There is this thing about birds, that if they are used to symbolize humans in a composition/painting/collage – we do accept them as humans, there is nothing alien about them, no uncanny valley stuff at all. And at the same time they mostly do not really bring their own character- or so I think.
I have the impression that if I were to use other animals then we have more of an idea of what that animal symbolizes. Insects are NOT human, they are a danger and mammals are surrounded by the stories we heard about them in our childhoods or what they mean for us as food or their economic meaning or as pets. They immediately have character, or symbolize something.
At first I have used humans made from 3D puppets in my artworks, but even though I still like those works, it was also too flat. I have also made works with pictures of real humans and tried to use their stories in my artworks but then it became too personal for a couple of them and therefore I stopped having permission to use these compositions in exhibitions or for sale.
Birds have no baggage, they are not us – some say they are not even real – they are beautiful reptiles with wings. This makes them ideal to use as characters in my future compositions because we can somehow identify or bond with them or ascribe them human qualities, emotions or so – but they are also not us, they are neutral. I could also use reptiles, I think, but I have more pictures with birds in them.