The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
In Judy Irving’s bighearted, warm-blooded self-described “nonfiction feature,” about 44 cherry-headed conures and one blue-crown cousin roost, fly, eat, become ill, mate and occasionally are fed upon by hawks on a San Francisco hillside just below the landmark Coit Tower. Irving planned to shoot a documentary short on Mark Bittner, a transplanted Seattle-area songwriter-musician who hand-fed sunflower seeds to the birds on the balcony of his cottage daily. But Bittner’s profile soon sprung wings of its own and gradually transformed into a story that is just as much about finding a pure purpose in life as it is about nature and our relationship to it. The film includes a quote from UC Davis “wilderness thought” professor Gary Snyder: “If you want to find nature, start right where you are.” Irving and Bittner have done just that. Now it is our turn.