The Andy Griffith Show

Season 4 Episode 1

Opie the Birdman

Aired Monday 9:30 PM Sep 30, 1963 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
61 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with his new slingshot and takes it upon himself to raise the orphaned baby birds. After adopting them with the Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, Opie faces the difficult task of setting them free.

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  • 9.0
    One of the quintessential episodes that perfectly melds humor, drama and warmth. Barney's "bird talk" scene is priceless and the final exchange between Opie and Andy is one of the best ever written for the small screen. If you're not reaching for a Kleenex at the conclusion, check your heartbeat. A must see for any budding Andy Griffith Show fans....and an all time favorite of Andy veterans. Along with Man In A Hurry, this episode manages to wrap up all of the qualities that have made this show legendary. The sterotypical "I laughed, I cried," but it rings true in this case.moreless

    THE BEST EVER!!! T. V. needs more programs like this. But alas, we do not have writers and produces today that can do this type of programs.

    I use this program in my church for adults. None could be better.

    Please do\'t ever colorize this original program.

    Thanks for the chance of reviewing this once =in= a lifetime production.
  • The meaning of life

    This is of course the most dramatic and emotional episode of the entire series. Watching Opie pick up the dead bird that he hit with his sling shot is a heart-tugging moment. It is the moment when Opie realizes that his actions have consequences. A moment we can all relate to. A moment that defines for us life and death. Ron Howard's acting in this is dead on--and one of the reasons why he was such a star. Andy and Barney are superb in the support of this young star--particularly Barney who acts much like Doctor Dolittle in one particular scene, as he explains how birds talk (!) A not to be missed episode.moreless
Jim Nabors

Jim Nabors

Gomer Pyle (1962-1964)

Parley Baer

Parley Baer

Mayor Stoner (1962-1963)

Ron Howard

Ron Howard

Opie Taylor (1960-1968)

Jack Burns

Jack Burns

Deputy Warren Ferguson (1965-1966)

Clint Howard

Clint Howard


Hal Smith

Hal Smith

Otis Campbell (1960-1967)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • 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. It is believed the other two birds made it OK.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Aunt Bee: (comes out onto the porch) Breakfast, everybody!
      Opie: I can't come in right now, Aunt Bee. I just can't.
      Andy: Come in as quick as you can.
      Opie: Okay.
      Aunt Bee: Why is Opie actin' so strange?
      Andy: Well, the boy's facin' up to some awful unusual problems. Fact is... Opie's just become a mother.

    • (Opie's on the porch; Andy comes out to get him)
      Andy: What'cha doin'?
      Opie: Fixin' some breakfast.
      Andy: Oh, what sort of things you fixin'?
      Opie: Bugs and worms and things.
      Andy: Oh. Bugs and worms and things, huh? Sounds like another recipe out of the newspaper.
      Opie: No. It's for the little birds. I got to thinkin' last night that since their ma ain't comin' back and since it's my fault and since just bein' sorry won't help, I'm gonna take over and feed 'em.
      Andy: Oh, you are?
      Opie: Uh-huh. And, Pa, there's three of 'em. I call 'em Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod.
      Andy: Them's fine bird names.

    • (Opie's feeding the birds in the nest in the tree; Andy and Barney are below, watching)
      Barney: Oh, I almost forgot. I brought you somethin': tweezers. Here, feed 'em with that instead of usin' your fingers.
      Opie: Thanks, Barney.
      Barney: (to Andy) All wild creatures shy away from anything with man smell.
      Andy: Yeah?
      Barney: You got your spores on it, they won't go anywheres near it.
      Andy: Oh.
      Barney: Fella huntin' the big stuff on one of them African safaris found out about that. You wanna bait your trap for tiger or somethin' like that, main rule is: never to touch the food with your hands.
      Andy: Huh. That's good to know. Next time I go tiger huntin', I'm gonna take my tweezers.
      (Barney looks at him annoyed)

    • (Opie lets the birds go; they fly into the tree and start singing)
      Opie: Cage sure looks awful empty don't it, Pa?
      Andy: Yes, son, it sure does. But don't the trees seem nice and full.

    • (Opie's feeding the birds in their cage)
      Opie: Nod's not as pretty as the other two.
      Andy: Well, that won't make any difference. He'll catch up.
      Barney: Sure he will. You know what they say... "Homely at the cradle, pretty at the table."

  • NOTES (4)

    • In this episode is unique in that only the four original cast members appear (Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, and Frances Bavier) with no other actors guest starring.

    • 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.

    • TV Guide named this episode as one of the greatest episodes of all time.

    • This episode served as the basis for the 1998 "The Simpsons" episode, "Bart the Mother."


    • The title of this episode is possibly an allusion to the 1963 film The Birdman of Alcatraz, the story of Robert Stroud, a surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation who redeems by becoming a renowned bird expert. Opie too was, in a sense, a killer who redeems himself by becoming a bird expert.