The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

  • Street signs at the corner of Telegraph Hill & Greenwich surrounded red and green parrots.
  • A man with beard & glasses holds a cup of bird seed in one hand while feeding 3 parrots on a tree eat seed from his other.
  • Four red and green parrots on tree branches with North Beach, San Francisco Bay & Alcatraz Island visible in the background.
  • A close up of 2 red & green wild parrots facing one another.

20th Anniversary 4K Digital Restoration

An intelligent, beautifully made and sensitive exploration of the deep
relationships that can be formed between humans and other creatures. It’s a
story that leaves audiences with a glow….” — Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle

The true story of a Bohemian St. Francis and his remarkable relationship with a flock of wild red-and-green parrots. Mark Bittner, a dharma bum*, former street musician in San Francisco, falls in with the flock as he searches for meaning in his life, unaware that the wild parrots will bring him everything he needs.

Mark Bittner was born and raised in southwestern Washington State. His ambition as a teenager was to be a Great Novelist, but Mark was alarmed by the uniformly miserable fates of all the writers whom he loved. So, he decided to pursue a career in music instead. After hitchhiking through Europe in search of experience, he moved to San Francisco determined to sink or swim as a poet-singer-songwriter. He sank. Completely bereft, he turned to spiritual seeking and ended up on the street where he spent the next 14 years. Ultimately his search led him to the wild parrot flock, which, in turn, led him back to writing, and his first book: THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL. The hardcover edition, published by Random House, was a best seller – the paperback edition came out in early February 2005.

In the spring of 2023, the San Francisco Chronicle hosted a contest to pick the City’s “Official Animal.” In a hotly contested battle over four rounds of voting, the maverick Wild Parrots beat the corporate tourism Sea Lions of Pier 39 and 15 other species. The official City Ordinance took effect in August 2023.

*The film will be preceded by a short video from Mickaboo Bird Rescue.

Co-Presented by Film SF

1h 23m
Judy Irving
4K Digital Restored DCP
San Francisco!
First Showing
January 12, 2024
  • Closed Caption