Home / Movie Review: The WIld Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Movie Review: The WIld Parrots of Telegraph Hill

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Every once in awhile everyone needs a lighthearted film to just sit back and enjoy without over analyzing or nit picking. This turned out to be that film. A breezy look at a flock of wild parrots that live in San Francisco.

At it’s heart this is a documentary, but the tone is more observational. It doesn’t really delve into the origins of how they ended up where they are, save for a few urban legends. What we get is a profile of the man, Mark Bittner, who decided that he wanted to get to know the birds. We see how he has come to understand the intraflock dynamic. It even gets down to the names he has given them, and a lot of behaviors which make each of them unique.

The majority of the film is Bittner talking about the birds, showing how each has his or her own personality and how the hierarchy of the flock operates. It was fascinating to watch him interact with these wild birds, and how he threw himself into learning about these birds. He also never thought of himself as an eccentric, despite stringy long hair, a scraggly beard, an unusual fascination with a flock of parrots, and no visible signs of income. But despite all of that he undertook the study of these birds when no one else would, and helped gain insight to how parrots live and can adapt to new surroundings.

The parrot footage was great, watching them fly through the city, watching them close up interacting with each other, being fed by Bittner, and how they evade their predators. This movie has it all, plenty of comedy, drama, romance, and the whole family can watch it and be entertained.

Bottomline. A fun, witty, breezy movie that may not be as majestic as Winged Migration, but it is every bit as fascinating. And not only for the birds, but this unique enigma known as Mark Bittner who dedicated over 5 years to these birds.


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