the defacto caretaker of The
Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. With no prior experience or training
as an ornithologist, Bittner became an expert on the lively band of Cherry-headed
Conures after observing and participating in the culture of the flock continuously
for six years. His journals are currently being adapted for a book scheduled
for 2003. A documentary film by Judy Irving is also in development. Bittner
was once asked by a reporter how he could tell who's who among the flock.
The answer: by their faces. The reporter was skeptical, but when Bittner
recently returned to Telegraph Hill after an absence of several months,
he says he proved his theory, "As soon as I looked at them I knew, 'There's
Sophie. That's Griffin...' They were happy to see me."