You might not have heard of him, but Charlie Bird is arguably Ireland’s most famous investigative reporter. And now, thanks to this viral You Tube video sensation, Charlie Bird has gone global.
But who knew his most watched “15 minutes” would find him laughing hysterically on his back -– pinned down by a couple of nature’s quirkiest creatures: a pair of baby elephant seal pups. As Chief News Correspondent with RTÉ News, Bird has reported on both Gulf Wars, covered the history-making earthquake in Haiti, and the Dublin riots of 2006, from which he suffered a fractured cheekbone.
So what’s he famous for now? Doing exactly what a good reporter does: allowing a story to unfold – just as it should – organically, unprovoked, and with authenticity. In the clip above, (as part of a documentary series) the fearless Irish journalist befriends the seal pups in the chilling temperatures of Antarctica. Bird is tracing the route of explorer Tom Crean’s final expedition alongside Ernest Shackleton in 1914. History considers this the “Heroic Age of Polar Exploration,” but it will never compete with this truly unexpected, charming encounter between man and beast.
Artists always take the leap.
You may have noticed that this intrepid reporter-photographer deliberately plops himself down on the ground right smack in the middle of a pod of these crazy clumsy critters. No one told him he had to. In fact there’s a good chance he was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. But the beauty here is that he was willing to take the risk — to step way outside his comfort zone – and give it a go. It’s something I like to teach in my corporate workshops: willingness. Artists do this instinctively, and there’s usually a prize at the end. Here, Charlie put himself in a position for a miracle to happen – and it happened right on top of his own laughing belly. And bless his kooky soul; he rode the moment – as the pups rode him.