The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005)



Critic Consensus: Interesting and appealing as both a study of man and nature.

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill Photos

Movie Info

Telegraph Hill is a neighborhood in one of the hillier sections of San Francisco that over the years has become home to a large flock of wild parrots. While no one is certain how they got there, the birds were for the most part left to their own devices until they were discovered by Mark Bittner. A street musician and self-described "Dharma bum," Bittner had no practical background in ornithology when he first encountered the parrots, but it wasn't long before he developed a close bond with them and took it upon himself to feed and care for the birds, and even gave many of them names. Bittner's friendship with the parrots became a growing experience that taught the guitarist as much about himself as it did about the birds, and with the passage of time, his work earned him the respect of his community as well as a home. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is a documentary which recounts the story of Bittner and his birds, as well as an unexpected twist of fate which added a poignant note to their tale.

Watch it now


Ivan Stormgart
as Urban Legend
Maggie McCall
as Urban Legend
Shawn Hall
as Mark's Neighbour
Gary Scott Thompson
as Urban Legend
Richard Schulke
as Chairman, Animal Control and Welfare Commission Hearing, Chairman Animal Control and Welfare Commission Hearing
Jamie Yorck
as Urban Legend
Jann Eyrich
as Mark's Neighbour
John Aiken
as Lorikeet Aviary Curator of Birds
Tom Eby
as Mark's "Landlord"
Denise St. Onge
as Mark's "Landlord"
View All

Critic Reviews for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (31)

The beautiful shots of San Francisco's lush Telegraph Hill are captivating by themselves, but the film's greatest achievement is its humanity.

December 9, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A bright window into the wild kingdom just outside our door that most of us barely notice, if at all.

July 15, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A cornball charmer of a film with some beautiful birds and homespun wisdom.

July 15, 2005 | Rating: 3/4

Charming, intelligent entertainment that should attract the same family audiences that flocked to Winged Migration in 2001.

May 6, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

An absolute delight and nothing like the wimpy nature film its title suggests. It's a soaring -- figuratively and literally -- documentary with a surprising emotional power.

May 5, 2005 | Rating: B+

A loving, dopey documentary about the bird man of a place with a view of Alcatraz.

May 5, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

I think we all know someone like this. A guy who just plants himself somewhere to become part of the neighbourhood, just hanging out an appreciating. He discovers the parrots of Telegraph Hill who, like him, are strangers to the City and an interesting relationship is created. Providing you with information on the final interesting relationship would be too much of give away.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


A beautiful documentary about a truly unique subject. However, I question the motivation, the "honesty" behind closing with the highly speculative killing of Connor by the hawk. As in all life writing, I also question the "truth," in this case, of "miraculously" returning to the scene to capture Connor on film on his last day of life. Kind of reminds me of Jack Nicholson lauding the rule of coincidence in our lives in The Passenger.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

A look at the flock of wild parrots that live in a neighborhood of San Fransisco and the remarkable individual (Mark Bittner) that studied and cared for them over a period of years. Mark was able to interact with the birds on a personal level, calling them by name, to nurse them through injuries and disease, and yet allowed them to remain free. He has also written a book about his experiences. This was fascinating. The extras include well over an hour of additional footage and information about the the birds and their lives since the footage that was used in the main body of the film. This film reached me on a deeper level than I exected. I found myself invested in the lives of these magnificent creatures and the man whose heart was tuned to them and was quite moved by this film.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features