Birds Flock to the Elks Theater

The film titled The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill played at the Elk’s Theatre Oct. 5th for a one night only showing. Over 200 companion bird lovers and nearly as many live birds showed up for this event. This documentary film produced and directed by Judy Irving is a true story of a Bohemian “St. Francis” and his remarkable relationship with a flock of wild Cherry-headed Conures in the Telegraph Hill area of San Francisco. The film received a rave review and “Two Thumbs Up” from Ebert & Roper. Mark Bittner’s memoir (same title as film) is now also on the New York Times best seller list.

Before the film began, the audience was treated to a rare look at many exotic birds from Macaw’s and Cockatoos to Parakeets and Red Headed Conures. Adults and children of all ages (93 to 2) had a chance to interact with the birds. Members of the Black Hills Companion Bird Club were present to discuss and answer many questions regarding the many individual birds.

Entering the main theater was like a step into a Rain Forrest. The Elk’s Theatre manager, Curt Small and his staff, decorated the stage and balcony with a rain forest theme including the typical sights and sounds showing on the screen prior to the show. It turned out to be a real event.

The interesting and entertaining film documented the real life cycles of a flock of Cherry-headed Conures and their interaction with a genuine bird lover who cared for the sick; made sure they had food and water; and became their advocate over a long period of time. It had all the elements of a great movie including suspense, romance, anticipation and realism. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill was truly an experience and an education in survival of a unique flock of Cherry-head Conures living and multiplying in the hills of San Francisco.

Included in the large selection of birds on display in the theatre lobby were two Cherry-head Conures just like the ones in the movie. Upon leaving the theater the audience had a final opportunity to interact a final time with the many varieties of birds with some biding them “Bye, bye.”

A portion of the evening’s proceeds went to help the education program of the Black Hills Companion Bird Club which sponsored the event.

Patrick & Barbara Paur
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