Top positive review
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I know those parrots!
on January 28, 2004
When people from the Bay Area hoof it up Telegraph Hill in SF, they nearly always make the climb from the North Beach access points. It's steep as all get out, but it's not even slightly as steep as the Greenwich steps, which is the way people choose to descend from the famous hill. Rarely on those steps do I meet someone walking up - and when I do, I always notice what great calves they have.
Anyway, there are old cottages from probably the earthquake era situated along these steps, and in one of them lived the author of this delightful book, Mark Bittner. Once a down and out self-described "dharma bum," Bittner was given free lodging in return for caretaking one of the mansions higher on the hillside. Jobless and bored, he began spending his days making friends with the small flock of wild parrots who have made that side of Telegraph Hill their home. In the process, he found meaning in his own life for probably the first time. Now a celebrity, Bittner says "from being a homeless nobody, now I have a home, a girlfriend, a book, and a movie...it's hilarious!" He's become a SF personality and an expert on his parrots, cherry-headed and blue-crowned conures-escapees from a long-ago South American shipment.
This book is as delightful as Bittner himself, more informative than anything else on parrots that I've ever read, and more readable than some novels. It's a sure winner.