February maybe the dreariest month, what with it being the dying days of winter and there being a dearth of sports on TV, but cheer up, San Franciscans, the Board of Supervisors has come to the rescue! A resolution passed this week proclaims Feb. 9th as "Wild Parrot Day" in honor of those colorful and loudly squawking birds that have made a home out of Telegraph Hill. "The wild parrots' great-hearted lunacy makes us laugh," reads the proclamation, although we like what one Telegraph Hill resident said about the birds: "I think, most profoundly, they're a daily reminder that San Francisco is still an oasis for exotics." This is actually the second "Wild Parrot Day" to occur, as there was a previous one in 1999 that SFist fondly remembers as a day when everyone dressed up in bright, beautiful colors and bar-hopped tiki bars.
The parrots came to San Francisco sometime in the 90’s although nobody is quite sure how. Speculation is that they were being shipped from somewhere in South America and escaped, only to make their home in the trees by Coit Tower (kind of like that movie Outbreak except with a parrot instead of a monkey and no nasty Ebola outbreak). Then resident Mark Bittner sort of adopted them, giving them names and food and places to hang out in and they became part of the neighborhood. Bittner left in 1999 (the reason for the previous "Wild Parrot Day") but the birds have remained, even making little parrot babies.
The reason for this year’s proclamation is the unveiling of a movie about the birds, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, which will debut at the Embarcadero Theater that night. Mark Bittner has also just published a book he wrote about his experiences about being the birds’ caretaker.