Best Wildlife Spot - 2005
The Greenwich Steps, Greenwich above Montgomery
Thanks to the unexpected success of Mark Bittner's lovely memoir The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill and Judy Irving's captivating, nationally distributed documentary of the same name, tourists will soon be flocking to North Beach to join stargazing locals. The lure, of course, is the extended family of colorful conures that hangs out on the power lines and in the trees on the hill's east side. The winged celebrities are blessedly indifferent to their 15 minutes of fame, cognizant only that their turf is inaccessible by car, bus, or other motorized contraption. The only way up there -- for those not born with wings -- is by foot. The hike up the Greenwich Steps, though, is a treat in itself, a world away from the trash, traffic, and noise that are the downside of city life. No doubt that's what attracted the parrots, who just turned down a lucrative offer from the Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association to replace those smelly seals.