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Miki

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill:

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Hi, everybody:

Just last night, I went to a nearby local movie theatre and saw the new film "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill". This is a documentary about a guy who'd originally wanted to be a big rock star, and, for some reason, along the line, had a change of heart, moving down to San Francisco from Seattle and settling into a somewhat rundown cottage on Telegraph Hill. The film also featured a real, live flock of wild Cherry Headed conures, most of who'd flown up from South America, and afew of who'd escaped from pet stores, or from peoples' homes. The star of the film, Mark Bittner, managed to form a camaderic relationship with the wild conures, even taking in a couple of injured ones in sort of as pets, and also observing the various breeding, nesting, feeding, and flock behaviours of conures in the wild. (A conure is a type of parrot, by the way) Some of the behaviours observed were the fact that the wild conures tended to stick close to their own species and be somewhat suspicious of those different from themselves, fight over food and turf, etc, and always be on the lookout for predators such as hawks, etc. One particular behaviour that's noticeable in birds is the fact that when birds fall ill or are injured, they often mask it for as long as they can--however when they're finally too ill or injured to do so, they're not only more vulnerable to falling prey to hawks and other predators, but they often come under attack from members of their own flock, when their defenses are way down like that. Also, what he learned later, but, as an owner of an exotic bird myself, was already aware of, is that baby cherry headed conures are often totally green at first, and, they develop red heads after afew months, when they're a little more mature. (The guy had mistaken them for white-eyed conures at first, but learned that they were baby cherry heads). When the cottage that Mark Bittner was living in was slated for a complete renovation, he moved in with some friends living across the Bay, and brought his pet birds to a special oasis, where they were taken care of by the owner. Later, he paired up with a woman from S. F. who was also very interested in exotic wild birds. When the

wild conures got to S. F., they survived on whatever they could.

As an owner of a domestically-bred Noble Macaw, I thought that this short, sweet, funny and sad documentary was worth seeing.

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