The best songs about birds not only sing about literal flying animals, but they also use birds as a symbol for powerful emotions and experiences.
It’s no surprise that birds have been featured in many songs over the years, representing freedom and the ability to escape the pitfalls of modern life.
This playlist brings together the very best bird-themed songs you can listen to, from iconic protest anthems to heartfelt ballads about the downside of relationships.
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The 21 Best Songs About Birds of All Time
Some of the best-loved animals on the planet are birds, inspiring countless singer-songwriters to compose music about their lives and experiences.
We’ve dug through the history of music to bring you the best songs about these beautiful animals from a broad selection of genres and styles.
Let’s lift off and begin our playlist of the 21 best songs about birds of all time:
21. “Feed The Birds” – Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews)
The popular children’s movie Mary Poppins featured several catchy songs, with “Feed the Birds” among the most popular of them all.
Sung by Julie Andrews, it’s a lovely, sweet song about birds that reminds everyone who hears it about the importance of dignity.
Released in 1963, Mary Poppins proved to be another big hit for Disney and was their highest-grossing movie at that time, taking in over $100 million at the box office.
20. “Skyline Pigeon” – Elton John
Elton John is no stranger to writing iconic music, having released one of the best songs of all time, “Your Song,” which was also a big hit for the singer.
His contribution to songs about birds, “Skyline Pigeon,” takes the lyrics of Bernie Taupin and transforms them into an inspiring song about hope and ambition.
It’s a classic song in which symbolism transforms what on the surface appears to be a simple song about birds into something far more meaningful.
19. “Bird On A Wire” – Aaron Neville
“Bird on a Wire” by Aaron Neville is a fantastic cover version of the original song by Leonard Cohen, using bird imagery to convey emotional experiences.
The lyrics explore various expressions of love, with the “Bird on a Wire” a symbol of how often love can be precarious and even dangerous.
Aaron Neville enjoyed many successes throughout his career, winning five Grammy Awards, including Best Country Vocal Collaboration for “I Fall To Pieces” in 1994.
18. “Mockingbird” – James Taylor & Carly Simon
James Taylor and Carly Simon honed in on the subject of birds in their song “Mockingbird,” an updated version of the 1963 song by Inez Fox.
It’s based on a classic lullaby, “Hush Little Baby,” and eschews the soothing tones of the original for something more fast-paced and dynamic.
James Taylor’s impressive discography includes one of the best songs about walking, “Walking Man,” which hit the charts in 1973.
17. “Fly Like An Eagle” – Steve Miller Band
The eagle is one of the most beautiful of all birds and also the subject of the Steve Miller Band song “Fly Like An Eagle.”
Released in 1976, this is a mellow rock song that features great lyrics that urge us to take our ambitions to the limit and rise above our limitations.
The Steve Miller Band intended the song to be about more than just personal ambition and how we need to think big if we’re going to solve the world’s many problems.
16. “Bird Dog” – The Everly Brothers
“Bird Song” by the Everly Brothers was written by Boudieaux Bryant and released in 1958 when it topped the Billboard Country charts for six weeks.
It’s one of the most unusual songs about birds, with a 12-bar stanza and 8-bar chorus, and deals with a boy whose girlfriend is being wooed by another boy.
In addition to topping the Country music charts, “Bird Dog” also placed in the second spot for the US Billboard Hot 100 the year it was released.
15. “Swan Song” – Lana Del Rey
The title “Swan Song” implies things coming to an end, and Lana Del Ray is a love song about the willingness to give up everything for a partner.
Here, swans serve as a metaphor for the power of love and how it can endure through thick and thin, even if it can sometimes be self-destructive.
Lana Del Ray has performed many inspirational songs throughout her career, which includes one of the best songs about freedom, the 2017 song “Get Free.”
14. “Albatross” – Fleetwood Mac
Like the eagle, the albatross is a bird that is known for its ability to spend a great deal of time in the air, something which Fleetwood Mac alludes to here.
“Albatross” is one of the most well-known pieces of music from their early career and was written by the band’s founder and guitarist, Peter Green.
He took inspiration from a variety of sources, with the bird famously appearing in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the 1798 poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
13. “Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert’s contribution to the great songs about birds, “Bluebird,” uses the titular bird as a symbol of joy and happiness.
This lovely song from 2019 is another of the great bird songs that use the concept to explore human traits and encourage a positive attitude.
It’s a popular country music song from a singer-songwriter with a long list of studio albums in her discography, with millions of copies sold worldwide.
12. “The Eagle And The Hawk” – John Denver
John Denver gives us not one but two iconic birds of prey in his sublime song, “The Eagle and the Hawk,” released in 1971.
Denver sings, “I am the eagle, I live in high country,” before continuing with “I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers.”
It’s a song about birds that’s a pure celebration of their beauty, grace, and power and a continuation of Denver’s preoccupation with the natural world through music.
11. “Caged Bird” – Alicia Keys
A bird trapped in a cage is an obvious analogy for how people can feel when stuck in a failing relationship, as Alicia Keys explores in “Caged Bird.”
As with the titular bird, Keys shows that singing is often something people do to avoid feeling trapped and discontent with life and love.
It’s one of her best songs, reflecting a nuanced sense of loneliness and alienation that is often felt when you live life for others instead of yourself.
10. “Vultures” – John Mayer
John Mayer turned his attention to birds in his song “Vultures,” those carrion-feeding scavengers who glide over deserts and wastelands.
It’s a searing pop song from 2005 that reflects Mayer’s darker side, viewed by some as his scathing indictment of the music industry’s executives.
“Vultures” offers a stark contrast to some of Mayer’s other work, which includes one of the best songs about peace, “Waiting on the World to Change.”
9. “Rockin’ Robin” – Bobby Day
One hit wonder Bobby Day might have failed to repeat the success he found with “Rockin Robin,” but it’s nevertheless a strong legacy to leave behind.
This rock and roll classic conjures up images of swirling dresses and has been used commercially many times since its initial release.
Everyone from Michael Jackson to Elvis Presley has tackled “Rockin Robin” at some point in their career, thanks to Bobby Day’s failure to renew the copyright.
8. “Wings Of A Dove” – Hal Ketchum
Country music has long been fond of songs based around the natural world, and Hal Ketchum’s “Wings of a Dove” fits in perfectly with this trend.
With lyrics by Bob Ferguson and music composed by Ferlin Husky, “Wings of a Dove” comes together as a truly emotional listening experience.
Ketchum uses the white dove as a metaphor for spiritual meaning, something which Christianity has explored millennia before.
7. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
One of the best-known songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd is “Free Bird,” a rock classic that gained legendary status when the band’s lead singer was killed in a plane crash.
It features the unique and powerful vocals of Ronnie Van Zant, with the original version recorded live in 1977.
Synonymous with enthusiastic audiences at concerts around the world, “Free Bird” is a poignant song that remains one of the greatest contributions to rock music.
6. “Bluebird” – Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles is another great singer-songwriter who took on the topic of birds with a track called “Bluebird,” released in 2010.
It’s a catchy pop song in which she sings about being dumped by a lover via a letter and how her previous experience of rejection will help see her through tough times.
Bareilles captures the emotions we feel when going through a breakup perfectly, with the bluebird a representation of the difficulty of letting go.
5. “Bird Set Free” – Sia
Sia’s “Bird Set Free” is a pop anthem about birds that’s really about empowerment and escaping a cruel relationship once and for all.
The Australian singer views herself as a bird with clipped wings in the song, taking pleasure in fighting back and discovering the freedom she’s been looking for.
The song was originally pitched for both Adele and Rihanna, but they turned the song down, leading Sia to perform it herself.
4. “When Doves Cry” – Prince
Released in 1984, “When Doves Cry” by Prince is one of his more haunting ballads and is often considered among the greatest of his works.
Prince’s vocals narrate the end of a relationship with his lover and the pain this causes as he attempts to process what led to this rejection.
It’s a fitting companion to Prince’s excellent song about betrayal, “Eye Hate U,” which was featured on his album, The Gold Experience.
3. “I’m Like A Bird” – Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado has enjoyed many successful releases over the years, including three number-one hits on the American Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Her great song about birds, “I’m Like a Bird,” is another bird song that is really all about love, with lyrics about telling her partner the truth that one day she will leave him for good.
“I’m Like a Bird” was a top-ten smash for Furtado, as well as a Grammy Award winner that secured her reputation as one of the leading lights of modern pop music.
2. “Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley
Bob Marley wrote many songs intended to bring joy and positivity to his audience, with “Three Little Birds” no exception to this trend.
With a beautiful animated music video, “Three Little Birds” sees Bob Marley and the Wailers at their most laid back, assuring listeners that “every little thing’s gonna be alright.”
It’s a heartwarming reminder that time heals all wounds and that if we have a little patience in our lives, we can find the peace we’re looking for.
1. “Blackbird” – The Beatles
We’re rounding up this complete playlist of the best songs about birds with a classic from the Beatles, their anthem for the civil rights movement, “Blackbird.”
Paul McCartney wrote “Blackbird” in support of the black community in the Southern United States when they faced widespread discrimination as well as a political awakening.
The Beatles took on a lighter approach to music in other works, which includes one of the best karaoke songs you can sing, “Hey Jude.”
So that concludes this complete playlist exploring the best songs about birds ever produced, from rock and roll icons the Beatles to pop singer Nelly Furtado.
As well as being amazing animals to witness in flight, birds can act as a symbol of many powerful emotions and inspire us to become better versions of ourselves.
It’s why we expect many more great songs about these creatures to continue to be released by singers and bands in the years to come.
What songs about birds do you listen to in order to lift your spirits? Leave a comment below.
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