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Pelican Dreams (2014)

Judy Irving ("The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill") follows a wayward California pelican from her "arrest" on the Golden Gate Bridge into care at a rehab facility and explores nesting ... See full summary »


Judy Irving


Judy Irving




Credited cast:
Mark Bittner Mark Bittner ... Self
Laura Corsiglia Laura Corsiglia ... Self
Jacky Douglas Jacky Douglas ... Self
Laurie Harvey Laurie Harvey ... Self
Monte Merrick Monte Merrick ... Himelf
Bill Nicholson Bill Nicholson ... Self
Dani Nicholson Dani Nicholson ... Self


Judy Irving ("The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill") follows a wayward California pelican from her "arrest" on the Golden Gate Bridge into care at a rehab facility and explores nesting grounds, Pacific coast migration and survival challenges. Written by Ken Eisen

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A bird of a different feather




G | See all certifications »

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Be sure to stay through the closing credits so you catch the joke at the end: 'so a pelican walks into a bar...' See more »

User Reviews

The Life of a California Brown Pelican can be very, very good or...
6 November 2014 | by steven-leibsonSee all my reviews

We saw this film a couple of weeks ago thanks to the San Jose Camera Cinema Club. The filmmaker, Judy Irving ("The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill") was in attendance. After the film screened, Irving said she'd long wanted to make a documentary about California Brown Pelicans because they'd fascinated her as a child and continued to do so into adulthood. What she did not have was a hook. She was diverted by the wild parrots that live around San Francisco's Telegraph Hill and made a very successful film about them. So now she was an avian documentary filmmaker.

Then an exhausted, dehydrated pelican to be named Gigi landed on San Francisco's Golden Gate (GG, get it?) bridge and the hook was set. "Pelican Dreams" revolves around Gigi's rehabilitation in the hands of some very caring people. It has many interludes to tell the rich story of the California Brown Pelican. For example, they almost went extinct because their nesting area on Santa Barbara Island off the California coast was poisoned by DDT runoff from a Los Angeles industrial firm. The DDT weakened the eggshells and of 1000 eggs one year, 999 were crushed under the weight of the parent. One entire year's crop of fledglings vanished.

Things have gotten much better for the pelicans since then. Brown pelicans from Baja California in Mexico have migrated north and repopulated the flocks in the Western US. However, wherever bird and man meet, it's often bad for bird. "Pelican Dreams" takes you through a lot of this in detail.

The movie is fascinating. If it has one fault, it's long for the subject matter, which reflects the filmmaker's fascination with the subject. However, the cinematography includes shots of pelicans' first flights and high-speed film clips of pelicans diving into the ocean to catch fish in their pouches. You likely won't see such wonders in another movie.

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Release Date:

7 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA

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Production Co:

Pelican Media See more »
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