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An animated character who has been stunned, usually by blunt head trauma, will display a "halo" of twittering birds or twinkling stars orbiting his head at or above eyebrow level. Sometimes it's just circles or whirls spinning around. The character's eyes will most of the time also individually rotate around their sockets, sometimes in different directions. The character will also mostly be sitting down after being hit. This is a cartoon representation of "seeing stars". Upon recovery, the character will usually brush them away with an impatient or brusque sweep of his hands.

It is not uncommon for circling stars to sound like birds (cuckoo is very commonly added, although it's usually the cuckoo clock variation instead of the realistic version), even if it makes no sense. Similarly, this trope often occurs in live-action instances with just the sound effects of birds.

Occasionally, more idiosyncratic "satellites" will circle the character, usually related to either his personality or the task he was trying to accomplish when he was stunned. Unrelated to circling vultures, which foretell a rather worse fate than a mild concussion.

May also go with Non Sequitur Thud. Compare Concussions Get You High. Catching Some Zs is a similar visual effect for characters who went night-night the usual way.

An example of Editorial Synaesthesia.

Examples of Circling Birdies include:


  • In this commercial for Froot Loops from 1998, a teen hockey player gets knocked out during a game and hallucinates that he's playing against an entire team of Toucan Sams. When he comes to at the end, stars and Toucan Sams circle his head, as he asks "What's with all the birds?"
  • In this ad from the late 90s, circling birdies are replaced by circling sandwiches and jars of Miracle Whip after a boxer is punched by a Miracle Whip-slathered boxing glove (a "knuckle sandwich").
  • A late 2009 promo for WWE's Tables, Ladders & Chairs event featured cartoon birds circling wrestler Chris Jericho's head after he took a hard blow to the head with a metal chair. The ad was somewhat controversial, as some said it made light of the potentially serious head injuries professional wrestlers can face during a performance.
  • A Sprint ad for NFL Mobile Live in 2009 used this trope. As a frustrated fan stared at his phone, the announcer mentioned that fans were watching players' Twitter feeds without seeing a single tweet. A stray football then hits the fan in the head, and versions of the Twitter logo bird fly around his head.
  • This Moxie Girlz 3D commercial had one part where a girl was seeing objects circling her head.
  • In this iconic Sprite commercial, a boy's hard landing after a failed basketball dunk results in tiny basketballs and Sprite cans circling his head.
  • Japanese singer Tomohisa Yamashita experiences circling birdies after being on the receiving end of a cartoon character's punch in this Toshiba commercial
  • In this Cap'n Crunch commercial, a martial arts instructor (played by Simon Rhee) is knocked over silly, and sees pieces of Cap'n Crunch spin around his head, instead of birds.
  • In the late 80s/early 90s, the Swedish Chef of The Muppets fame had his own breakfast cereal, Croonchy Stars. This commercial features the circling stars version of this gag while showing the Chef making a batch of Croonchy Stars in "the Muppet Test Kitchen".

 Narrator: It seemed impossible, but then it hit him.

  • Cookie Crisp makes people have cookies for breakfast, but people say cookies are not for breakfast, but then say that cookies are for breakfast. This commercial uses bird sound effects when the teacher gets her taste of Cookie Crisp.
  • This McDonald's commercial used bird sound effects when Birdie crashed after she failed to land.

  Birdie: Now who's gonna teach me how to land?


Anime & Manga

  • In Dr. Slump the characters comment on that: "Wait, it's American, we're Japanese", and shoo out the birds, who swear as they fly away.
  • In Sakura Taisen: Ecole de Paris, Erica gets stunned several times; each time she gets a "halo" of little fluttering angels, and remarks on them.
  • Mahoro's circling birdies in Mahoromatic apparently are real, as they can be seen by other characters.
    • Although they appear when she's asleep, and continually multiply until she wakes up, leading to some... awkward situations when Suguru decides to observe her when she's dozing off.
      • That may have been SUGURU''s dream, as he was asleep at the time.
    • At one point in the second season, Mahoro's birdies are seen to re-enter her head when she wakes up. Only five this time, though.
    • Near the end of the manga, it is explained that Matthew (actually named "Arcadia Matthew Faye Ray") is an artificial intelligence, the birdies are part of her "sleep program", and that Mahoro was patterned after Matthew and/or the creator of Matthew, "Mahoro Matthew Faye Ray").
  • In the first episode of Best Student Council, Rino gets afflicted with these when Kaori bumps into her. Combined with a Talking in Your Sleep trope.
  • Soul Eater has Crona seeing stars after a good bash to the head from Stein's foot. He/she even says "Uwaa-- I can see stars... but I can't figure out how to play with them~"
  • The Pokémon anime sometimes features characters seeing circling bird-like Pokémon such as Pidgey or Torchic. There is also a low chance of circling stars.
    • Oddly enough, in one episode of the Pokémon Black and White TV series, Ash's Snivy got circling stars when she was confused by one of Trip's Pokémon, in which, in that case, was Trip's Frillish, who had used Water Pulse on Snivy.
    • Not to metion the Ditto at the begining Pikachu's Ghost Festival, in which the Ditto gets circling stars when it got hit on the head by a Cubone while Ditto was disguised as a Cubone.
  • In one arc of the manga Oh My Goddess!, and its second anime adaptation, Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy, there's a scene where Urd, who has been split into her demon and goddess halves, spins the two "round-and-round" so Keiichi, Belldandy, and Skuld can't tell which Urd is which, resulting in the Trope.
    • Happened earlier than that in the TV series, in Urd's debut episode. When Keiichi gets medicine for Belldandy, he gets a bonus "instructional video" from the pharmacist (Urd in disguise). When Urd leans in for a kiss, an intrigued Keiichi follows suit, and Urd somehow accidentally knees him in the chin, resulting in the Trope for Keiichi.
  • Happens to the title charcter of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor when he's knocked silly in one episode.
  • Seen a few times in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, both the stars and birdies variants. In the episode where Jean gets into a Mushroom Samba after eating mushrooms, Marie knocks him out with his own encyclopedia, and he keeps the Circling Birdies for a long time afterward, even commenting on seeing them.
  • During one scene of Sonic the Movie, after Metal Robotnik crashes into the sea, Robotnik explains about his plans. However, when he mentions that Sonic "will have to fight something more evil than Metal Robotnik," Sera hits Robotnik on the head, and stars circle Robotnik's head. This video has the entire scene.
  • Pokémon Special had this trope sometimes. For example, in Yellow, Gengar gets these when it gets hit by Dizzy Punch. Meanwhile, in Diamond and Pearl, Roark's Craindos gets circling Torchic after becoming confused by a Water Pulse attack.after Sebastian stripped Kit from his Own Tempo with Weepinbell's Gastro Acid.
  • In the Ruby/Sapphire quiz book, one of the pages shows a ring of birds (the usual confusion status condition) at the top right corner, and the question asks (in Japanese) which Pokémon would get confused by using a move, with the selections ranging from a Bellossom using Petal Dance, a Spinda using Flail, a Zangoose using Fury Swipes, and Rayquaza using a move. Of course, the correct answer section reveals that Bellossom would see this ring of birds after using Petal Dance, as Petal Dance confuses the user after some time.
  • In Pokémon special episode Big Meowth, Little Dreams, Meowth has circling Pikachus when he lands after being blasted off.
  • One episode of Naruto has Rock Lee seeing little Sakuras dancing around his head after being hit by her; they then stop to pretend to flirt with him before they all punch him again.
  • In episode 7 of Kotoura-san, this happens to Hiyori, after she bangs her head against the wall a few times to get rid of thoughts about Manabe and Haruka she doesn't want to have.note 
    • Happens to Chi in Chi's Sweet Home during Chapter 45 (or near the end of Episode 91 in the anime) after Juri is a little too rough with petting Chi (which is by shaking Chi's face). Which of course is different in the anime, where Chi sees circling hearts.
    • In episode 7 of "Dragon Ball Super", One of the character's father sees stars and planets.

"I'm seeing so many stars, it's like a galaxy!"

      • The 4Koma Pokémon 4Koma Plaza features some Japanese 4Koma about a certain Pokémon. One of them features a Skitty chasing a ball, only to trip over a rock. The Skitty sees stars circling its head after that, and then proceeds to chase the stars.
        • In episode 4 of Himouto Umaruchan, at the final segment of the episode, Umaru enters a fighting tournament under the persona of U.M.R., and it comes to the finals with Sylphynford being her final opponent, when Umaru notices that Sylphynford somehow saw through her 5-combo opening (and the fact that Sylphynford is proving to be a tough opponent) and gets determined to win after noticing that her brother is watching. However, Sylphynford claims that throwing the match is not a smart idea, but upon asking on what is so interesting and noticing that Alex is watching as well, Sylphynford is left stunned with birds flying around her head. Only when she finally realizes that her reaction is being watched does she run out in embarrassment, leaving Umaru the winner of the tournament by default. [1]

Films — Animation

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
    • Roger sees Circling Birdies after getting hit by a refrigerator while making a cartoon, but the director gets mad at him for not following the script: "It says 'Rabbit gets clonked, rabbit sees stars'. Not birds, stars!" Roger proceeds to repeatedly bash himself in the head, resulting in a whole series of revolving visions of everything but stars.
    • Later in the film, after Eddie goes to Toontown, he bumps his head getting out of his car and sees birdies, and shoos them away in disgust, giving one of them its own circle of something in the process.
    • Roger would eventually see stars later on, after — literally — getting a ton of bricks dropped on him. He regards their presence with, "Look, stars! Ready when you are, Raoul!"
  • In Aladdin, when Iago is knocked out by the Sultan flying on the magic carpet, he sees little flying sultans saying "Have a cracker! Have a cracker!"
  • In The Emperors New Groove, Kuzco sees llamas after being hit with a frying pan.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, Tunnu gets these when he was crashed by a ball hit by Maruti.
  • Near the end of the "Noah's Ark" segment of Fantasia 2000, Donald Duck is thrown against a wall after getting his foot stuck inside a rope holding up the door, and when he finally crashes down onto the floor, several animals on the ark can be seen circling his head (including a pair of non-anthro ducks).
  • In the The Adventures of Tintin, when the pickpocket is confronted outside his home by the police he tries to run away but we hear a crash off screen. Camera moves over to show him on the ground with little birds circling his head. The birds are in fact real and he had run into a woman who had just bought the birds at the pet store. The store owner can be seen catching the birds in a net.

Films — Live-Action

  • Fred Flintstone (John Goodman) sees circling pterodactyls after he's punched in the live-action film version of the The Flintstones as seen here.
  • Happens to George too many times to count in the two George of the Jungle films. One of the henchmen in the first film also hears birds after a punch, and Shep the elephant also sees circling stars and after unsuccessfully trying to use his head as a battering ram in the sequel.
  • Brendan Fraser is in a class by himself for this trope. Not only does he experience it about a half a dozen times as George, but he also hears tweeting birds in the live-action film version of Dudley Do-Right and a cut scene from Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
  • Michael Jordan sees circling birdies — more accurately, circling golf balls with bird wings — after a hard fall in Space Jam as seen here.
  • Animated birdies and stars circle Joe Torry's head after his character is punched in the comedy Sprung.
  • In The Scene, Jimmy Fallon hears tweeting birds after running head-first into a bus.
  • In Gremlins, Big Bad Stripe hears tweeting birds after getting knocked out moments before he sees the fountain.
  • In Toxic Avenger 2, in one scene, a japanese girl hears tweeting birds after getting punched in the face.


  • In the Discworld novel Moving Pictures, one of the minor side-effects that the motion picture industry has on the Disc's flexible reality level is that tweeting birds appear over the head of a wizard with concussion.
    • In the Science of Discworld, Ridcully mentions a wizard who "died of planets" (which presumably orbited his head).

Live-Action TV

  • Happens frequently on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide to characters following a head injury. At times, only the bird sound effects play, but other times animated birds and other objects circle the victims' heads. Recipients of the trope in the show include Ned, Billy Loomer, Cookie and Faymon Phorchin.
  • Fittingly, Spike TV's Knockout Sportsworld often appends circling birds and stars around the heads of the athletes in its clips.
  • Nickelodeon's Roundhouse enjoyed playing with this trope. While injured actors usually only heard the bird sound effect, in the episode Disaster, a cast member spun a mobile of stars around Ivan Dudynsky's head after a fall, and a castmate remarks that she can tell he's injured because of the tweeting birdies. In another episode, Dudysky is clonked with an anvil and says that he sees "stars," as a castmate spins a mobile with cutouts of Cher, Whoopi Goldberg and other Hollywod big names around his head.
  • Jimmy of Out of Jimmy's Head sees circling birdies a couple of times after being bonked with a mallet.
  • A wrestler felled by Slater sees flashing stars, accompanied by bird sound effects, in Saved by the Bell.
  • The boys of Big Time Rush sometimes experience this trope. James, for example, hears tweeting birds after a thrown shoe clonks him on the head in one episode.
  • On this episode of his eponymous Nickelodeon series, Nick Cannon asks an animator to turn him into a cartoon. The animator obliges, drawing a sketch of Nick who gets hit with an Illogical Safe, resulting in the trope. Nick then rethinks the wisdom of wanting to be a cartoon character.
    • Happens to Nick in another episode, in which Nick gets knocked silly while trying to slide into home in a baseball game, leaving him on his back and hearing tweeting bird sound effects.
  • Invoked in Scrubs. After running face-first into a door, J.D. remarks that he hit his head so hard he thought saw cartoon birds but then realized that he was just seeing the wallpaper in the pediatric ward.
  • Tory from Myth Busters sees a ring of birds circling head his after being knocked out during a kickboxing match, as seen here.
  • On a segment on Popular Mechanics for Kids, animated stars appear and bird sound effects play after host Jay Baruchel is beaned with a baseball.
  • You Can't Do That on Television used a bird sound effect after a head injury on rare occasions. Alasdair, for one, hears tweeting birds after a hard fall from the ceiling in the Wildlife/Animals episode. In one of the later episodes, Christian hears birds after the coach hits him on the head with a baseball bat. Strangely, the show never used the sound during the caveman sketches, which usually centered on finding a way for the caveman dad to bash his kids in the head with a club.
  • Unfabulous uses bird sounds in the episode The Toot. In a daydream sequence, Addie imagines herself passing gas with enough force to send her boyfriend Jake flying. He crashes into a soda machine and looks dazed as bird sounds play and soda cans clonk him on the head.
  • Mexico's version of the game show "Hole in the Wall" ("Aguas con el Muro") uses this trope on contestants who get knocked into the water. In this clip, for example, singer Adrian Varela sees circling dolphins after his fall.
  • American Idol used the bird sound effect in the audition phase of its 11th season when one contestant, Tyler Beach, banged his head on a low-hanging pipe when celebrating his golden ticket to Hollywood, as seen in this clip.
  • MTV's Room Raiders used bird sounds in one episode after a contestant banged his head on the top of a canopy bed.
  • During a stop-motion segment on a holiday episode of That 70s Show, Kelso is struck by lightning, falls to the ground and hears tweeting birds, as seen in this clip.
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, this is a frequent trope, yet it is always just the sound of chirping birds. Characters who have had it used on them include Xena (in The Furies), Gabrielle (in The King of Assassins), Eris (in Kindred Spirits), Philemon (in Warrior... Princess), Amarice (in Animal Attraction), Dr. Polly (in Send in the Clones), and Joxer (in nearly every episode he's in)

Music Videos

  • A cartoonized version of Cyndi Lauper experiences these when she's thrown from a motorcycle during the animated sequence in "She Bop."
  • Aaron Carter's music video for "That's How I Beat Shaq" uses bird sound effects near the end after Aaron's mother asks him whether he had hit his head.


  • The stage musical version of The Lion King invokes this trope. At the end of I Just Can't Wait to be King, the actor playing Zazu notices his bird puppet is gone. He asks, "Where is my bird?" before running smack into the wall at the side of the stage. Bird sound effects play as he staggers in a daze momentarily.
  • Used in "Hot Shoe Shuffle," a West End musical about five Australian tap-dancing brothers. When the youngest brother, Slide, is hit in the head by a door, he does a vaudeville-style dazed stagger while bird sound effects play. Adam Garcia originated the role, as seen here.
  • Used in the 2011 Broadway revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." In the "Grand Old Ivy" number, Finch (played first by Daniel Radcliffe and later by Darren Criss and Nick Jonas) is playing an imaginary football game and runs into a rather large player, which sends him flying in slow motion as bird sound effects play.
  • The 2008 version of "Broadway Bares," a burlesque parody of Alice in Wonderland, used bird sound effects near the end when Alice (fittingly for this trope, played by Mary Birdsong) accidentally bonked herself with the Queen of Hearts' scepter. Earlier in the show, Alice hit herself repeatedly on the head with a book in frustration and, in a daze, mentioned seeing "bunnies" afterward, which ushered in the first appearance of the White Rabbit.

Video Games

  • In Kingdom Hearts, whenever Donald Duck and Goofy (or any of your other companions, for that matter) are knocked out, stars circle their heads.
  • Unconscious guards in the Metal Gear Solid series are differentiated from dead guards by a little halo of stars merrily orbiting above their heads. As the guard gets closer and closer to waking up, one star at a time will cheerfully ascend heavenward and vanish. A guard with five stars won't be waking up for a while, but a guard with one star could open his eyes any time... (Weirdly enough, the MGS games are usually considered serious. Of course, it does fulfill a gameplay function.)
  • In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, when sneaking around the Gerudo Fortress, Link can stun Gerudo guards with either his Hookshot or arrows. If arrows are used, then the Gerudo falls down, and has stars circling her head.
  • In Final Fantasy IV an actual bird circles the character being attacked by Confusion spell animation followed by question marks at the end of the spell animation.
  • Pokémon has been using this to show Standard Status Effect Confusion since at least Pokémon Gold and Silver.
    • Technically, the ones in Gold/Silver are bird balloons.
    • In Pokémon Heartgold and Soulsilver, in the minigames, the birds are replaced by Psyduck.
    • In the Pokéwalker, the player's Pokémon experience this; when knocked out, in the journal, stars circle that Pokémon's head, Blissey for example. For large Pokémon, the stars that circle its head are not in the background, but above the background. Wild Pokémon do not experience this trope; when the HP hits zero, they run away.
  • Dizziness in Street Fighter II was indicated by the character standing groggily with stars, bells, birds, or Grim Reapers circling their head.
  • Bubble Bobble (not in the NES [or Virtual Console] version): When Bub/Bob dies, after he spins out, he falls on his back and dizzily sees stars above his head while his eyes circle around (no spirals) before poofing away. It's also in the first Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move game, in which the sprite animations are based on Bubble Bobble's.
    • Bubble Symphony: Bub and Bob still fall backwards upon death (even though they spin out differently; their original spinouts being taken by Coro and Kulu) and their eyes circle around but no stars are visible.
    • In Puzzle Bobble 4 / Bust-a-Move 4, when the player loses, Bub/Bob immediately gets dizzy, gains spiral eyes, twirls around, falls forward, and has birds circling above his head. Also the case for Bub in the Game Boy Color exclusive Bust-A-Move Millennium, and Bob in SPACE Puzzle Bobble. (Bob the unlockable character cries instead in BAMM.)
    • Bubble Bobble Plus (WiiWare): They spin out as fast as in the arcade original and end up lying on their back before they poof away. There are no hovering stars. According to this.
  • In the First-Person Shooter Team Fortress 2, a player hit with a baseball will be temporarily stunned and treated to a third-person view of their character in a dazed trance, complete with "BONK!" written over their heads with stars circling it.
  • In the Wii Punch Out, when an opponent is stunned, something related to their nationality/gimmick will circle their heads. For example, Piston Hondo has circling egg sushi.
    • Unsurprisingly, as it's basically a knockoff of the Punchout series, Glu's Super KO Fighter 2 uses the trope in the same fashion when a fighter is knocked down. The fighter 15 Cent, a parody of 50 Cent, sees circling dollar signs, for example. Your character sees simple stars. The trope actually factors into gameplay, as the fewer circling items above the character's head, the more likely he is to be able to get back up.
  • Happens in Monster Hunter to monsters if they get smacked in the head with a blunt weapon enough times, or if they get hit with a flash bomb. Can also happen to the hunters if they get hit with certain attacks, or receive too many hits within a short span of time.
  • Circling birdies denote being stunned in the Tales (series), which can happen to pretty much anyone who suffers enough abuse in a short period of time, or if they get smacked upside the head with a Pow Hammer.
  • Any enemy stunned by Commander Keen's Neural Stunner in Keen 4, 5, and 6 will see stars around its head — if you don't, that means the stunning is only temporary. Fortunately, this applies to Keen himself if he gets stunned by his own fire or by a Bloog baby in 6.
  • The final frame of Mario/Jumpman's death animation in most versions of the original Donkey Kong includes a plain white halo. It was likely intended as this but limited by hardware.
  • Most of the Mario Party games feature this with birds if a character is stunned by something like dangerous areas or hazzards on the game board.
  • In Super Smash Bros Brawl, any character stunned by a broken shield or reflector, exploded Deku Nut, Mewtwo's Disable move, Weavile's False Swipe, Wario's Wario Waft, or Luigi's Negative Zone will be rendered immobile and a tweeting sound effect is heard. Button Mashing may get the player out of the "stunned" effect sooner.
  • Falling from great heights causes this (and loss of a hit point) in The Lost Vikings. If you are in the unfortunate situation of already having only one hit point, the poor viking hitting the ground will splash to tiny pieces and die.
    • Also occurs if Eric tries to ram a wall that DOESN'T break on impact.
  • Each Darkstalkers character has a different circling comething when dizzy. Felicia has white cats, for example. Some, like Morrigan, have little versions of themselves.
  • Invoked in Bioshock II. If you club a splicer while guarding a Little Sister, she comments "Daddy's makin' you see stars 'n' birdies!"
  • Stunning in RuneScape causes stars to appear with bird sounds.
  • A character in Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 whose guard has been broken will stand there, dazed and with yellow birds circling over his or her head.
  • In one cutscene of Sonic Unleashed, as Chip explains on how he lost his memory, when he said "And then nothing," he sees stars and tiny versions of himself circling his head (Wii version only, for they are replaced with normal stars in all other versions), as seen here.
    • Dr. Eggman did not get the same thing; in another cutscene, Eggman sees stars after a kid throws a rock at Eggman's head, as seen here.
  • Creature World also has Seeing Stars Head Bonk, and Seeing Birds Head Bonk, in which users see stars, or birds when they wear the hat. There is also a hat in which users have hearts in their eyes and hearts circling the user's head.
  • Bomberman games sometime feature this with birds or stars when players are stunned. In Bomberman Blast, if a player is stunned, the tweeting of birds can be heard from the Wii Remote Speaker.
  • Maple Story has this trope; players that are dazed get a halo of circling mushrooms.
  • Toonstruck features circling stars at one point. And you need to take these as an item.
  • While they're not shown, falling to the bottom of the drained lake for the first time in The Neverhood will result in a cutscene of Klaymen being stunned, which is accompanied by typical "birdies" sounds.
  • Mickey sees gremlins after freeing one from a safe in Epic Mickey. They're an incredible likeness.
  • World Heroes has this trope with stars, birds, or angels circling a dazed fighter's head. (Click on this link to go to the sample combos, in which most fighters were dazed by combos.)
  • Spyro the Dragon, in the original trilogy at least, sees stars whenever he's hit.
  • Dirk from Dragon's Lair II has this trope, but only consists of circling hearts in one death scene... no, two, in Level 3, and circling stars in another death scene in this longplay.
  • Wii Party features numerous ways to inflict this trope (stars with bird sound effects) upon your Miis, as this montage demonstrates.
    • Wii Play and Wii Play Motion also uses the stars to the duck in Wii Play and the Mii you selected in Wii Play Motion's minigame Cone Zone.
  • In the first two Donkey Kong Country games, Diddy will get a ring of stars over his head if you lose a life while playing as him. In Donkey Kong Country Returns, enemies you stun with the peanut popgun/ground pound get an actual birdie circle.
  • In Kirby Mass Attack, when Kirby is stunned, a bird circles Kirby's head.
    • However, World 2's boss gets circling stars.
  • In Brain Dead 13, if you defeat Vivi, a bat circles Vivi's head.
  • Power Instinct has this starting with the first game, but one of the stuns are flying hearts. The second game takes this to the next level with circling objects, such as people, sushi plates, chicks, and fish.

Web Animation

  • The Annoying Orange: Seen here. Orange gets hit on the head by Cantaloupe, and has stars flying around his head. Then two cartoon-like birdies turn up complaining that the stars are stealing their jobs. Later, Midget Apple gets hit on the head as well, and the stars turn up again. But this time, the birds get really angry and start beating up the stars.
  • Happens to Strong Bad at the end of the Homestar Runner animation "Marshmallow's Last Stand" as a result of him being tripped by Homestar for ripping up the star on his shirt after a fight. Homestar then takes one of the stars circling Strong Bad's head and places it on his own shirt.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • The Pretty Stars videos had a girl saying that she is seeing pretty stars and birdies, such as this one.
  • In this video, a girl gets hit on the head, and says she is seeing stars. At the end, she says she is seeing stars and birds circling her head as she hears tweeting bird sound effects.
  • In this video, a girl's little sister hits the girl on the head with a birdhouse, causing the girl to see stars.
  • In this video, a girl named Yanna sees stars circling her head and says she hit her head.
  • Danny Casale of Dannys Studio sees stars with bird sound effects when he finds himself in an Angry Birds parody in this video.
  • The Feet and Sleep sereies had bird sound effects, and sometimes stars or birds circling a dazed girl's head.
  • In this episode of The Angry Video Game Nerd, Bugs Bunny drops an avail on James Rolfe's head, and James sees Tweety Birds around his head and swats them away in anger.
  • Smosh has a parody called "Pokémon In Real Life" starring Anthony This part has a scene of Anthony noticing Jigglypuff hiding in a bush after being put to sleep by the song. Anthony then finds a brick and yells, "TAKE THIS!!!" Then, he throws the brick at said bush and it hits Jigglypuff in the head, and Jigglypuff staggers in a daze as it hears bird sound effects, and Anthony has the chance to engage battle with Jigglypuff.
  • In RWBY, when Ruby is momentarily stunned, alternating stars and cartoon wolves orbit her head.
    • In the "Yellow" trailer, a stunned Junior's head momentarily is circled by a ring of hearts.

Western Animation

  • Cartoon cats who see Circling Birdies sometimes swat at them as though they were real.
  • Almost every Looney Tunes short:
    • In Daffy Goes Hollywood, Daffy Duck tries to get past a studio guard in order to see movie stars. At the end the guard decides to help him see the stars — by hitting him over the head with his nightstick. Daffy then calls the "stars" by name "There's Alexis Smith, and Dorothy Lamour..." and even gives one a kiss.
    • In Rabbit Hood, Bugs Bunny tricks the Sheriff of Nottingham by telling him that the king is coming, and then hitting him over the head when he turns and bows. The Sheriff then sees little kings walking around his head, leading to the classic line, "Odds-fish, the very air abounds in kings."
    • The Road Runner short Going! Going! Gosh! has Wile E. Coyote getting run over by a truck, then having little miniature trucks circling his head in place of birds or stars.
  • In The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" version of The Raven, Homer runs into a wall and falls down with tiny Bart Ravens circling his head saying "Nevermore! Nevermore! Nevermore! Nevermore!" Bart himself experiences this trope in a later "Treehouse of Horror" spoof of Nightmare on Elm Street. In his dream, after being hit with a Frisbee, birds circle his head while "No Sale" signs pop up in his eyes.
    • Also seen in the Season 20-present Couch Gag, in which Jebediah's statue's head falls on Ralph's. One of the things he says after being hit is "I see stars!"
  • Dragon Booster: The title character comedically falls down a pipe, and when he hits the ground, a bunch of curvy stars — his personal emblem — circle his head.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Survival of the Idiots", Patrick gets hit in the head and sees chicken drumsticks.
  • Kind of Lampshaded in Tiny Toon Adventures, where animal lover/killer Elmyra gets trapped in the mall after closing time. At one point she gets hit on the head, send birds flying around her head. Then Elmyra grabs one of the birds and hugs it, which also has smaller mini-birds circling around its head.
  • Normally in the Teen Titans cartoon, Blank White Eyes are used. However, circling stars were used in the episode "Switched" when Puppetmaster-controlled Robin accidentally hit himself with his own baton.
  • In the Super Mario World cartoon, Mario gets hit in the head while trying to find something useful in the blocks. Due to this, when he does find something (a feather), he's too dazed to be able to catch it. He then grabs one of the stars circling his head, and is able to use it as if it were a Starman powerup.
    • It also happens on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Pirates of the Koopa", when Mario asks for a star which is circling the parrot's head after he bumped it on the top of the crow's nest.
  • Played with in the Pixar Short Day and Night, whose characters have scenes visible inside them. When Day gets hurt, birds are seen flying inside his head.
  • The cartoon versions of Chris and Martin Kratt often experience this in their animated series Wild Kratts. The circling creature usually corresponds to whatever critter they're following that day. For example, after a fall from a tree in one episode, Chris sees circling lizards. Another episode features Chris seeing circling walruses and Martin seeing circling polar bears after a blow to the head.
  • Flying rhinoceruses circle Aladdin's head after he's hit with a tranquilizer dart in this episode of the animated series based on the the Disney film.
  • The title character of American Dragon Jake Long experiences this frequently. In one instance, he sees tiny versions of his dream girl Rose running around his head after being knocked silly by a locker door. Jake's buddy Spud sees circling fish in another episode after a chair the throws boomerangs back on him.
  • In one episode of Lizzie McGuire, after Lizzie is knocked silly by her own locker door, the scene cuts to the cartoon version of Lizzie, who has stars and planets circling her head as seen here.
    • Lizzie's brother Matt also experiences this trope a few times via sound effects, such as in this episode, when he unsuccessfully tries to break a board with his head.
  • Done all the time in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, but was invoked in "The Luck of the Ed", when Ed was trying to recount what happened when he lost Eddy's magazines:

 Ed: Then I hit my head on that branch--

(Ed smacks into a tree branch, then walks around to the other side of the tree)

Ed: Nope. Sorry. It was this one.

(Ed smacks his head on the other tree branch.)

Ed: Then I gazed at the stars...

  • Frequently happens in The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and was invoked in the episode "Tails Prevails" by Tails, who is at a junkyard searching for items to be used a gift for Sonic. After an unstable pile of junk falls on his head, the resulting circling birdies prompt Tails to remark that he needs to add wings to Sonic's gift.
  • Played with in the American Dad episode "Home Adrone". Stan tosses a young man from a moving vehicle during a Chinese New Year parade, and after rolling down the street, the man sits up with tweeting birds, stars and other assorted objects circling around his head. The shot then zooms out to reveal the a boy is spinning a mobile above the man's head and blowing a whistle to make the bird sounds.
  • In Kid vs. Kat, this trope was experience in some episodes; however, Kat (aka Mr. Kat) has experienced this in some episodes being the only ones with Kat with the trope; for example, in Never Cry Sheep, when Coop slams a trash can on Kat, Kat has stars circling his head.
  • Happens on Jimmy Two-Shoes. Cerbee chases them off.
  • Used several times in the New Kids on the Block cartoon series. In this episode, when Jonathan is knocked out by a falling surfboard, he hears tweeting birds and sees tiny surfers around his head (he then develops amnesia and thinks he's a pro surfer). After Donnie is thrown from a horse, he sees miniature versions of himself on horseback circling his head. The New Kids' bodyguard Bizcut sees circling music notes when dazed in another episode. In this episode, Danny hears tweeting birds after a hard fall.
  • The Care Bears series used this trope frequently, especially in the Nelvana episodes. Beastly, Grumpy Bear, Braveheart Lion and Champ Bear were its most frequent victims, but most of the bears and Care Bear Cousins experienced it at one point, as did one of the kids the bears were trying to help. The show usually used stars but sometimes threw in other circling objects, most notably when No Heart saw circling bats after being knocked out by Grumpy.
  • In the old cartoon Spy vs. Spy episode, "Beach", a bird circles the black spy's head after running into a wooden stake (in which the white spy was able to get a photo from a woman to trick the black spy into running into the wooden stake.)
    • Also happens in "Wall", in which the white spy gets circling stars after getting smacked by a fence. (Strangly enough, stars also circle the hand at the begining of the episode when the white spy punches the brick wall.) Also, in "Basketball", at the begining of the episode, the black spy enters the scene in which the white spy notices the black spy and screws up, in which, as a result, the basketball hits the white spy in the head. Bird sound effects then play, as the white spy staggers in a daze, right before the black spy steals the ball. Also, in "Toliet Plunger", the white spy sees circling birdies after a hit to the head with a toliet plunger, with a rock attached to it to make it look like as if it were a HAMMER.
  • On Futurama, The sign in front of The HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots has birds circling above it.
  • Eminem — in his "normal" form of Marshall Mathers, rather than his Slim Shady alter ego — sees circling birdies with a side dose of a Cranial Eruption after being thrown from a mechanical bull in the second episode of his animated series "The Slim Shady Show."
  • In Dudley Do-Right "Flicker Rock", Snidely Whiplash pushes a big rock down on Dudley's head with no effect of killing him, but causes Dudley to deal the episode of seeing things like birds and trains that aren't there.
  • in The Flushed Away show some Episodes.