Opie the Birdman


Original airdate
September 30, 1963
Directed by
Written by


Opie hand-raises three orphaned baby birds, after accidentally killing the mother bird.


Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with his new slingshot, in the front yard. Andy, on his way home from work, spots the dead bird in the yard. At first he thinks the neighbor's cat killed it, but when Opie runs to his room - he knows it was indeed Opie that killed it. After Andy makes Opie realize that the birds are now without a mother, he takes it upon himself to raise the orphaned baby birds. After adopting them, he named them Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod. Opie faces the difficult task of setting them free, but after a father-son talk, the birds are finally sent back into the wild. Opie remarks that cage seems empty, and Andy quickly replies, "Yes, son, it sure does. But don't the trees seem nice and full."


  • This episode has been voted #2 of the top 10 fan favorite episodes.
  • TV Guide named this episode as one of the greatest episodes of all time.
  • When Opie releases Nod, the first bird, it does a nose dive. This can be detected by Andy and Opie's initial split- second eye movement, watched in slo-mo they both follow the bird's flight path which is toward earth, they are quick in recovering. But... watch the shadow of the bird, it can be seen traversing Andy's body and headed in a nose dive.
  • The only episode to be specifically referred to in the television movie "Return to Mayberry." Andy, in trying to help Opie (a husband and a new father) decide about taking a job in the big city refers to the time he told Opie that sometimes a parent has to let go.
  • A picture of Barney shooting Opie's slingshot with Andy, Opie, and Gomer watching him is among the most used promo pictures in the series.
  • This episode served as the basis for the 1998 "The Simpsons" episode, "Bart the Mother."
  • this is the only episode where someone killed an animal mid episode.
  • When Opie is on the ladder feeding the birds and Andy and Barney are watching from below, there is a closeup of Andy where he says, "How they doin', Ope?". At that point you can see a microphone cable that appears to be running up Don Knotts' leg.


Opie: Cage sure looks awful empty don't it, Paw?
Andy: Yes, son, it sure does. But don't the trees seem nice and full?

Barney: "All wild creatures shy away from anything with man smell. You want to bait your trap for a tiger or somethin' like that, main rule is...never touch the food with your hands."
Andy: "That's good to time I go tiger huntin', I'm gonna take my tweezers."


Behind the ScenesEdit

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