Bird song and songs with birds

We know that complexity of language is one of the key things that distinguishes us from other animals. It is this ability that has allowed us to eventually become civilized (such as we are….).

While many animals and insects also communicate through sounds, those uttered by birds “offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language,” Charles Darwin wrote in “The Descent of Man” (1871), while contemplating how humans learned to speak. Language, he speculated, might have had its origins in singing, which “might have given rise to words expressive of various complex emotions.”

bird song accent

Humans, according to the authors of this article, fruitfully combined these systems. We can communicate essential information, like bees or primates — but like birds, we also have a melodic capacity and an ability to recombine parts of our uttered language. For this reason, our finite vocabularies can generate a seemingly infinite string of words. Indeed, the researchers suggest that humans first had the ability to sing, as Darwin conjectured, and then managed to integrate specific lexical elements into those songs.

And going full circle we then tried to teach some birds how to speak !


It is no wonder then that when we invented a social medium that allowed us to communicate in short chirpy bursts we called it Twitter!

Maya Angelou says in her famous poem The Caged Bird Sings:

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

From bird song to birds in songs– here is a list of beautiful songs from Hindi films, old and new, that refer to birds!

This first song is without category. Incomparable– due to Lata’s voice and incomparable because it speaks of Dyaneshwar’s devotion to Vitthal. “The crow’s crowing from the river is good omen and indication that Vitthal is coming to my place. Hey crow, I will adorn you with gold, give you curd rice, milk, tell me isn’t it true that Vitthal is coming to my home? Please tell me without delay when is he coming?”


In this category are the songs that invoke a sense of longing and desire and use the plaintive cry of some birds to express their own emotions:

  1. Shamshad Begum sings for Nargis in Aag


2.    Teesri Kasam, with a delightful folk tune song, speaks of the caged bird which still     has the power to captivate the wandering traveller

3. Lamhe, a movie probably ahead of its time with a unique storyline and beautiful songs. Sridevi singing in the desert with Ila Arun’s voice as the tribal singer.

4. Bandini, with Nutan in prison and the others doing their daily work and singing about the free bird singing outside their walled lives. Imagining how life is going on in the free world

5. Mala Sinha and Dev Anand star in this movie Maya with poor girl rich boy, mixed identities and lots of twists and turns 

6. Rafi sings in the film Bhabhi and reminds us that we are just temporary guests in this world:

Fly away, o bird you no longer belong here, your lease at this branch is over, you did not own anything here, you were just a tenant here no one in this world stays here for ever


And now for some cheerful, fun and even mad songs here !

  1. Nutan and girlfriends, cycling down a lovely empty road,

2. Nargis frees the caged birds

3. The film is Madhumati and Johnny Walker is asking the question that remains at the core of accountability! If no one catches you cheat, did you really cheat?!

4. Dimple Kapadia in Bobby. What else does one need to say? Except of course that like many older songs and films, some of the lyrics are a bit regressive but I try to remember when it was released and forgive them….

5. Kishore Kumar at the height of his madness in the movies. It is difficult to imagine that anyone could actually direct him to do the stuff he did in Half Ticket!

6. Hum Saath Saath Hain gave Indian kids the alphabet song, lots of cultural gyan about loving your family and the most amazingly goody- goody family in this modern take on Ramayana ( kind of )

7.A hit movie in its time, Sargam starred Jaya Prada as a deaf mute girl and Rishi Kapoor as a dafliwala.

8. This list cannot be complete without this song picturized on Bhagyashree, who made only one film, paired with Salman Khan and it became a super hit –Maine Pyar Kiya




2 thoughts on “Bird song and songs with birds

  1. Thanks for this lovely collection… Makes me feel like saying ‘दिल मेरा एक आसका पंछी….your ability to string together meaningfully, diverse emotions and utterances is wonderful….. ‘

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