Animals in OUAT Pt 1 – Birds in OUAT

Even though much of the story centers around humans and the choices they make in Once Upon a Time, animals play interesting roles, also. This time we will look at the role of birds in OUAT.

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Animals in OUAT Part 1

Birds in OUAT


Snow and her connection with birds

Early in the Pilot we see Snow and Mary Margaret hold bluebirds in their hands. It seemed that the birds were very comfortable with Snow/Mary Margaret, almost drawn to them. Many times in Classic Fairy Tale stories, characters had a connection to animals in general (Animals even helped them with tasks; delivering a message, cleaning up a dirty house, completing a dress, etc). Even though a character like Snow White had no magical power, her kindness led to this connection to birds. However, evil also gives some characters connections to birds (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Evil Queen, Maleficent, etc.).



Except, when she went dark in “Heart of Darkness (1X16)”, ya know? 😉


In the 7:15AM (1X10) episode, birds were part of the core storyline in Storybrooke.

Dr. Thatcher: Well, this is a north Atlantic dove. It’s a migratory species. Very unique among American doves. They tend to form strong, monogamous bonds, meaning-

MMB: If I don’t get her back to her flock, she’ll be alone forever.

Dr. Thatcher: Well, it’s a long shot, but the alternative…

(He puts the dove into a cage.)

Dr. Thatcher: She’ll heal, but she won’t be happy here.

MMB: I’ll take my chances. Thank you, Doctor.

Dr. Thatcher: You’re welcome. Good luck.

(Dr. Thatcher leaves. Mary Margaret takes the dove’s cage and goes to leave.)

David: Mary Margaret, there’s a storm coming. You really shouldn’t go out there.

MMB: Well, the storm’s coming tomorrow. If I wait, she could be lost forever. Completely alone. No one deserves that.

In the Fairy Tale Land storyline, we are introduced to the concept of doves delivering written messages between Charming and Snow.


We also see this again in the episode, “Broken” (2X1) when August sent Neal/Baelfire a postcard when that the curse had been broken.



In the “Into the Deep” (2X8) episode, Cora sends a message via a Raven to Snow concerning the ultimatum about returning the compass.



In the episode “Shattered Sight,” (4X11) Snow mentions that she talks to birds:

Snow: You know what, Swiss Miss? You do know me. I pick flowers. I talk to birds. [Whispers] I do all kinds of warm, fuzzy things. And you know what else? I kill. Yeah, that’s right. [Singsongy] Snow White’s a murderer. I killed the Evil Queen’s mommy. And I said I was sorry… [Singsongy] And it didn’t mean it.

Elsa: That’s horrible.

Snow: Still wanna hold hands, sing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah”?

More Birds delivering messages

Hook mentioned in “Witch Hunt” (3X13) that a bird brought his the un-forgetting potion AND directions of how to use it. That was some bird!

David: (turning to Hook) I don’t understand: If you left the Enchanted Forest before the curse, how did you know to find Emma and come to Storybrooke?
Hook: As I was sailing the realms a bird landed on my ship’s wheel with a note instructing me to retrieve Emma and bring her back here. There was a small vial of memory potion tied to its leg.
Mary Margret: Who send it?
Hook: I assumed you did.
David: A message via bird—that does sound like you.

Trivia Question: Do you remember who sent the memory potion (via the incredible strong bird) to Hook?

Click to reveal the answer
It was Baelfire. RIP Baelfire.

Bird confusion

Dove or Pigeon? During the “7:15AM” (1X10) episode, we see what is called a dove in the dialogue, but there was much discussion of whether it was a dove or a pigeon.


Trivia: In a rare occurrence, The Storybrooke Pet Hospital space in Steveston was used for Exterior and Interior filming

Storybrooke Pet Shelterrev

Storybrooke Pet Shelter Interior 1rev

Storybrooke Pet Shelter Interior 2rev

Crow or Raven? In an article posted here > it describes a cool sound addition giving Regina an audible “entrance” as a nod to the Disney films version of the Evil Queen.

“Another character who has her own theme is Regina, the evil queen in Fairy Tale land and the mayor in Storybrooke. Continuously surrounded by crows in fairy tale land, sound designers introduced the evil queen’s trademark pet more subtly in Storybrooke, editing in a crow ambience track whenever Regina is around. While faint to the audience, the crew of Once Upon A Time is very keen on the crow sound. “Every time we hear it on the stage,” Fleming jokes, “we like to say ‘you’ve been crowed.’””

This idea that the sound of crows relaying a message was taken one step further in a discussion on Once Podcast about the episode “Sympathy for the De Vil” (4X19) when Emma takes a step down the path to darkness. Note: Please click on the excerpt below to read more of the article.

Towards the end of the episode after Emma killed Cruella, crows were heard when Emma was shown. In Once Upon a Time, crows were typically used when Regina was in her Evil Queen mode. Was that a sign that Emma is changing?

The Queen clears it up for us. In a very cool deleted scene in the OUAT Season 4 Blu Ray when Rumpel interrogated Regina (in full Evil Queen regalia) about the disappearance of Belle, clears up that she uses Crows, not Ravens.

Were there any other instances where birds were used in Once Upon a Time?

Do you listen to podcasts about Once Upon a Time? If not, please read our post entitled, The 5 Reasons YOU should listen to OUAT Podcasts.

Okay, One more – remember that tall, bald guy that worked for Mr. Gold in “Skin Deep” (1X12)?


This guy making a very bad day for Moe French.


Well, that member of Gold’s posse is – wait for it – The Dove. That’s his name.

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