Big Bird is an 8-foot, 2-inch yellow bird who lives on Sesame Street. Since Sesame Street premiered in 1969, Big Bird has entertained millions of pre-school children and their parents with his wide-eyed wondering at the world. Big Bird is also a bird who makes friends easily.
The world-famous bird has been a central character on Sesame Street for the program's run, premiering in the first episode. The big yellow bird can roller skate, ice skate, dance, sing, write poetry, draw, and even ride a unicycle — pretty talented for a character described in the TV show's writer's guide as a 6-year-old. But despite this wide array of talents, he's prone to frequent misunderstandings, on 1 occasion even singing the alphabet as one big long word, pondering what it could ever mean (see ABC-DEF-GHI). He lives in a large nest behind 123 Sesame Street and next to Oscar's trash can, and he has a teddy bear named Radar.
Big Bird helps children feel all right about not knowing everything because he himself does not know everything, and encourages them to inquire: a common Big Bird phrase in recent years has been "Asking questions is a good way of finding things out!" He also teaches other life, alphabet, and numerical lessons: "I guess it's better to be who you are. Turns out people like you best that way, anyway." 
For many years his best friend Mr. Snuffleupagus (who Big Bird calls Snuffy) was deemed as imaginary by the adults on Sesame Street. Every time Snuffy would visit, he would coincidentally leave just before the adults arrived. Despite not being believed by the adults, Big Bird continued to assert that Snuffy was real. In the early 1980s, a string of high-profile child sexual abuse cases caused Sesame Workshop (then Children's Television Workshop) to eliminate this running gag, fearing that children would take to heart the message that, if adults don't believe something out of the ordinary, they'd be just as well off to remain silent.
Big Bird took center stage on Sesame Street in the early 1980s, when the show dealt with the death of storekeeper Mr. Hooper (necessitated by the death of Will Lee, the actor who played the role). Big Bird got confused when he tried to go into Hooper's Store to give Mr. Hooper his drawing Big Bird made of and for him. The adults, including Maria, David, Bob, Susan, Gordon, and Luis tell Big Bird that Mr. Hooper is not coming back because he's dead and when people die, they don't come back. ("Ever?" "No, never") Big Bird's realization that Mr. Hooper wasn't just gone temporarily, and Big Bird's acceptance of Mr. Hooper's death, have been hailed as a milestone in children's programming.
Big Bird starred in the PBS pledge drive special Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake, in which he turned six. Previous to this, Big Bird was referred to on the show as being four years old. The exceptions to this are the feature film Follow That Bird, in which the Bird is six, and the 1989 special Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, in which he says to host Bill Cosby he is 6. Big Bird's birthday is March 20th.
Big Bird starred on the big screen in Follow That Bird, in which he is sent by Miss Finch, a bird social worker, to live with a foster family of Dodos. He soon runs away from his new home to get back to Sesame Street and he is kidnapped and dyed baby blue by two ratty circus-owners. He also had a role in the feature film The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland and starred in the feature-length specials Big Bird in China and Big Bird in Japan.
Big Bird is generally referred to as a canary. However, when he visited the Neighborhood of Make-Believe on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, he told King Friday XIII that "actually, I'm a golden condor." One cartoon insert compared and contrasted Big Bird with "The Noble Ostrich." In an appearance on Hollywood Squares, when Peter Marshall asked "What kind of a bird are you, by the way?", Big Bird immediately replied that "I'm a lark." (YouTube) Also, when Oscar the Grouch (who often calls him "Turkey") learned from Maria that Big Bird went missing on "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street", he reminds her that Big Bird is "part homing pigeon". Also, in this special, Oscar seems to (unintentionally) show that he has a soft spot for Big Bird, as he says he's going to find and bring him back home.
Big Bird also appeared in cameo roles in the films The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan and the television special A Muppet Family Christmas, and as a guest on The Muppet Show episode 318, plus a variety of outside TV appearances.
Big Bird lives alone on Sesame Street, essentially adopted by the general neighborhood. Of all the people in his neighborhood, Susan and Gordon are most likely legally responsible for the 6-year-old, given their recurring parental role towards Big Bird. His apparent lack of family has never been addressed directly on the show, although he does make mention of having spent time with a mother, a father, and a sister in the song "Tall Enough." As a baby, Big Bird was raised by his Granny Bird and his aunt, Nani Bird. As he became more self-reliant, Big Bird moved out on his own, to his nest on Sesame Street. Granny Bird remains a part of his life; he's visited her beach side house in various books, and she helped reconstruct his nest after the hurricane that destroyed it.
However, there is scattered evidence of other relations. In a third season episode, Big Bird receives a coat from his mommy in the mail. In another third season episode Big Bird babysits for his sister's egg. Big Bird also mentions his mother, father and sister in the song "Tall Enough". He also mentions a mother, father, and sister in a song about his early days of roller skating called "Everyone in my Family." It's unclear why Big Bird was raised apart from his nuclear family. Maybe eight-foot-tall birds just do things differently.
Other relatives include the following:
Additionally, the birds from several international co-productions have been designated as cousins of Big Bird:
Although Big Bird does know his family, in the book Big Bird's Bedtime Story, Luis tells Big Bird's back story, stating that a large egg was delivered to Hooper's Store one day, and the various residents of Sesame Street chose to build a nest for it and took care of it until it hatched. However, the story is probably not considered canon because it features a few characters who were not around when the series began (such as David and Luis).
As Caroll Spinney has aged, the show has gradually started to train new performers to play Big Bird. These apprentices include both Rick Lyon in the opening theme song of the show's 20th, 25th, and 33rd seasons and Matt Vogel in the show's Journey to Ernie segment. Sometimes, Matt Vogel performs in the Big Bird puppet, with Caroll Spinney dubbing all his lines in later, though Vogel has also performed the voice on occasion.
Caroll Spinney was sick during the taping of a few first season episodes, so Daniel Seagren performed Big Bird in those episodes. He also performed Big Bird when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969, and in a number of Sesame Street Cast Tours in 1970. The costume was originally built for Jim Henson to perform, but when he tried it on, Kermit Love, who had built the costume, didn't think that he was walking like a bird is supposed to walk. Henson then offered the part to Frank Oz, but since Oz hated performing full-body characters, he turned down the job.
The Big Bird performer is completely enclosed within the costume and extends his right hand over his head to operate the head and neck of the puppet. The Muppeteer's left hand serves as the Bird's left hand, while the right hand is stuffed and hangs loosely from a fishing line that runs through a loop under the neck and attaches to the wrist of the left hand. For some of the "Journey to Ernie" segments, a second puppeteer (usually Jim Martin) controls Big Bird's right hand.
When Spinney is performing on-location and cannot get a video feed on his television monitor, a hole is made in the bird suit to give Spinney the ability to see out in front of him. In these occasions, Big Bird wears a neck tie at all times to hide the hole. Don't Eat the Pictures, Big Bird in China and Big Bird in Japan are all examples of this.
For years, Caroll Spinney had a policy of refusing to pose for photographs in half of the bird suit. He later explained why in an interview for The New Yorker:
Look magazine had an article on us in 1970. Big Bird was built a little differently then: He was strapped on me, and you couldn’t easily get out without an assistant reaching underneath and unbuckling things—now it slips right off, it’s much better. So I couldn’t get out. But you had to breathe after a while, so I was able to stick my head out between the body and the head, and they had a photo of me sticking my head out. And Jim Henson said, “Don’t let that ever happen again. You’re either bird or you, but no in between. 
|Cloud: I couldn't finish 'em. Looks like this's gonna get complicated.|
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|Final Fantasy II Enemy|
|NES Name||Big Bird|
|NES DSOP Name||Ostrich|
The Phorusracos, also known as Big Bird, is an enemy from Final Fantasy II. It appears as a random encounter around the area where the Palamecian army keeps its Dreadnought after launching it from Bafsk; and near Mysidia. It does not present much of a threat, and can be eliminated quite easily with physical attacks and offensive spells.