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Bluebird of Happiness
A king to marry and bluebirds to herald it.

There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover tomorrow,
Just you wait and see
There'll be love and laughter, and peace ever after, tomorrow,
When the world is free,
The shepherd will tend his sheep,
A valley will bloom again,
Jimmy will go to sleep in his own little room again
There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover tomorrow,
Just you wait and see
(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

Feeling blue? Don't! Look, there's a bluebird perched there!

Perhaps it's because they're a shade of Heavenly Blue, but bluebirds are symbols of happiness — and this indeed, covers several entirely different species of songbirds, as long as they have blue feathers.

A common plot is to go on The Quest for one only to return home empty-handed and find it was already there. Outlining the Aesop that home is where you will find happiness is optional. While they have learned to recognize it from the quest, it's usually not It's the Journey That Counts, because it is usually treated as something they should have recognized even before.

Besides this MacGuffin status, they can also be local color, but because of the symbolism, they are seldom the Loyal Animal Companion.

As true bluebirds are only native to North America, any of them showing up in Europe is Misplaced Wildlife.

Examples

Film — Animated
  • In Tangled, the birds flitting about Rapunzel after her descent were bluebirds.
  • Song of the South: "Mr. Bluebird is on my shoulder... It is the truth, it's actual, everything is satisfactual..."
  • At the end of Yellow Submarine, the Chief Blue Meanie decides a Heel-Face Turn is natural for him because "my cousin is the Bluebird of Happiness."
  • Snow White sings to one.
    • Shrek parodies this, having Fiona sing to one... causing it to explode.
  • A scene in "The Rescuers" uses the bluebird as a symbol of "faith ... you see from afar."

Film — Live Action
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Maid Marion encounters a "happy little bluebird" as she sings about finding her true love.
    "Oof! That happy little bluebird has left a happy little doo-doo on your hand."
  • The Sesame Street film Follow That Bird subverts this. The captured Big Bird, painted blue by the Sleaze Brothers, is anything but happy.
  • Sadko, in both the original Russian and the English dub, has Sadko/"Sinbad" searching for the Bluebird of Happiness to bring joy to his homeland. He finds a magical bird, but it only brings sleep with its song, not happiness, resulting in the classic "happiness was home all along" ending.
  • (500) Days of Summer homages this during a (rather hilarious) scene where Tom is having a musical-like fantasy of victorious happiness after the first time he has sex with Summer. People in the street smile and shake his hand as they congratulate him, dancing in joyous celebration, and a little animated bluebird lands on his finger.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie's return to the bright and cheerful Toontown has little bluebirds chirping greetings.
  • In K-PAX, the mental patient/possible extraterrestrial prōt (Kevin Spacey) tasks his obsessive-compulsive fellow patient Howie with "finding the Bluebird of Happiness". Rather than his usual routines, Howie sits quietly in front of the windows for days, watching the trees. When the Institute is unexpectedly visited by a blue jay, he erupts into an ecstatic frenzy, and his joy is contagious to the rest of the patients and even the staff.
  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz mentions bluebirds.

Literature
  • Parodied in Hogfather, when the Cheerful Fairy manifests with the Blue Bird of Happiness on her shoulder. It's a blue chicken.
  • In K-PAX the book, like in the movie, prot exhorts his fellow asylum inmates to find the "blue bird of happiness," and they eventually glimpse a literal one.
  • in Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots, the Princess unsurprisingly has bluebirds among her helpful animal companions.
  • In Jennifer Crusie's Maybe This Time, Andie's brother-in-law had given her hoop earrings with bluebirds — bluebirds of happiness, he had told her.

Live-Action TV

Music
  • The vocaloid song "Desert Bluebird" by mothy is about two sibling going to search for a bluebird that can grant any wish, in a world After the End, destroyed by (apparently) a nuclear war, As it turns out they DO find the bluebird but it was in an old nuclear base, the radiation makes the older sister die, and the younger brother wishes to the bird to revive her, it does, and then dissapears the song end with the sibling saying that they should rebuild the world with their own hands
  • There was a hit song in 1934 called "The Bluebird of Happiness" which, according to The Other Wiki, is probably the origin of the American phrase (though the concept is much older in Europe).
  • The lyrics of the They Might Be Giants song "Birdhouse in Your Soul", by John Linnell, include the phrase "blue bird of friendliness."
  • "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover": World War II song urging hope.
  • The Wings song "Bluebird" uses the bluebird to represent freedom. The singer refers to himself as a bluebird, and tells his love that if he kisses her, she'll turn into a bluebird, too, so that they can escape together across the sea.
  • "Big Rock Candy Mountain" chiefly cites the charms directly — lemonade streams and hens that lay soft-boiled eggs, but it does invoke the bluebird as symbolic:
    Where the bluebird sings
    On the big rock candy mountain

Newspaper Comic
  • The Far Side had one strip where a man is abandoned by the Bluebird of Happiness, and is instead visited by the Chicken of Depression.
  • There was a Pearls Before Swine Sunday comic where Pig receives a visit from the Bluebird of Happiness, which makes Pig really happy since he never received a visit from such a bird. Subverted afterwards, when it turns out that the Bluebird actually had the wrong address, because he held the directions upside-down, and was really looking for Joseph C. Skalabonsky, so he flies away, leaving Pig sad and alone once again.
  • In Prickly City, a bluebird came up to and sang to a moping Carmen — she observes: "No anguish goes unchallenged."

Theater

Video Games
  • There's a level with a "red bird of happiness" in Super Mario Sunshine.
  • Tokimeki Memorial 2 has, among its numerous Image Songs, one called "Aoi Tori" (Blue Bird). It's a Kaori Yae image song, in which the blue bird is the symbol of the main protagonist, who came into Kaori's wounded heart, telling her she's not alone, and bringing her happiness and love.
  • The Earthbound theme song "Pollyanna" has the following verse:
    I believe there'll come a day
    Maybe it will be tomorrow.
    When the blue bird flies away
    All we have to do is follow (it).
    I believe a dream can still come true,
    Why shouldn't I believe the same in you?
  • Inverted nastily in Odin Sphere. While the cruel bird that represents Gwendolyn's self-doubt is never named, it might as well be called the Bluebird of Unhappiness.
  • Played With in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, or rather in its Show Within a Show A Blue Dove for the Princess: in this case, it's the Blue Dove who goes out on a quest to find a cure for the sick Princess, only to discover that he should have stayed with her all along upon return.
  • Harvest Moon games have you propose to your spouse with a blue feather. While many games simply have you buy the feather from the store (apparently the grocer knows everyone's business and knows when he needs to start stocking feathers) or have the Mayor give it to you, some mention the bird by name and at least one makes you climb a mountain in order to find the bird and pick up a feather it's moulted.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, the optimistic Luna wears a bluebird necklace.
    • The campaign to get VLR a sequel was called Operation Bluebird.

Webcomics
Babies Ever AfterHappiness TropesCall to Agriculture
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Big Badass Bird of PreyAvian TropesCircling Birdies
Blank SlateWe Are Not Alone IndexBody Sushi
BizarrchitectureImageSource/ArtBling of War

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