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Neil Young – The Bird Album

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Listen to this playlist in full by clicking here.

Today I sat down and started creating a playlist composed of classic rock songs about birds. I was about a dozen tracks into the mix and was digging both the famous and obscure picks about our fine feathered friends, (Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Police, Neil Young) when… wait… what Neil Young bird song should I select?

There were too many great options to decide on a single one.

After working for an hour on the original classic rock bird song playlist, I scrapped it for a later date, and decided to concentrate on crafting a Neil Young only avian-centric playlist. I simply could not let another moment pass without bringing this into existence.

birdyoung.jpgThe fruits of my labor rendered this Neil Young compilation I call The Bird Album. It features 11 songs written about, inspired by, or that mention birds in the lyrics. Sure, it sounds like an odd way to put together a mixtape, but with an artist as legendary as Neil Young, it really works.

It’s essentially a new Neil Young album focused around a single subject, as opposed to another greatest hits package featuring the same radio hits that appear in any Neil Young mixtape you can dig up. For me, a collection like this injects more interest into the mix, and can recap songs you haven’t heard in quite some time. Do you really need to hear “Heart of Gold” or “Needle and the Damage Done” again? Sure they’re great songs, but these tracks help me look at Neil in a new light while still listening to his old stuff.

And if you’re a fan of birds in any way, shape, or form, this is a must have playlist.


1. “Helpless” (big birds flyin’ across the sky…) with CSN&Y

2. “Birds”
3. “Hawks And Doves”
4. “Little Wings”
5. “War of Man” (the black falcon or the little sparrow…)
6. “Thrasher” 
(the eagle/vulture glides desending…)
“Revolution Blues” (that was me with the doves…)
8. “
Motion Pictures (For Carrie)” (ducks are calling…)
“The Old Homestead” (prehistoric bird…)
“Danger Bird” 
11. “Expecting To Fly” – with Buffalo Springfield

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About Robert of the Radish

  • Interesting concept you have come up with here. And coming from as odd a bird as Neil Young, one that makes perfect sense. So can I get you to burn me a copy?


  • JC Mosquito

    Didn’t Zuma have a big ol’ bird drawing on it?

  • I’d add a 12th track. Obscure, but a fitting end of the playlist. “Like an Inca”

    “Said the Condor, to the praying mantis, we’re gonna loose this place, just like we lost Atlantis.”


  • You forget “Let’s Impeach the President” where Young flips Bush the bird.

  • Gubbe-Norway

    One obscure one; “Silver Wings” from the club-shows with The Ducks, Santa Cruz 1977

  • Doug, Great catch on “Like an Inca”. I always forget about “Trans”. 12 songs is better than 11 and the lyrics in “Like an Inca” certainly make the cut. Thanks!

  • Spiderant

    Great concept. I love the artwork as well. Is this one or your own works?

    Another Neil Young song with a reference to birds is from Greendale. “Grandpa’s Interview” talks about Jed, who’s in jail because he killed a police officer. The lines polarize his confinement with the image of a bird flying across the sky:

    Outside the jail window
    a crow flew across the sky,
    completely disappearing behind each bar.

    I love the way Neil sings these lines, with a particular lilt in his voice giving special emphasis. As is common with his music, there is a sense of something greater hidden. The crow is particularly apt in this song because it parallels another type of bird, but of a man made type: a helicopter, that ultimately becomes a harbinger of death for grandpa. Thanks again.


  • Look4wrd

    Flying on the Ground is Wrong

  • alewtoo

    Great compilation! I’m always making theme tapes and had the same idea about doing one all about bird songs.Thinking some of Neil’s were too obscure, i left some out.I’m glad you didn’t.Didn’t he say something about hunting birds on Prairie Wind also?

  • matt

    Shots (faster than a bird)
    Crying eyes (free bird)
    Expecting to fly (feathers)

  • o_black

    It’s a Dream:
    “In the morning when I wake up and listen to the sound
    Of the birds outside on the roof”
    “And the young birds call out to be fed”

  • i found this very very interesting.. at first i found the idea of just songs about birds.. but then this kind of “close up” to neil young.. rocks!
    i have a blog in spanish.. (because i speak spanish) and i will talk about this article cause i think it is really great.. hope you don’t mind.. of course i’ll say it was you who did this!

    ps: nice art too!

    i should do one on trees!


  • Mike McNulty

    It’s great that you’ve done a theme on birds in Neil Young. I noticed it too. Some other song writers also talk about birds a lot; Paul McCartney for one. As a birdwatcher and bird lover I feel somewhat vindicated by support from great artists like these guys.

    Oh Yeah, how come Beautiful Bluebird didn’t make this list?