The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
I find the whole concept of “birds as pets” disgusting. Ditto feeding birds out of your hand. Feed the birds? Tuppance, schmuppance.

This dislike of close-up birds stems from my high school job at Lititz’s General Sutter Inn. I name names only because the Inn now has new owners, so everything I’m about to relay is no longer true. Back when I was bussing tables, the Inn’s owners had an obsession with birds. The coffee shop was decked out in ugly bird wallpaper, and the hotel lobby was filled with cages of dirty, squawking parakeets and other nastiness. The bird-infested lobby was adjacent to the fine dining room, increasing the gross factor.

Drunky V, one of the owners, was a dirty old man who often drank too much during the dinner shift. On the worst nights, he’d get tipsy, put one of the parakeets on his shoulder, and walk the halls between the kitchen and the bus station, trying to charm the female staff and guests. These little strolls inevitably ended with the poor bird relieving itself on the back of Drunky V’s shirt. Charming, indeed.

Where was this going? Ah, a movie review. I was skeptical about The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, a film about Mark Bittner’s experiences with a flock of wild parrots in San Francisco, and only went because the ticket was free. But you know what? This movie was good. The parrots have individual personalities, quirks, and fears. They fall in love and break up. Some are bullies, and some are protectors. Is Bittner just some crazy guy anthropomorphizing a flock of birds? Maybe, but it’s best to watch Wild Parrots with an open mind and enjoy the interaction between the birds and their friend, a formerly homeless dharma bum.  Mark Bittner has also written a memoir.

11 responses to “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”

  1. Scott

    3 posts in as many days?! You’re a blogging machine!

  2. Type E

    It’s good to see parrot actors are finally being cast in roles besides pirate sidekicks.

  3. howard

    I’ve heard excellent things about this film, and I was planning on taking my girl to see it this weekend hopefully. Thanks for the review.

  4. Philly Future

    Good to see the avian actors finally getting noticed

    Becky shares her impressions of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, which I’m looking forward to catching this weekend — you know, while everyone else is out watching that other movie.

  5. very metal

    You are developing weird powers to influence bird behavior here in Texas — please stop! Or at least try to keep it confined to Houston.

  6. Josh

    We had a bird at my house when I was in high school. She used to whistle “London Bridges Falling Down” over and over and over again. One time we gave her some pot and she finally shut up.

  7. Darth Google

    I friggin’ love birds.


    JULY 15, 1956 – MAY 18TH 1980

  8. Jay V (at work)

    I just wanted to announce that Mr. V is not at all related to me.

  9. acm

    He doesn’t have to be anthropomorphizing — the parrot family of birds have a lot of personality. Even tiny parakeets can be playful, testy, jealous, affectionate — and larger birds are much more social critters than that. Glad that some of it came across on-screen…

  10. colleen

    Alfred Hitchcock’s movie still scares me. I posted about birds today.?! I’m enjoying your writing.

  11. Marian

    Did you say you did time in Lititz PA?

    Marian’s Blog