The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

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The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Directed byJudy Irving
Produced byJudy Irving
StarringMark Bittner
Judy Irving (uncredited)
CinematographyJudy Irving
Edited byJudy Irving
Music byChris Michie
Distributed byShadow Distribution Inc.
Release date
  • October 9, 2003 (2003-10-09) (Austin Film Festival)
  • February 11, 2005 (2005-02-11) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is a 2003 documentary film directed, produced, and edited by Judy Irving. It chronicles the relationship between Mark Bittner, an unemployed musician who is living rent-free in a cabin in Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, California, and a flock of feral parrots that he feeds and interacts with—cherry-headed conures, mainly, but also two blue-crowned conures, one of which is named Connor. Bittner also wrote a book by the same name on the subject.[1]

In May 2007, the documentary aired on the PBS series Independent Lens.

Much of the documentary focuses on the individual parrots, and their relationships with one another.[2] Bittner notes that there is humor in the piece, which he believes makes it different from many other nature documentaries.[2]

Raising funding for the film was difficult at first, as Irving had to find individual donors.[1] The proceeds from a fundraiser, in which Bittner gave a presentation to a packed theater, allowed Irving to start shooting the film in earnest.[1]

The musical score was created by Chris Michie, a Bay area musician, formerly the guitarist for Van Morrison. It was his final project before he died from melanoma. The film, which he did not live to see released, is dedicated to him.


The film won the Genesis Award for Documentary Film and was nominated for the 2005 Satellite Award for Outstanding Documentary DVD.


  1. ^ a b c Bittner, Mark (2004). The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. New York: Three Rivers Press. pp. 241–244. ISBN 0-609-61055-4.
  2. ^ a b Fraser, Peter. "An interview with Mark Bittner, subject of 'The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill'". Archived from the original on 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2008-12-09.

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