It’s Tough to Be a Bird

Somebody finally posted Ward Kimball’s It’s Tough to Be a Bird online. The short won the Oscar for best animated short in 1969. I’ve compiled the YouTube segments into a playlist below:


  • Galen Fott

    Cool! Has this ever been released anywhere other than on the “Ranger of Brownstone” VHS? I bought a copy off eBay last year to be able to watch this!

  • Scotty A

    Ha! I see Ward Kimball himself at 2:37 of the second part!
    I don’t recognize any other animators, do you?

  • http://kittyhasfleaz.blogspot.com Felicia Spano

    Great short! Really love the energy of the lines in each of the drawings. Perhaps I’m nuts for thinking that, but that’s my opinion. Really entertaining!

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    Whadt a great treat, Amid…thank YOO! I don’t think i had ever seen it but once…(but i did remember the Donald cameo!)

  • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    This film expanded my mind as to what could be done in a studio cartoon. When I interviewed Kimball, he told me this was originally an episode of the Disney weekly series but it turned out so well they edited it and released it theatrically. Somewhere I’ve got a tape of the similar short Dad, Can I borrow the Car. All the Kimball films should be released on DVD.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    The science of how birds acquired feathers is terribly outdated.

    But who the Hell cares?? This is a wonderful short :-)

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    A fun short indeed. We don’t see energetic and flexible character designs like that anymore…

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com Daryl T

    Great Short! Very informative!

  • Robert Schaad

    Yup. Saw this quite a few times on the “big screen”. Thanks!

  • http://eggheadcheesybird.co.uk Alex

    That was pretty cute.

  • Ryan W. Mead

    Good stuff- I especially like the montage of sight gags that ends the film. I wonder if Ward was familiar with another Oscar-winning short that also used a gag about a Birds Anonyomous organization (of course, both Ward’s and Friz’s BA are a parody of AA, but they have similar goals- to stop predator species, be it cat or man, from killing birds).

  • Mr. Semaj

    Kimball knew how to use those sound effects.

    I laughed the hardest at the NBC logo.

  • tom

    I’ve always loved this. I love the lead’s voice, I love love love the little tune that he “raps” over. This is such a blast! Thanks much!

  • Keith Paynter

    Good to finally see the full-length version again after so many years! I only saw it once on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” years ago, and we had the 2-reel educational cut in our local public library in 16mm for years (summarized the ending after the birdwatching segment).

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Ward Kimball overheard the voice actor talking while walking on the Disney studio lot. He immediately grabbed the guy for the film.

    Sadly, fun and innovation ended when Kimball left the company in the seventies.

  • Lisa

    But do they STILL celebrate the Turkey Vuntures’ return to Hinkley Ridge?

  • Inkan1969
  • Ian V.

    This was a really good one!

    Does anyone know the name of (and where to find) those old bird cartoons used in the montage at the end?

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I remember seeing this on the Wonderful World of Disney back in the 70s. The montage at the end reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animation.(as did some of the gags in Kimball’s ‘Dad,Can I Borrow the Car?’) The Bird was voiced by Dick Bakalyn,who appeared in a few live-action Disney movies of the 60s and 70s as well as voicing Dinky the sparrow in ‘The Fox & The Hound’.

  • http://[email protected] Jake Friedman

    Hey – did you catch the Preston Blair vulture on the Hinkley sign?

  • Dan

    Loved it. I wish Ward was around today making shorts. How fun it must have been to work on that! What a whacky, creative and versatile artist he was. Thanks for the post Amid.

  • Charlie

    This is great. Thanks for sharing.

  • Spurwing Plover

    The interesting uses of bird term or how about the hawk dropping the olive branch and the dove dropping the bomb

  • Spurwing Plover

    How about the use of bird related terms like YARD BIRD a yard stick with a birds head on the front tail at the back wings in the middle and feet on the bottom or DOVETAIL two doves connected by their tails SLICK CHICK chicken slipping on banna peel BIRDBRAIN guy has birds flying in his head JAILBIRD a bird in jail and i do think it was shown along with THE COMPUTER WORE TENNISHOES and won a OSCAR the 50th oscar for disney

  • Spurwing Plover

    Well the plane landing on birds feet or the dove pulling the magician out of the hat

  • Spurwing Plover

    It won disney its 50th oscar as BEST ANIMATED SHORT SUBJECT well worth it birds deserve their rewards