For many years, birds have been used metaphorically to represent freedom.
But as it turns out, not all situations where artists mention birds always indicate positivity.
Sometimes, composers turn to these wonderful creatures to send a subtle message about sorrow, war, or hopelessness.
Below is a comprehensive list of some of the best songs about birds.
While our list contains popular tracks like Bob Marley’s iconic “Three Little Birds,” we’ve also included a few surprising names you probably didn’t expect.
Let’s get into the details as we break down the 36 best songs about birds.
1. “House Wren” – Owl City
The house wren in this song is fervently looking for a summer home. The song continues in the same style as most of Owl City’s hits.
The cheery house wren is optimistic about finding a new home, no matter how long it may take.
He can’t stop singing at the top of his lungs, welcoming another beautiful day because, as far as he’s concerned, he’s almost home.
2. “How Shall A Sparrow Fly” – Ryan Bingham
A somber mood engulfs this track as the narrator poses plenty of rhetorical questions about the well-being of a sparrow with a broken wing.
The lonely vocals are moving and metaphoric at the same time, describing the delicate balance between life and death in a world where only a handful seem to care.
3. “Sparrow” – Emeli Sande
Combine the soaring nature of a sparrow with a joyful heart, and you will almost become unstoppable.
“Sparrow” by Emeli Sande is an uplifting 2019 ballad with a powerful message of hope, confidence, and positivity.
From the first time you listen to the lyrics, the positive vibes in the singer’s voice become crystal clear, with a simple message to soar, just like the great sparrow.
If you are battling contemporary issues like low self-esteem, this might be the track to take you to a new world.
4. “The Eagle” – Waylon Jennings
The eagle in Waylon Jennings’ 1991 hit single symbolizes power.
The powerful man in the narration is a peace lover. However, he recently got provoked by someone who underestimates his might.
Therefore, the song warns that nobody should ever take his kindness for weakness.
You can almost feel it when Waylon Jennings sings, “I can fly if I have to, if they turn the eagle loose.”
5. “Blackbird” – The Beatles
Paul McCartney wrote “Blackbird” in 1968 to highlight the racial strife in the US. The lyrics are symbolic, highlighting the civil rights activities.
In the song, Paul uses his lyrical prowess to convey a strong message that even in your darkest moments, you should be the shining light, visible from all corners, just like a soaring bird.
6. “Vultures” – John Mayer
Who even sings about the scary scavengers? Perhaps with the exception of John Mayer.
In this track, the lyricist describes the dark side of his celebrity status, comparing the top dogs of the music industry to vultures.
Having won two Grammy awards in 2002 and 2004, John felt the burden of his celebrity status slowly creeping in.
He oozes frustration in this track, talking about the cold-hearted music executives who are always after the money.
While this would have catalyzed his downfall under ordinary circumstances, the track only made him popular, grabbing 7 more Grammy awards in the years after its release.
7. “Bird Set Free” – Sia
In “Bird Set Free,” the lyrics are self-explanatory.
The overall impression is complete freedom from a dysfunctional relationship, with the singer realizing that a tumultuous relationship eats you slowly.
Listening to this song, more questions start crossing your mind. Perhaps the biggest is the issue of true self-worth.
Sia’s work in this song is exemplary, with a unique style of delivery that made many people fall in love with it. Her vocals alone sound like a bird.
And the alteration between the good rhythm and mellow delivery makes this track a must-listen.
8. “Skyline Pigeon” – Elton John
A few artists make bird songs better than Elton John. And in this 1973 ballad, he adopts a unique style with a hymn at the heart of his composition.
The song is metaphoric, telling the tale of a free pigeon, having escaped the pain of human slavery. “Skyline Pigeon” received massive airplay after its first release in 1968.
And part of its success also helped lay the foundation for John’s early career.
Like most songs about birds, this track conveys a message of hope and dreams, painting a picture that resonates with everyone.
9. “Bird On A Wire” – Aaron Neville, The Neville Brothers
“Bird On A Wire” has been described as a simple pop song using imagery to convey a powerful message.
Like birds seated on a wire, the singer acknowledges his risky ways of life, noting that freedom, with all its benefits, comes at a cost.
There’s no better bird song than an expertly written version with passionate vocals. And the lessons in this track make it a compelling tune.
10. “Bluebird” – Sara Bareilles
Bluebirds are considered a symbol of hope and happiness. But in this popular track, they mean much more than that.
Sara Bareilles’ track is about the end of a chapter, presumably a relationship that’s no longer working. It is more about finding yourself and embracing change, no matter how hard it can be.
From a relationship perspective, “Bluebird” references walking away with an optimistic feeling, convinced that things will get better in the end. And you can feel it in Sara’s voice.
11. “Birdhouse In Your Soul” – They Might Be Giants
There’s something about They Might Be Giants that made their compositions quite memorable in the mainstream market. And “Birdhouse In Your Soul” confirms just as much.
In his own words, John Linnell says this beautiful song is built around a night light.
The arrangement has everything you may expect from TMBG, and the lyrics are crazy enough to make you jam to the tune.
12. “Birds” – Imagine Dragons
“Birds” is an emotional song by Imagine Dragons describing a strong bond between two lovers that doesn’t exist anymore.
The touching lyrics will make you feel the narrator’s pain. Among many things mentioned in the song, the biggest message is living your life to the fullest.
13. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
It might be one of the longest songs on our list, but there’s no way you can ignore this piece of art from Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Its musical essence makes it even more impressive, with lyrics pointing towards the story of a man who’s just unwilling to commit to a relationship just yet.
One of the unique elements of this song is that it has a personal meaning to everyone. So, it’s entirely up to you to determine how you relate to it.
The band’s decision to include “Free Bird” as the last track in their album was a masterpiece, occasionally performing it as the last song at any concert.
14. “Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley
Bob Marley wrote this track as part of his 1977 ‘Exodus’ album, and 4 decades later, it is still attention-grabbing.
A simplistic song with familiar lyrics, it turns out the legendary Jamaican artist might have been inspired by his love for birds, after all.
As a messenger of peace and love, Marley uses this song to inspire others, encouraging everyone not to worry because everything will be alright.
While it never reached the top 10 on the major charts, “Three Little Birds” remains one of the best pieces ever produced by the reggae icon.
15. “Wind Beneath My Wings” – Bette Midler
“Wind Beneath My Wings” was initially thought of as a romantic song, with a little bit of everything to evoke deep emotions.
But today, the lyrics have been unifying, perfect for any situation, from relationships to families and friends.
While there’s no mention of a bird, the track is just about soaring, and the least we can expect where there’s the mention of wings is birds.
16. “The Eagle And The Hawk” – John Denver
John Denver was a lyrical genius whose songs many could listen to the whole day.
And from the first time you hear his narration in “The Eagle And The Hawk,” you realize that the lyrics are just as relatable as they come.
You could base your entire life on this song, with Denver encouraging everyone to keep pressing on no matter the circumstances.
Quite simply, this track is centered on a theme of hope, with the eagle and the hawk as the symbolic elements in a man’s life.
17. “Feed The Birds” – Julie Andrews In Mary Poppins
“Feed The Birds” from the movie ‘Mary Poppins’ was written by an artist with a matchless musical pedigree. The gentle lyrics will make you shed a tear even when you don’t want to.
You might think of it as one of the greatest songs ever.
But in the context of life, Julie Andrews emphasizes the significance of charity while narrating the story of an old beggar woman.
18. “I’m Like A Bird” – Nelly Furtado
Freedom! That’s the theme of Nelly Furtado’s 2000 track. “I’m Like A Bird” is a metaphoric song where Nelly compares herself to a bird, with freedom taking center stage.
One could argue it is a romantic song. But it’s almost impossible to ignore the clear message on a quick scan.
Nelly was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Awards for this track, winning the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award that year.
Perhaps the most iconic moment came in 2007 when she performed this song with her memorable hits, “Maneater” and “Say It Right” to commemorate the death of Princess Diana.
19. “Time For Me To Fly” – REO Speedwagon
Lead vocalist Kevin Cronin is credited with writing this beautiful piece about moving from a bad relationship.
A catchy hook identifies the energetic track, and the more you listen to it, the better you understand why it became so popular in the 1980s.
The heartfelt lyrics, the melodic delivery, and the passionate vocals are exactly what you can expect from a band as underrated as REO Speedwagon.
20. “Eagle” – ABBA
ABBA’s inspiration to write this piece was derived from the most unlikely sources. The first impression is that the lyrics were inspired by a 1970 book, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”
However, some sources allude that the track might have been inspired by the band members’ admiration for ‘The Eagles,” an iconic 1970s band.
“Eagle” is one of ABBA’s most popular tracks, with celebrated lyrics pointing to the unique attributes of the eagle. The eagle, in this context, is a knowledgeable, good friend and a source of inspiration.
The symbolic meaning can be interpreted in many ways, but the most obvious is that the band compares itself to the bird, enjoying newly found freedom from their daily interactions.
21. “When Doves Cry” – Prince And The Revolution
Prince is one of the many artists that left far too soon. And he will be sorely missed by the all-time die-hards who enjoyed his excellent compositions in songs like “Purple Rain.”
In this 1984 track, Prince gives an emotional narration about a tumultuous relationship. The crying doves are symbolic of two lovebirds sobbing over their failing relationship.
While a somber mood fills the song, Prince remains optimistic that he can change the situation and have a happy ending.
The song had a lasting impression on music critics, becoming the #1 track in the US in 1984. It would go on to top the charts for 5 straight weeks.
22. “Skylark” – Linda Ronstadt
“Skylark” is a popular jazz song credited to Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichel. It has been covered by many artists, with Linda Ronstadt’s version getting nominated for a Grammy Award in 1985.
By doing a cover version of “Skylark,” Linda proved that a good song will be flawless, no matter the genre. And in the process, she introduced many to one of the finest pieces in American history.
23. “Two Sparrows In A Hurricane” – Tanya Tucker
The captivating narration in Tanya Tucker’s 2002 hit song is about the significance of building a strong bond between couples in the face of adversity.
The narration follows the life of a young couple through to adulthood. Even as aging sets in, they are willing to be there for one another.
The romantic lyrics in the song will blow you away. But the music video is even more captivating.
24. “Alicia Keys”- Caged Bird
In this artistic poem, Alicia compares her life to a caged bird.
Listening to the track, you can only sympathize with the narrator, describing what many might have felt at some point in their lives.
The title is symbolic, referencing the idea of getting trapped inside a cage with no way out. And who else to narrate the sorrowful mood than the beautiful American songwriter?
25. “Disco Duck” – Rick Dees
Some call it a satirical song. Others view it as more of a novelty track. But what stands out about this tune is the funny duck commentary.
The narration is about a funny chicken dance that was widespread at the time. If you have the time, you should probably listen to the comical lyrics and the ‘quack quack’ duck sound.
26. “Eagle When She Flies” – Dolly Parton
Some of the greatest artists of the 80s and 90s eras are known for their empowering songs. And Dolly Parton belongs to that category, with her 1991 track yet another proof of her lyrical prowess.
While the track didn’t receive massive airplay following its release, it is widely accepted as one of Dolly Parton’s best-ever songs.
27. “Rockin’ Robin” – Bobby Day
A quick look at some of the 1950s classics takes us to Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin.” It is credited to Leon Rene and became Day’s best-performing single at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Also, it stayed at #1 on the R&B sales chart for one week. Michael Jackson’s 1972 cover version helped popularize the song, peaking at #2 in the US.
28. “Mockingbird” – James Taylor & Carly Simon
“Mockingbird” is a 1963 track attributed to Charlie and Inez Foxx. It is centered on an iconic lullaby, “Hush Little Baby.”
However, James Taylor’s lyrical adjustment in 1974 took away the soothing effect it was intended to achieve.
The duo’s version became a sensational hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and selling more than 1 million copies in the US.
You will appreciate the magnificent vocals in the reworked version, confirming James and Carly as one of the most underrated duos at the time.
29. “Fly Like An Eagle” – Steve Miller Band
“Fly Like An Eagle” is Steve Miller’s narration about reaching greater heights to solve the world’s biggest problems.
The track was released in 1976 and peaked at #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song brings a mellow feeling, with lyrics associated with just about any situation. While some allude that the lyrics refer to skydiving, some point to euphoria resulting from drug usage.
But the unifying factor is that the song highlights the many problems in the world, with everyone challenged to soar to greater heights, just like the eagle.
30. “Wings Of A Dove” – Hal Ketchum
“When troubles surround us, when evils come/The body grows weak and the spirit grows numb.” That’s the first line of this fascinating track built around Noah’s biblical story.
The metaphoric element shouldn’t be surprising to many Christians, and the spiritual meaning makes it an almost perfect tune for reminiscing the biblical scriptures.
31. “A Broken Wing” – Martina McBride
Martina McBride is known to empower women every time she enters a studio to record a rock ballad.
And in this 1997 track, she recounts the story of a young lady running away from the bondages of an abusive relationship.
The song is expertly written with a powerful message that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
32. “Little Bird” – Annie Lennox
This is an empowering track about taking a massive step in life. It could be anything from fleeing an abusive relationship to quitting your job.
For Annie Lennox, it was more of launching her solo career after escaping her partner’s shadow in Eurythmics.
Annie’s talent became more prominent in 2012 when she performed this song in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
33. “Hummingbird” – Seals & Croft
Seals & Croft combined to give us a sensational hit nobody knew they wanted. The track is identified by a chant-themed chorus and excerpts from the little-known Baha’i faith.
In one of his interviews, Seals asserts that the song is a mere plea for everyone to reconnect with their faith.
The subtle message of forgiveness is plain to see, with the narrator lamenting how first we are to torment the Lord’s prophets without ever listening to them.
“Hummingbird” was a huge success in the mainstream market, reaching #20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
34. “I’ll Fly Away” – Various Artists
“I’ll Fly Away” has been performed in many churches as one of the best gospel classics in history.
It is attributed to Albert E. Brumley with a dominant theme of eternal life and heaven.
Its spiritual meaning has made it a funeral staple, creating an illusion of flying to heaven.
35. “Snowbird” – Anne Murray
“Snowbird” is a 1970 track recorded by Canadian musician Gene MacLellan.
Lyrically, Anne Murray popularized the track, her light-hearted version instantly earning her a stardom status.
The rock ballad peaked at #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, staying there for 6 weeks.
“Snowbird” clearly transformed Anne’s fortunes in the mainstream market.
But more notably, her title had all the elements you need from your favorite bird song; imagery, beautiful vocals, sweet lyrics, you name them.
36. Winter Bird-Aurora
It could be the powerful lyrics. Perhaps the dominant nature imagery. Or just the narration.
But one thing is crystal clear. Aurora’s powerful message in the “Winter Bird” is one for generations.
The lyrics are simple yet powerful, with a hidden message that resonates with just about any individual.
Songs About Birds – Final Thoughts
As bird songs go, there’s just about the perfect track for almost any occasion. We have sweet songs with deeper meanings about positivity, friendship, and warmth.
But at the same time, there’s a long list of sorrowful tracks centered on war, hopelessness, and heartbreaks.
Besides the normally magnificent vocals, most songs about birds have subtle messages that could change your life forever.