Meet the 'bird king' of Queens

A battle of the birds is attracting hundreds of people to a park in Queens.

A battle of the birds is attracting hundreds of people to a park in Queens.

Every Sunday, male finches are pitted against one another, testing which bird can sing the loudest.

It's a ritual that hails from South America, where male finch birds are known for their fierce calls to attract female birds. 

Ray Harinarian of Brooklyn has been competing with the birds since he was 14, learning the hobby from his father in Guyana.

"It's like having a Kentucky Derby race. Some people have the best horses. We bring the best birds," Harinarian said.

Today, he is known as the "bird king." He owns close to 50 finches that consistently take home the title. 

The practice is not without controversy, a crackdown by the government, known as Operation G-Bird, reportedly found smugglers illegally bringing finches into the United States.

It's said that some of the suspects sedated the birds, hiding them in their jackets or hair as they went through the airport.

Harinarian said the smugglers represented a small portion of the participants and all of his birds are legal and he has certificates to prove it. His birds sell for as much as $10K.

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