Ornithophobia is a type of specific phobia, an abnormal, irrational fear of birds.



Ornithophobia can cause the following symptoms: breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, or a full-blown anxiety attack.

In popular culture

  • Alfred Hitchcock's horror film The Birds is often used as an example of ornithophobia. Although in the film, the birds do attack humans, so it is rational for the humans to be afraid of the birds.
  • Lulu from True Jackson VP is somewhat afraid of birds, making her ornithophobic. As she mentions to True in one episode, "They give me the creeps, but I'm not sure why." In another episode, Lulu freaks out when a bird lands on her head.
  • Randy on My Name is Earl is afraid of birds. In one episode Earl tries to help Randy overcome it.
  • Shale from Dragon Age suffers from a fear of birds. The golem often comments on "crushing the vile feathery fiends" and shows disgust when Shale and Alistar have a conversation about eating chickens.
  • Mitchell Pritchett from Modern Family is afraid of birds, as seen in the season one finale "Family Portrait" and the season two premiere "The Old Wagon."
  • GLaDOS from Portal develops a severe phobia of birds after almost being eaten by one in Portal 2 while stuck in a potato battery.
  • Courtney Tomlinson is irrationally afraid of birds.
  • Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory lists the condition as one of his phobias and even discusses the issue with a small child named Rebecca who shares the condition in the 13th episode of the second season entitled "The Friendship Algorithm". In Season 5, Episode 9, "The Ornithophobia Diffusion", the episode's Sheldon plot centred around his confronting and eventual overcoming of this condition.

See also


  • London L.S., Ailurophobia and ornithophobia, Psychiatr Q. 1952;26(3):364-71.
  • Calef V., Alcoholism and ornithophobia in women, Psychoanal Q. 1967;36(4):584-7.