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Movie Review: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Alternate Title: Born to be Wild

Story: This is a delightful documentary about the life of aging hipster, wanna-be rock 'n roller, Mark Bittner as he followed his bliss and accidentally became the caretaker, provider and historian for a flock of cherry-headed conures of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. Film maker Judy Irving lovingly films both the parrots and Mr. Bittner. There are times when I am not sure who I am more interested in, the birds or the man.

Ms. Irving manages to touch upon all of the issues most conservationists, birders, environmentalists and nay-sayers might raise. The answers are not dogma but are easy to digest .I was enthralled throughout the film and fell for every bird and each bird's tale.

If you like birds, interesting human characters or just want to see a film that touches the heart, check this one out.

Acting: Not applicable in a documentary but I did think the parrots were award winning.

Predilection: I like all animals.

Critters: Of course there were parrots and their nemesis, the red-tailed hawk (yes, the same species as our own NYC hero, Pale Male).

Food: Bird seed was featured as was some fine Italian fare.

Blatant Product Placement: A good plug goes out to the beautiful City of San Francisco.

Soundtrack: Sweet

Opening Titles: A panorama of the City and a flock of the flying wild parrots.

Visual Art: The birds were beautiful enough for me.

Theater Audience: A small flock of bird lovers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 3

Squirm Scale: Some of the injured birds can make one squirm.

Predictability Level: There were a few surprises.

Tissue Usage: I did shed a few tears.

Oscar Worthy: Perhaps a feather or two in the film maker's cap.

Soap Box:I could prattle on and on about the illegal pet trade and the harm that the introduction of species does to indigenous wildlife, but you probably have already heard that sermon from me before.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick or feathers to pluck.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen if you can. You can also read a wonderful book called Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots by Jim Paul that features these birds.You could also check out freeparrots.net if you want to read more about parrots. If you travel to Brooklyn, you can see a flock of wild Monk Parrots that have taken up residence around the Brooklyn College area.

Length: 90 minutes