The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

CBC photo

CBC photo

In 2003, the documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill  appeared in theaters.  It told the story of San Francisco activist/ musician/ writer/ eccentric/ (oh all right he’s a homeless man are you happy now?) Mark Bittner and a flock of cherry headed conures.  Descended from birds brought to San Francisco as pets, these birds were endangered when Bittner began caring for them.  Visually spectacular, the documentary brings out the individual personalities and complex relationships among the birds.  Along the way, it brings out a good deal of information about the relationship between the city of San Francisco and its natural environment.  Below is a clip from it PBS posted on youtube. 

Click here to see my favorite parrot, Mingus, dancing as Bittner plays the guitar.

[top photo]

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  1. cymast

     /  October 16, 2008

    What an emotional story!

    As a human who was uniquely involved with the wild parrots for years, Bittner is more qualified to judge what is best for the safety of the flock than any ornithologist with a status degree.

  2. believer1

     /  October 18, 2008

    Yes, I LOVE this movie. There so many people I want to have a copy. It made me feel good about the planet, with people like Bittner and hopfully myself all is not lost.

  3. acilius

     /  October 19, 2008

    One thing I love about the movie is its gentleness. It’s gentle on many levels. The people in it are all basically nice, the birds care about each other, and the visuals are so rich in color and depth that it soothes the viewers’ eyes to watch it. The phrase that comes to mind is “labor of love.” In quite a few senses- Bittner and the film’s director, Judy Irving, wound up marrying each other.

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