Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Book Review: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill by Mark Bittner

You might not know this about me if you don't know me, but I'm into birds. We just lost a cockatiel and I've been working on getting a new one. He arrived last Saturday, and as I write this, is cooing contentedly on my shoulder. So a friend bought me this book for Valentines Day. I live in the San Francisco bay area, and I'd never even heard of this book!

I am also notorious for not doing non-fiction very well, so I was dubious. But I loved this book!! Apparently there is a flock of wild parrots (conures, to be exact) who live in San Francisco and frequent Telegraph Hill. I had recently heard of them because I was working with Mickaboo to get a new cockatiel. They do bird rescue here, and occasionally rescue these wild parrots when they get hurt or diseased. I even met one when I had to go to a bird class with Mickaboo!

Anyway, the author Mark Bittner was living on Telegraph Hill as a caretaker and started feeding and befriending these wild parrots. By the time he was done with the book, there were 70-some parrots. He named them and got to know them individually, at times bringing them in the house when they got hurt or sick. It's really amazing -- the subtitle "a love story...with wings" is really apt. Even if you don't like non-fiction, you'll like this one. (There's also a documentary of the same name, if you prefer your non-fiction onscreen!)

I can't wait to take a trip into San Francisco, visiting the places in this book to look for the parrots!


trish said...

Ooohhh...I live in Santa Rosa. Where abouts do you live?

jay are said...

I remember hearing about this book on the radio. They had the guy on NPR or something. Anyway, it sounds good. And interestingly, there's a tree on the main street near where I live that is full of parrots for about three weeks every year. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen and I've never found out what the story is on them. Maybe I should start feeding and befriending them??

Lisa said...

I live in Livermore! We should do a parrot excursion!

Jay Are: Maybe you should read the book first so you'll know what you're in for!! :)

Jeane said...

I lived in San Francisco for several years and saw these parrots all the time. They made lots of loud almost squeaking noise as they flew from tree to tree. I didn't see the documentary until after I'd moved away from the area. It's really good. I'd like to read the book now, too.

charley said...

I'm getting into some birding myself - but no parrots here on Cape Cod - and this book sounds interesting. I like the cover. I saw these parrots while I was visiting San Francisco last year and thought I was imagining things.