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PERFORMER Jerry Nelson
DEBUT 1970
PATTERN Lavender

Herbert Birdsfoot was introduced on Sesame Street in Season 2 as a lecturer, usually with Grover as his assistant.

He served as the replacement for Kermit the Frog's lecturing job during his absence from the show in its second season. With Kermit's return, the character was quietly phased out within a few years. His absence in new segments was referenced in Episode 0627 when Big Bird asks Grover about Herb's whereabouts; Grover says that he hasn't seen him at all. He is referenced again in Episode 0873 when Big Bird complains about helping with his laundry. Herbert's segments continued to be re-used through Season 28 and his last known appearance was in The Muppet Movie during the finale, where he can be spotted between Count von Count and Sherlock Hemlock.

Herbert was referenced many years later in a 2018 sketch featuring Chance the Rapper; his name appears on a clipboard, listed as handling the props for a theatrical production. (First: Episode 4908)

His name is a play on the pasture crop "bird's-foot trefoil," which was familiar to Jim Henson because of his father's work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.[1]


Picture Summary / First Appearance Description
Cookie Puzzle
Episode 0132
Herbert Birdsfoot invents a complicated machine, to test Cookie Monster's problem-solving abilities. Cookie Monster needs to pull the string to raise the glass cover off the plateful of cookies at the other end -- but when he lets go to retrieve the cookies, the cover will fall again. Herbert hears Cookie Monster approaching and hides to observe him. Cookie investigates the machine for a moment, then gets the cookies by karate-chopping the glass cover.
Herbert Birdsfoot Grover WET
ET Family
Episode 0138
In a three-part sketch, Herbert and Grover make words ending in ET.
Herbert Birdsfoot OP family
The OP Family
Episode 0148
Herbert Birdsfoot displays the letters O and P, mentioning that they're the OP family. When he adds an M for "mop," he has Grover fetch a mop. When he adds a DR for "drop," he has Grover drop a heavy rock. When he adds an H for "hop," he has Grover hop repeatedly until he faints. Herbert then adds a FL for "flop" and a ST for "stop."
Grover Herbert Birdsfoot OP
Hopping Poem
Episode 0150
Herbert Birdsfoot recites a poem with OP words, counting on Grover to hop whenever he says "hop" โ€” repeatedly, until Grover faints.
M and W
Episode 0155
Herbert explains what the letters M and W look like with a very uncooperative letter that keeps switching itself. The letter eventually stops switching, and Herb solves the problem by rotating the camera angle, turning the letter upside down.

AN Family Lecture
Episode 0160
Herbert and Grover talk about "AN" words. Herbert demonstrates the words themselves, while Grover provides visual aids.

Part 1: The first word they talk about is RAN. While Herbert talks about how to make the word, Grover keeps running around the scene until he tires himself out.

Part 2: The next word they demonstrate is CAN. Grover brings out an armful of soup cans and stacks them all up. Then he clumsily knocks the tower over.

Part 3: The final word for today is FAN, which Grover says is one of his favorite words. He brings in an electric fan and turns it on full blast. Everything is blown away, including Herbert and Grover.

Episode 0166
Grover assists Herbert Birdsfoot in a demonstration of the word "THE," by holding a sign with the word as Herbert tells a story and rings a bell whenever the sign is needed. As usual, Grover wears himself out.
Borrowing a Vacuum
Ernie Borrows a Vacuum
Episode 0181
Ernie wants to borrow Herbert's vacuum cleaner, but he worries about how Herbert will respond. Maybe Herbert's taking a bath, and he'll be so angry at Ernie for interrupting him that he'll tell everyone to never loan Ernie anything ever again!
Herbert and Grover 1
Episode 0188
Grover and Herbert recite the alphabet together.
Grover herbert 20
Count to 20
Episode 0189
Herbert and Grover count to 20.
Herbert and Grover 2
Counting Three Blocks
Episode 0192
Herbert Birdsfoot arranges three blocks for Grover to count. No matter how the blocks are arranged, they still add up to three. Herbert asks Grover to count some oranges as well. Grover confesses that he's good at counting blocks -- but he doesn't know how to count oranges!
Over and Under
Episode 0198
Herbert Birdsfoot demonstrates "over" and "under" by having Grover lie over a mattress. Then Grover lies under the mattress, and Herbert drives the point home by adding more objects over Grover.
Episode 0221
Grover sees his shadow follow him around and thinks it's a person following him. However, Herbert Birdsfoot explains what a shadow is.
M Sound
Episode 0276
Herbert Birdsfoot thinks that Grover is talking about the letter M whenever he makes an Mmmmm sound, but Grover is only making the sound because he ate peanut butter and got his mouth stuck shut.
ET Family Delivery (3-part sketch)
Episode 0473
Herbert presents the "ET" word family, as a deliveryman brings in different letter. The deliveryman gets progressively furious as Herbert makes him sound out the word and refuses to give him a signature until he does so.

Episodic appearances[]

  • Episode 0158
  • Episode 0196 - In this episode, he remarks that he lived on a farm when he was a child; it's suggested that he's a teacher as he mentions marking Grover's test papers.
  • Episode 0453 (sponsor voiceover, along with Grover)

Book appearances[]

Herbert Birdsfoot SSmag Feb75

Herbert presents a ring to a lady friend in the February 1975 issue of Sesame Street Magazine.

Album appearances[]