OMG! This deaf man can talk to birds

Deaf since childhood, Razali Bin Mohamad Habidin has developed a close bond with birds at Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park. People now call him the “bird whisperer”.

Razali lost 80 percent of his hearing when he fell sick as a baby. He has been working at the park for over two decades now and has risen to the position of deputy head avian keeper.

He communicates with the birds through gestures, grunts, and body languages. He claims to recognise the birds by their behaviours and personalities.

“They are all my friends,” he communicated through a mix of gestures and Malay.

Other staff at the park calls him the  “the bird whisperer” — after Hollywood film “The Horse Whisperer”.”He has a way of communicating with the birds that very few of us can,” said assistant curator Angelin Lim. “Just by a look, he knows whether or not the bird is well.”

Communication with his colleagues can be more challenging than with the birds.

Razali leads about a dozen staff and gives them instructions by using various complex hand gestures.His way with the creatures at the park, which is home to more than 5,000 birds from parrots to hornbills, was on display as he brought a snack of palm fruits into an enclosure filled with parrots.

The hyacinth macaws, the world’s largest parrots, stopped squawking and watched him curiously before following him.

One of the giant birds perched on his shoulder, playfully rubbed his finger with its beak — a sign of trust and affection — and ate out of his hand.

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