June 18, 2005
i can clearly remember the first time i saw the wild parrots of san francisco flying through the air over my neighborhood. i couldn’t believe my eyes! or my ears, for that matter…their voices sound like a thousand tin cans rolling down a hill. where had these bright green strangers come from, and why were they here? san franciscans have a variety of explanations for these birds, but the one thing that we (mostly) agree on is that we love them.
a new book and film — “the wild parrots of telegraph hill” — goes a long way towards shedding light on this phenomenon. mark bittner, author and co-subject of the documentary, practically became a member of the flock while living on san francisco’s famous telegraph hill, and his intimate relationship with and study of these birds provides great insight into their story.
it’s a fascinating and a poignant one, because mark was homeless and down on his luck as the saga begins, and the flock provides him with — truly — a reason to live. through the book and film, he is now able to return the favor to these gorgeous avian immigrants. visit his website for a tremendous range of photographs, sound recordings, stories, and the history of these birds.