’s just a man and his bird.

Earlier this week, UFC featherweight Calvin Kattar gained a measure of internet fame when he shared an Instagram story detailing his friendship with a feathery creature he would later dub “Robin” (Kattar couldn’t identify the bird’s type or gender). Somehow, Kattar formed an instant bond with Robin and he made sure enough to document the whole experience.

As he explained to MMA Fighting, it all began when he stopped off at a sandwich shop on his way to the gym, where he was supposed to be helping fellow Massachusetts native Rob Font prepare for his fight at UFC 226 on July 7.

“Before I knew it, right as I was finishing my sandwich, this bird rolled up on me and posted up next to me as you saw in the videos and I was just like, ‘Wow,’” said Kattar. “I got up to go to my car and it followed me, started running, like a bunch of small steps following me and I was like, this is kind of crazy. I walked backwards, it followed me all around, I sat back down, it went on my arm, and then all of a sudden I started going live on the video.”

Kattar’s plan was to finish his meal and head to practice, but the bird would not leave him alone. It took perch on the hood of his car as he went to leave and it was then that Kattar decided to test just how persistent Robin would be.

“I put my arm out in front of it, I’m like, alright, if the bird hops on my arm, I’ll take it with me; if it doesn’t, I’m outta here. I put my hand out, the bird jumps on my arm, I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Kattar. “I brought it in my car and I ended up going back to my house and then I realized it looked like it was chirping and opening its mouth like it was hungry.

“So I went out back to the yard and started digging up worms for it and then I realized, what the hell am I doing right now digging up worms? I’m just going to go buy it some worms.”

Now responsible for taking care of Robin, Kattar informed Font and his team that he would not be able to make the early session. They understood, but little did anyone know how much of his time this new project would take up.

“I couldn’t leave it,” said Kattar. “I felt like it needed me to feed it. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m sorry, I can’t make it to the gym.’ At this point I’m 20-30 minutes late to the gym and I’m gonna miss this workout, I’ll meet up with them later in the next session. And before I knew it, I missed the next session, because after I ended up going to pick out some worms, I ended up going back to the store because it wasn’t leaving me and it was eating all the food. I gotta get this thing a cage or something, some kind of home, I didn’t know what to do.

“I spent like 40-50 dollars on a cage — and by the way, this all with the bird on my shoulder walking into the store — and these people are looking at me like I’m crazy, I’ve got a wild bird on my shoulder. They think it’s like a pet.”

Kattar wound up buying a cage, a bird bath, and a toy — “a whole bunch of s**t” as he put it — having no clue as to what goes into proper bird care. All he knew was that Robin was hungry and determined to stick by Kattar’s side.

Whatever Kattar did, it worked, as Robin appeared to be revitalized later in the afternoon and the two even found time to sit down for a nice family meal.

Calvin Kattar at dinner with his special guest
@calvinkattar, Instagram

“I was frigging dying,” said Kattar. “That was hysterical when we did that. I’m sitting there, he’s eating the worms with us, we’re having dinner together, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Alas, the story has a somewhat somber ending. Kattar, not wanting to mess with nature, put Robin in the cage but he left it out on his porch overnight with the door open should the bird want to leave. When Kattar awoke the next morning, he was stunned to see that Robin had chosen to stay, but when he checked again an hour later, his friend had flown off.

Kattar returned to the sandwich shop the next day to see if the bird might turn up, but Robin didn’t show. Still, he’s leaving the cage open on his porch, should Robin decide to visit sometime. Based on the reaction from social media, he’s not the only one hoping for a reunion.

“I must have got a couple hundred followers, a couple hundred direct messages, I couldn’t even keep up with the people asking about the bird,” said Kattar. “The next day, I put up a workout video and everyone was like, ‘Bro. Less gym. More bird.’”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting