Part cartoon and part documentary, this film offers a humorous look at birds and the ways people perceive them.



(story), (story)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Soprano (voice)
Narrator (voice)
John Emerson ...
Bird Fancier
Jim Swain ...
Bird Fancier
Ann Lord ...
Bird Fancier
Hank Schloss ...
Bird Fancier
Walter Perkins ...
Bird Fancier
Rolf Darbo ...
Bird Fancier


A street smart red bird with a heavy New York accent serves as the narrator, who tries to explains why it's tough to be a bird. This edutaining animated short with documentary segments explains the common evolutionary origin of birds, how various cultures have perceived the birds throughout history, how some species have become extinct or endangered due to human activity, how people like birdwatchers or townsfolk of Hinckley, Ohio, where the annual Buzzard Day is celebrated, enjoy the birds in a friendly manner and what a monty pythonesque cutout animation collage with birds looks like.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's tough to be a bird!


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 December 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

C'est pas drôle d'être un oiseau  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


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Did You Know?


It was the last animated short film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios to win an Academy Award, until Paperman (2012). See more »


Narrator: [flying a plane] Although we want to live a life serene and keep our feathers and our noses clean, with human population on the scene, man!
[gunshots destroy the plane as he says:]
Narrator: It is so tough... to be... a... bird!
See more »


Referenced in Ryan (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

OMG- it really existed!!
30 October 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

I'm just glad to know that this thing really existed, and I wasn't just imagining things at the age of seven!! I'd love for this to go to home video; it's an imaginative and totally skewered animated documentary which seems to borrow a lot of its style from the animated MONTY PYTHON. The bird who narrates is continually bandaged and casted, and even the 60's NBC peacock arrives in a 2-second cameo to sneeze his feathers completely off!!

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