What Is the Bird Process in Activity Monitor?

Modern Silver Laptop

It’s another ordinary day, and you’re quietly working on your Mac to get things done. You get to your Activity Monitor. Suddenly you see a process called “bird” that is constantly near 100 percent CPU usage. You try to quit it, but it just manages to start up over and over again. What the heck is going on?

If you have this issue, know that you are not alone. Many other Mac users have asked: what is the bird process in Activity Monitor? Can the bird process actually be deleted?

Bird Process Running on My Mac

The short answer is that the bird process Mac is the back end process behind iCloud and iCloud drive. It can sit there on your Mac computer at 100 percent CPU usage all the time, without appearing to accomplish anything.

You cannot delete it as well. The Mac bird process is deemed an essential part of macOS, whose content is proprietary. You can consider it a system daemon used with iCloud and iCloud drive, serving as a component of its backup function.

If the daemon is consuming an ungodly amount of CPU time, then something might be causing the bird process to crash. You can use Activity Monitor to kill a specific process and force it to relaunch. This might not always work, though, given complaints from users who cannot seem to “kill” the bird Mac.

What to Do About the Bird Process Mac

You can approach the bird process issue from several perspectives. Here are some solutions you can try:

Does It Bother Your Mac?

First, ask the question of whether it is worth dwelling on the matter. Having a look at your Activity Monitor, some other app can use more than 50 percent of your computer’s CPU resources. And that’s not an issue at all! Is the bird’s CPU usage actually causing problems on your computer? If it is does not seem to, then you can live and let live.

If you feel that your precious system resources are going to waste, then don’t forget to regularly clean up your Mac. You can, for instance, use an efficient Mac repair tool to clean and optimize your machine’s overall performance. From running a quick scan and pinpointing issues, it can clear valuable space, get rid of junk, and enhance system operations and stability.

After optimizing your Mac, you can go back and see if you apps and programs are now working smoothly and as expected.

Deal with the Issue on iCloud and iCloud Drive

Go into your iCloud settings and turn off your iCloud drive. This should result in the bird process going away. This action will also probably delete some cache files being used by iCloud, which could be causing the bird process to eat up CPU usage in the first place.

To turn off iCloud on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud.
  3. Select or deselect the feature.

Note that when you turn off an iCloud feature on your Mac, information that’s stored only in iCloud for the said feature isn’t available on the computer anymore.

Reset Your Mac’s SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) on your Mac is responsible for a number of low-level functions. These include responding to power button presses, battery and thermal management, keyboard backlighting, and status indicator light (SIL) management.

It might be time to reset the SMC if your computer is misbehaving in various ways. One is when its fans are running at high speed despite not being under heavy usage and having proper ventilation. Another is if your Mac performs unusually slowly, although the CPU is not under an unreasonably heavy load.

According to Apple, you should avoid resetting the SMC without attempting other troubleshooting tasks first. These include the following:

  1. Is your Mac unresponsive? Press and hold the power button until it shuts down. Afterwards, press the power button again to switch on your Mac. Note that you will lose unsaved work in any open apps.
  2. Press Command-Option*-Escape to force quit any app that isn’t responding.
  3. Put your Mac to sleep. Choose Apple menu > Sleep, and then wake it up after it has gone to sleep.
  4. Restart your Mac by selecting Apple menu > Restart.
  5. Shut down your Mac by selecting Apple menu > Shut Down. Next, press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

To reset your SMC on a desktop Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Disconnect the power cord, whether from the Mac or from the AC outlet. Wait 15 seconds before plugging it back in.
  3. Wait another five seconds. Afterwards, turn your Mac back on.

Check if the odd problem involving the bird process has disappeared.

Reset Your Mac’s NVRAM

It used to be that curing random Mac woes involved “zapping” the PRAM, which is the parameter random access memory. It pertains to a small part of special and battery-backed memory in every Mac computer that stored information needed before it loaded the OS.

Modern Mac machines no longer use PRAM, but instead have the non-volatile random access memory or NVRAM. It serves practically the same purpose but now only contains few pieces of information, including speaker volume, screen resolutions, your selected startup disk, and last kernel panic details.

It is fairly harmless to reset the NVRAM if your Mac is having a number of weird issues. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Press the power button. As soon as the computer powers up, hold down the Command + Option + P + R keys. Do this for some 20 seconds.
  3. Let go of the keys and let your Mac continue to start as usual. If yours is an older Mac that chimes at boot, keep holding down the keys until you hear a second startup chime.
  4. To make sure they are set as intended, go to System Preferences and check the Startup Disk, Display, and Date & Time panes.

Summary

If you see the bird process in your Mac’s Activity Monitor translating to high CPU usage, you can try any of the quick fixes we outlined above. You cannot entirely get rid of this process because it is part of the backend process of iCloud and iCloud drive.

Have you encountered the bird process before? Tell us about your story!

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