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Balloon-Bursting Bird

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You've got a big balloon. The balloon is so big that you're actually floating up into the air. But what's this? A bird is approaching your balloon and you suddenly realize how sharp the beak is... POP!!!

If you have a party balloon or some other inflatable (inner tube, hot air balloon, weather balloon, etc), it always seems that there's a bird around to break it. Usually Played for Laughs, especially in cartoons — yet if you're floating high up in the air....

Could overlap with Bubble Gum Popping, if bubble gum is involved. See also Bird-Poop Gag, for which birds use other ways to ruin the characters as gags.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: Team Rocket's hot air balloon is prone to bursting, and if an avian Pokemon is involved, you can bet that's how it's going to pop. Especially if the Pokemon in question belongs to Ash Ketchum.
  • Aoi the dragon serves as this to Hana's first balloon in Hana the Fox Girl. Hana loses her grip on her balloon, Aoi goes up to get it, and it pops in his face.
  • In episode 45 of Jewelpet Twinkle, Labra is sent to Akari's school to inform Yuuma that Akari has something to give him on the school rooftop. Labra floats to her destination with balloons tied around her, but some birds pass by and pop them all.

    Asian Animation 
  • Motu Patlu: In "Photography Competition", Motu and Patlu float into the sky with balloons tied around them to get a better view of the bird they want to photograph. The bird, who is fed up with Motu and Patlu following it around, angrily pecks at the balloons, popping them.
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Patang Hurdang", Samosa, Jalebi, and Dhokla are trying to save Vada, who is being carried up into the sky by Samosa's kite. One of the methods they try to get to him is to inflate Dhokla and make a hot air balloon out of him, which eventually fails when a bird appears and pops a hole in him.

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe's pet laughing gull hates balloons with a passion. At one point it crosses paths with a hot-air balloon, and the next panel has the now grounded occupant saying "I don't know, there was a kind of sadistic laughter and the next thing I knew, pffffft!"
  • A Smurf-sized bird does this to a soap bubble that a Smurf is riding around inside of in The Smurfs comic book story "The Flying Smurf".

    Comic Strips 
  • One comic of The Far Side had a pair of aerial balloonists staring up in horror at a woodpecker about to burst their hot-air balloon.
  • In one Krazy Kat strip, Ignatz attaches a magnet to a balloon to get Krazy's iron helmet off. Enter a woodpecker...

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1963 horror film The Birds involves said avians attacking a little girl's birthday party. During the assault, the birds pop a number of balloons.
  • The 1995 Australian movie Napoleon (1995) opens with the title character, a Golden retriever puppy, floating away in a basket with helium balloons. A bird gets him down by popping all the balloons; the puppy lands unharmed.

  • One entry from Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge, a series of children's encyclopedias from The '70s, features a history and overview of aircraft hosted by Pete. As balloons were covered, one humorous illustration shows an anxious Pete begging a bird not to pop his hot-air balloon.
  • Five Weeks in a Balloon: The protagonists are unlucky enough to come upon a flock of condors which pierce their balloon. Thankfully, it has a secondary, spare shell on the inside, but they still need to frantically toss stuff overboard to avoid a catastrophic fall.
  • One Sesame Street book is about Oscar the Grouch trying to get away from the readers. At one point, he outfits his trashcan with a hot-air balloon and takes to the skies. At first, everything is fine... until Oscar notices a single bird flying a little too close for his tastes...

    Live-Action TV 
  • A variant in an early episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Monster of the Week, a giant crow named The Peckster in the US version, is tricked by the Black Ranger into pecking a bunch of helium balloons, the last of which turns out to be a playground ball that traps the monster's beak long enough to take him down. Unusually for this trope, the balloons are normal-sized while the bird is human-sized.
  • On Batman (1966), the Death Trap of the week has Batman and Robin tied up and sent up in a hot-air balloon. When the balloon reaches 20,000 feet, the basket they are in will disconnect. The Dynamic Duo escape by 1) plugging the altimeter on the balloon with a piece of used gum a mook dropped, and 2) Robin attracting a bird via bird calls to puncture the balloon so they'd be able to get back down.

    Print Media 
  • The tie-in magazine for 3-2-1 Contact would publish computer games written in BASIC to run on your computer during The '80s. One of the games, called "Pop!", carried an illustration of a computer blowing bubble gum and spotting a bird ready to pop the bubble.

    Video Games 
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Subverted in one tabletop electronic game version of Donkey Kong Jr. The port added a few things not in the original arcade game such as umbrellas to float down on and balloons to float up on. Birds are your enemies - but they're not the ones who can pop the balloons; that's done by a sharp tree branch at the top of the game screen.
    • In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Parry the Parallel bird serves this function, flying a little bit over head the Kongs.
  • Birds could pop Alice's balloons in the 1990 Game Boy game Balloon Kid.
  • In Point Blank, one of the shooting mini-games involved protecting Dr. Dan or Dr. Don from birds, since they were floating on balloons over shark-infested waters.
  • In the second Simon the Sorcerer game, after you use three balloons to get to the castle treasure room through a window, a bird bursts all three balloons when you leave the room.
  • You can aim a bird toward balloons in Angry Birds in many levels. Popping lets the stuff the balloon was holding up crash on what's below it.
  • An early Macintosh game named Hot Air Balloon has you controlling the altitude of the titular balloon as it drifts past various obstacles, including flying birds.
  • Banjo-Tooie has a Balloon Burst Challenge, though this uses Airborne Egg Aiming rather than Kazooie's beak attack.
  • In Blue's Journey for the Neo Geo, a bird pierces the balloon carrying Blue across the title screen, landing him in literally the same boat as his green companion.
  • One minigame in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has you steering a big Kargaroc (basically a monstrous vulture) to pop fruit-shaped balloons for points.
  • In the Wii Play: Motion minigame "Flutter Fly", where you must use a leaf to fly balloons around, ravens might come around and try to pop one of your balloons.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • The 1970 Beary Family cartoon "The Unhandy Man" has Charlie Beary trying to install a garage door opener on his own. One of his attempts to get his garage door open involves a big balloon, which fails when a bird pops the balloon.
  • Woody Woodpecker did this, too, when opponents used balloons.
  • Inspector Gadget experienced this first-hand in his very first episode.note 
  • A variation happened in one episode of the animated Dennis the Menace (US). Mr. Wilson parachutes from a plane, but a bird pecks at his parachute - leading to a long drop.
    • It happened again in another cartoon episode when Dennis gets accidentally caught up in a hot-air balloon race. A flock of birds burst one of the hot-air balloons.
  • In the Valentine's Day episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob's gift for Patrick is a hot air balloon made of chocolate. Sandy is to fly it to the carnival but is delayed when scallops (which act as birds on the show's setting) try to eat the balloon.
    • The final shot of the episode "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost" shows a nervous Squidward encased in a giant bubble floating in the sky, surrounded by sea gulls.
  • One animated segment from Sesame Street had a Jerkass asking for a big, bigger, and biggest balloon (popping the first two he's offered); the biggest balloon causes him to fly up into the sky, but it gets popped by an equally big bird soon after.
    • In another Sesame Street insert, balloons shaped like the letters from A to Z were popped by a speeding bird.
    • In yet another animated insert, produced by Cliff Roberts, a bird demonstrated subtraction by popping balloons with its beak.
    • Another one had two balls (one white and one red). The white one holds the yellow balloon while the red one holds the orange balloon. A bird suddenly pops the yellow balloon and makes the white ball sad. Then another bird gives the white ball another yellow balloon and makes the white ball happy. Voiceover by Emilio Delgado (AKA Luis). First seen on episode #2477.
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "The Big Flub" revolves around an invention called Flubble Gum, which is a bubble gum allowing bubble blowers to fly. When Fenton Crackshell is floating around in the air, Scrooge McDuck mounts an improbable rescue scheme. Scrooge throws lots of Flubble Gum into a trash compactor along with water, mixes it up, and uses an air pump to blow a giant-sized bubble, causing Fenton's trailer to float into the sky. The rescue is successful, but a passing bird pecks at the bubble, bursting it and sending the trailer crashing to the ground.
  • Tweety was fond of this trope in a few Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird cartoons. When Sylvester would float with balloons or bubble gum, Tweety would usually pop them. But unlike the other avian examples, he would use a pin or slingshot rather than his beak.
  • In My Little Pony Tales, this happens to schoolgirls Patch and Bon-Bon while they ride a hot air balloon over an ocean, conveniently over some circling sharks.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Griffon The Brush Off" features a variant. Pinkie Pie tries to follow Rainbow Dash and Gilda the Griffon by strapping balloons to herself to float through the air. Gilda, unimpressed with Pinkie, tells her to scram before popping several of the balloons with her claws, sending her plummeting away.
  • Ruff and Reddy are in a hot air balloon to who-knows-where (story arc "The Treasure Of Skipper Kipper") when a buzzard attacks it.
    Narrator: Ever have one of those years when nothing seems to go right?
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: In "Bedlam In The Big Top," Scooby is caught up in a bunch of helium balloons and is floating up in the air. The ghost clown ("Watch the shiny coin of gold, and you will do what you are told!") throws darts at the balloons, causing Scooby to descend little by little.
  • Muppet Babies (2018):
    • In "Kermit Levels Up", Summer Penguin accidentally pops a balloon with her beak. In the same episode, she later uses her beak to clear some giant balloons from a level of a video game.
    • In "Best Pals Pizza Delivery", a flock of woodpeckers pop the hot air balloon that Kermit and Walter deliver to Wanda for her birthday.


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