Among the many heartbreaking stories of loss that we heard in the wake of last year’s devastating blaze on DeKalb Avenue was the tale of the deaths of 500 homing pigeons who had lived on the roof of one of the buildings on the block. This week, we heard from local filmmaker Christian Carroll, who shared with us a sweet film about the birds and their owner, his neighbor Gil.

In the film, which is titled “Bird Freak” and is under five minutes long, Carroll weaves his archive of footage of the pigeons in flight (shot from his own roof over the past several years) with footage of a rooftop interview with Gil, a lifelong homing pigeon enthusiast who had kept his beloved pets on the same rooftop for 27 years and who is currently rebuilding his flock.

The result is a touching, intimate visual narrative which invites the viewer to consider many things: the unique and powerful bond that can exist between neighbors, resilience and optimism in the face of unstoppable and sometimes terrible change, and the beauty of a Brooklyn tradition we’re all lucky to have the chance to witness when it wheels above us in the evening sky.

Check it out below:

Bird Freak from Christian Carroll on Vimeo.

Featured image: Gil on the roof. Film Still courtesy of Christian Carroll.