Animation Adventures

Discovering the Magic of It’s Tough to Be a Bird: A Timeless Classic

Fascinating insight into the classic movie “It’s Tough to Be a Bird”

If you are a fan of classic animations, then it is highly likely that you have come across “It’s Tough to Be a Bird.” Directed by Ward Kimball, the movie is an enchanting portrayal of the life of birds and how they go about their daily tasks. An animated short film, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” was produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1969 and was later awarded an Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Cartoon.

Its narrative is an excellent mix of humor and educational content, making it enjoyable and informative regardless of age.


The movie starts with an introduction to different bird species, where they live, and the unique features that enable them to survive in their respective habitats. One of the central themes of the movie is showing how birds interact with humans and how humans can learn from birds.

It starts with a lighthearted portrayal of the art and science of building a nest. The movie then takes us through the various tasks birds have, highlighting how resourceful and resilient they are.

One notable feature of the movie is how informative and educational it is. Kimball incorporates scientific information about avian anatomy, physiology, and behavior, as birds are seen to engage in everything from migration to foraging.

For instance, we see a pelican fishing, an owl stalking its prey, and storks tending to their nest, as well as learning about bird mating practices and socialization. Throughout the movie, the importance of preserving birds’ habitats is emphasized.

We are shown how human activities, such as encroaching on bird nesting grounds and pollution, negatively impact the birds’ ability to exist. The film implores the audience to embrace conservation methods to prevent birds from going extinct.

As is the case with all Disney films, humor is a crucial element of “It’s Tough to Be a Bird.” The playful banter between the birds is entertaining, and the narration is witty, making the film enjoyable for audiences of all ages. One scene that stands out is the depiction of a seagull awkwardly attempting to catch a crab, only to have the crab pinch its beak! It is such light-hearted touches that make this movie a joy to watch.

In conclusion, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” is a classic animation movie that has weathered time. It excellently captures the beauty and wonder that is the bird world.

Kimball expertly blends science and entertainment, enabling viewers to learn while being entertained. Humorous and engaging, the movie strikes a chord with the audience, making it a timeless piece of animation worth watching.

“It’s Tough to Be a Bird” is a unique and educational animated short film that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Its plot centers around the life of birds, their habitats, and how humans interact with them.

The film is split into different sections that cover various aspects of a bird’s life. The central theme that binds the different segments together is the message of preserving bird habitats and the need for humans to learn from these magnificent creatures.

One of the exciting aspects of this movie is how it incorporates scientific information about the birds’ anatomy, physiology, and behavior. We are shown how birds are uniquely adapted to their habitats to optimize their chances of survival.

For instance, we learn about the swallows’ ability to catch flying insects on the fly and how seagulls use their keen eyesight to detect fish in the water below. The film presents this science in a way that is easily understandable, making it perfect for viewers of all ages.

Another plot point that stands out is the portrayal of birds’ ability to communicate with each other. The film highlights the importance of bird sounds in conveying different messages, such as signaling danger, locating food, or attracting a mate.

Birds use a variety of calls, songs, and displays to communicate with each other, and the movie does an excellent job of showcasing the different sounds and meanings of each. One of the most crucial plots in the movie is the depiction of how humans interact with birds.

“It’s Tough to Be a Bird” shows how human activities such as logging, pollution, and development have negatively impacted bird habitats. We are shown how nesting grounds are cleared to make way for human expansion, how air pollution affects bird life, and how oil spills and plastic waste pose grave dangers to birds.

The movie highlights how these activities threaten the very existence of the avian species and how humans need to take active measures to protect their habitats. The movie also highlights the need for humans to learn from birds and apply their skills and strengths to our lives.

For example, we see how pelicans work together to catch fish, how storks take care of their young, and how hummingbirds use their high metabolism to sustain speedy and complex movements. The film implores the audience to take cues from birds and emulate their resourcefulness and adaptability.

By doing so, we can improve our lives and become better stewards of the planet. The movie’s plot is further enhanced by the engaging way it is presented.

It uses humor, playful banter, and witty narration to keep audiences entertained and engaged. The different bird characters are brought to life with distinct personalities that viewers can relate to.

For instance, we see how a pelican befriends a school of fish, an owl gets spooked by a bat, and a seagull is shown attempting to catch a crab. These side stories help to keep the audience engaged while also driving home the central message of the film.

In conclusion, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” offers a unique and informative look at the world of birds. Through its excellent plot, the movie provides insight into how birds live, what makes them unique, and how to protect them.

The film also implores humans to learn from these magnificent creatures to improve our own lives. If you have not watched it yet, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” is an absolute must-see for anyone who enjoys animation, nature, and conservation.

“It’s Tough to Be a Bird” is a classic animated film that has stood the test of time. The movie is a product of Walt Disney Productions and was directed by legendary animator Ward Kimball.

The film’s production process was a challenging one, requiring the collaboration of several teams to bring the story to life. One of the critical aspects of the movie’s production was the creation of the bird characters.

The movie’s animators had to create several different bird species and make them look and act authentic. The animators used various reference materials, including wildlife footage, photographs, and even live birds, to capture the nuances of the different bird characters.

The attention to detail is evident in the way the birds move, interact with each other, and with the environment around them. Another significant aspect of the film’s production was the use of technology.

The movie was produced during the late 1960s, which was a time when animation technology was undergoing significant changes. The production team used a combination of traditional cel animation and the newly developed xerography technology.

Xerography made it possible to print the character outline drawings onto cels and eliminate the need for tracing. This new method allowed the movie to be produced quicker, and in turn, reduced production costs.

The movie’s production team also had to create the various backgrounds that would serve as the backdrop for the different sequences in the movie. The backgrounds had to be detailed and consistent with the different locations depicted in the film.

These included the beach, forest, and cityscapes. The production team utilized multi-plane camera technology, which allowed them to capture the backgrounds in different depths and produce a parallax effect.

This technique gave the illusion of characters and objects moving in three-dimensional space, adding to the film’s realism. The music used in the film is another critical aspect of its production.

The movie’s score was composed by the renowned Disney composer Richard M. Sherman.

The music had to evoke the emotion that each scene required and capture the different moods depicted. The movie’s opening and closing song, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird,” also written by Sherman, became an instant hit and a hallmark of the movie’s production.

The voice actors also play a pivotal role in the production of the film. The voice cast had to bring the bird characters to life and capture their personalities and quirks.

Voices such as Sterling Holloway, who played the role of the narrator, and Thurl Ravenscroft, who played a seagull, were integral in bringing the movie’s characters to life. Lastly, the film’s production team had to work cohesively and seamlessly to make the movie a success.

The animators, technicians, music composers, and voice actors all had to collaborate to make the film a cohesive and entertaining experience. It is their dedication and hard work that ensured that “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” became a classic animated film.

In conclusion, the production of “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” was a challenging process that required the collaboration of several teams. The film showcases the animators’ attention to detail, effective use of technology, and remarkable voice acting to bring the bird characters to life.

The film’s music also played a significant role in the production, evoking the emotions needed for each scene. Despite the challenges faced during production, the dedication and hard work of the team resulted in a timeless classic that still resonates today.

“It’s Tough to Be a Bird” was released in 1969, making it over 50 years old. Despite its age, the movie continues to capture the imaginations of audiences worldwide.

Its release was a significant milestone for Walt Disney Productions, and it played an essential role in pushing the boundaries of animation. When the movie was released, it was met with widespread acclaim.

Audiences were impressed by the film’s combination of humor, education, and entertainment. Critics especially praised the film’s animation, which was deemed groundbreaking at the time.

The movie’s music, composed by the Sherman brothers, was also well-received, and the song “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” was an instant hit. The film was first shown in theaters as a supporting feature to the full-length movie, “The Love Bug.” This was a common practice at the time, where animated shorts were paired with live-action movies.

Despite being a supporting feature, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” managed to steal the show, and soon after its release, it became one of the most popular animated shorts of its time. The film’s success prompted Disney to release it again in theaters during the early 1970s.

It was paired with other animated short films and proved to be a hit with audiences once again. It was also shown on television as part of various programs, further expanding its reach.

In the digital era, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” was released on DVD and Blu-ray, allowing a new generation to enjoy the movie’s charm and wit. The home entertainment release also featured bonus content such as commentary from animators and historians, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and restored footage, giving viewers an even deeper understanding of the movie’s production process.

The movie’s legacy also extends to the present day, as it is often cited as a source of inspiration and influence for contemporary animators. Its influence on animation is evident in the way modern animated films blend humor, education, and entertainment.

Many contemporary animated films, such as “Finding Nemo” and “The Lion King,” have themes and messages similar to “It’s Tough to Be a Bird.”

The film’s release also left a lasting impact on conservation efforts. The movie’s message about the need to protect birds and their habitats is as relevant today as it was back then.

The movie’s success helped to increase awareness about bird conservation, both in the United States and around the globe. In conclusion, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” has had a remarkable journey since its initial release in 1969.

Its animation, humor, music, and educational content left a lasting impact on audiences and influenced contemporary animated films. The movie’s legacy continues to live on, and it remains a beloved animated classic that has captured the hearts of many.

The soundtrack for “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” was composed by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman, the same duo who wrote the music for other Disney classics such as “Mary Poppins” and “The Jungle Book.” The film’s score is an integral part of the movie’s success, as it sets the tone for the film’s mood and highlights its comedic and educational content. The soundtrack of “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” features the clever use of musical styles and instruments to help tell the story and establish the mood.

For instance, during the opening sequence, the soundtrack features a jaunty tune that gives the audience a sense of excitement and anticipation. The music offsets the visuals of the birds in flight, giving the audience a glimpse into the stories that are about to unfold.

One of the most iconic songs from the film is the opening number, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird.” The playful and catchy tune is sung by a group of birds perched on a telephone wire, reflecting the film’s message. The song highlights the challenges of being a bird, such as building a nest, flying long distances, and avoiding predators, in a lighthearted and humorous way.

The song’s memorable chorus, “It’s tough to be a bird, but we’re happy we’re alive,” has become a hallmark of the movie. Another notable musical scene is the use of the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” as a backing track for the section that covers the bird’s migration.

The song is a traditional American Civil War song that depicts soldiers returning home from battle. The use of this song in the movie is symbolic and highlights the arduous journey of the birds’ migration.

The movie’s score also features a range of sound effects that help make the film sound realistic. The sounds of bird calls, rustling leaves, and the crashing waves help to establish the different settings and the environment in which the birds live.

The sounds help to reinforce the film’s educational message, providing a rich and immersive experience for the viewer. The movie’s musical score was also recorded using state-of-the-art technology at the time.

The score was recorded in stereo using the RCA Scoring Stage at the Culver City studios. The stereo mix was then transferred onto film using a four-track stereo magnetic recorder.

This recording process allowed the film’s sound effects and music to be synchronized and produced a high-quality and authentic sound. In conclusion, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” soundtrack is an integral part of the movie’s success.

The score is distinctive and engaging, and it helps set the tone of the movie and highlight the story’s educational and comedic aspects. The Sherman brothers’ music and use of sound effects exemplary and established a new standard for animation soundtracks.

The use of innovative technologies in the recording of the score also ensured that the sound complemented the visuals, providing a rich, immersive experience for viewers. In summary, “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences worldwide over 50 years after its release.

The article highlights the film’s key aspects, including its plot, production, and soundtrack, and their significance. The movie’s exploration of bird habitats, conservation, and human impact on the environment, combined with its engaging animation and witty narration, make “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” a must-watch for animation aficionados and nature enthusiasts.


Q: When was “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” released? A: The movie was released in 1969.

Q: Who directed the movie? A: The movie was directed by Ward Kimball.

Q: Who composed the music for the movie? A: The music was composed by Richard M.

Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

Q: What message does the movie convey? A: The movie conveys messages relating to bird habitats and the need for conservation.

Q: What technology was used to produce the movie’s soundtrack? A: The movie’s soundtrack was produced using a four-track stereo magnetic recorder.

Q: Why is the movie considered a timeless classic? A: The movie’s engaging plot, educational and comedic content, and excellent production quality make it an enduring classic.

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