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The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
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What's the story?
Telegraph Hill, overlooking the North Beach section of San Francisco, is a place where all kinds of creatures from all kinds of places can feel welcome. One of them is onetime musician Mark Bittner, a man with "no visible means of support" who is himself the support for some of the neighborhood's most colorful residents -- a flock of bright green wild parrots. THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL documents Bittner's one-of-a-kind mission.
Is it any good?
Through Bittner, even the least animal-friendly viewer will begin to fall in love with these brave and beautiful birds. His passion, dedication, and understanding are first impressive, then touching, then transcendent as he begins to talk about the death of a beloved parrot named Tupelo and tells a story from a zen master about the way we are all connected.
Bittner is in one respect a sort of St. Francis of Telegraph Hill, carting huge bags of birdseed home on the bus to feed to the parrots and taking the sick ones into his home to nurse them. But he is also their Jane Goodall, possibly the only person in history to study a group of parrots so intently over so long a period. Bittner doesn't have a job, at least not one that pays him anything. He lives rent-free in a crumbling cottage and gets free pastries from a local cafe. The birds are his full-time job. He studies them, reads up on them, consults the bird specialist at the local zoo, and develops his own treatments, even grooming one parrot when he no longer has a mate to do it for him. The movie concludes with a moment of breathtaking perfection with the sweetest connection of all.
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