Published on July 2, 2016
“Feed the Birds” is a song written by the Sherman Brothers (Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman) and featured in the 1964 motion picture Mary Poppins. The song speaks of an old beggar woman (the “Bird Woman”) who sits on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, selling bags of breadcrumbs to passers-by for tuppence a bag so that they can feed the many pigeons which surround the old woman. (The scene is reminiscent of the real-life seed sellers in Trafalgar Square.) It is reputed to have been Walt Disney’s favorite song.
In the book, Mary Poppins accompanies the children, on the way to tea with their father, to give money to the bird woman to feed the birds. In the movie, on the way to the bank, their father discourages the children from feeding the birds, while Mary Poppins, who had sung the song to the children the previous night, was on her day off. Academy Award winner Jane Darwell played the Bird Woman, her last screen appearance.