March 15, 2011

Years before “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” I produced and directed another feature documentary (with Chris Beaver and Ruth Landy) entitled “Dark Circle,” about the nuclear industry. The film explains the links between nuclear weapons and power, and includes basic information about how nuclear plants work, how a core meltdown happens, and how likely that scenario is for California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. Diablo, like Fukushima in Japan, is an aging nuclear plant on an active earthquake fault, and its operator, PG&E, has applied for a 20-year license extension. If you haven’t seen “Dark Circle,” now might be the time. Click here.

“Pardito,” WildCare’s new resident brown pelican, is learning how to jump up, down, turn around, and follow Mary Pounder, Education Specialist, but when we filmed recently, Pardito seemed to have taught himself to bite Mary’s leg every time she said “turn”! It’s very funny, and will be a good sequence in “Pelican Dreams.” We’ll film another training session soon, and will follow Pardito to his debut appearance at an elementary school. Like Morro, he has an injured wing that won’t heal. Like Gigi, he spent some time at IBRRC’s pelican aviary, but could never fly high enough or strong enough to convince his caretakers that he could dive, catch fish, and function successfully as a wild pelican. Pardito is a mischievous young bird, “like a teenager,” says Mary, and will do well in schools, she hopes.


I visited my mom in Florida in January, and filmed at one of the oldest seabird sanctuaries in the country: Suncoast, on the Gulf Coast near St. Petersburg. Disabled adult pelicans nevertheless breed, nest, and raise young at the sanctuary, and when the chicks are old enough to fly, the mesh roof is removed from the enclosure and they fly to the beach nearby, coming back if they get scared or hungry, and eventually joining the wild flocks. I was thrilled to be able to get closeups of 2-and-3-week old babies at Suncoast.

Pelican Chick at Suncoast in Florida


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