For the Birds is a Pixar short film written and directed by Ralph Eggleston. Its worldwide debut occurred at the Annecy Film Festival in France on June 5, 2000. It would later premiere in the United States at the 27th annual Siggraph conference on July 24 of that same year, and was attached to the theatrical release of Monsters, Inc. in 2001. It was re-released on December 19, 2012 with Monsters, Inc. in 3D. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Fifteen blue-birds land one-by-one on a power line, and soon they encounter a huge and goofy-looking bird. They mimic and tease him, but he goes on the cord anyway, trying to be friendly. The little birds screech at him shrilly, and one of them Bully pecks him hard on the side causing the big bird to drop from the cord. He still manages to hang on by his toes, which two of the little blue birds Bully and Snob start pecking at grumpily in order to make him let go. The rest of the birds (including the big blue one) egg them on, until at the last second one of the little bird's spots how close to the ground they actually are. Alerting the others, they quickly try to stop the other two but it is too late.When the big bird falls off, the others are all flung away into the sky. When they come back down, we see that the little birds have all lost their feathers, making them the goofy-looking ones now. The short ends with the big bird laughing hysterically as the other birds hide behind him.
Ralph Eggleston had this to say about his inspiration for the short:
|“||Probably visits to my aunt when I was a kid. She lived in the country and I spent long rides to her house peering out the car window at birds on a wire. Also, I did a project in my design class at CalArts that my friend, Ken Bruce, told me might make a good film. I boarded it out at CalArts, but frankly, I couldn’t imagine the difficulty of drawing all those birds. Little did I know it would be just as difficult on the computer!||”|
- There is a boat in Finding Nemo entitled "For the Birds."
- The background music in this short, titled "Big High Wire Hop," is performed by Riders in the Sky. It is included in the band's 2002 album, Monsters, Inc. Scream Factory Favorites.
- The small birds on the power line make a cameo appearance in the movie Cars. Unlike many of the other "animals" in the films, the birds aren't car-ified.
- The birds also make a cameo in Inside Out.
- The background is actually just painted.
- This short originally started off as an idea for a student film by Ralph Eggleston but was never made because it would have taken forever to draw all of the birds.
- The Big Bird resembles either a shoebill or a hammerkop, while Bully and his flock appear to be some sort of waxbill (even having the same squeaks).
- This is Pixar's first attempt at animating both feathers and moving backgrounds.
- At the end of the short, the words "the end" appear to be written on what appears to be bird feces splattered onto a black background. Ironically, bird excrement is actually white, not brown.