Bishop Paul Bird was born in Newcastle in New South Wales on 17 July 1949, the son of the late Maurice Bird and of his wife, the late Olive Bird (née Burley). He is the third of their four children being preceded by Ann and Maurice and followed by Josie.
The Bishop received his primary school education at the St Francis Xavier Parish Primary School in Carrington which was conducted by the Sisters of St Joseph and his secondary education under the care of the Marist Brothers at their High School in Hamilton until 1965. He then joined the formation program of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) and made his profession at Galong on 11 February 1968. He studied for four years at the Redemptorist seminary in Wendouree in Ballarat, completed his seminary studies at the Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Toohey, Bishop of Maitland, at Waratah in Newcastle on 17 May 1975.
Bishop Bird took an active role in the parish mission programs of preaching and prayer conducted by the Redemptorist Congregation throughout Australia whilst based in their communities in Perth and later in Sydney. He studied at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC graduating as a Master of Arts with a specialisation in liturgy in 1981. On his return to Australia, he resumed work in the parish mission programs from a base at the Redemptorist community at Mayfield in Newcastle. He also taught in the field of liturgy conducting seminars in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Samoa and served for three terms as director of the Institute of Pastoral Liturgy in Brisbane and has, since 1985, been a consultant to the National Liturgical Commission.
In 1987 the Bishop was appointed superior of the Redemptorist community at Brighton in Melbourne and commenced twenty years of service as editor in the congregation’s publications ministry, Majellan Publications.
He served various terms totalling fifteen years in all as a member of the Provincial Council of the Redemptorist Congregation. He represented the Australian province at the congregation’s general chapter in Brazil in 1991 and, from 2008 until the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Ballarat, he served as Provincial of the Australian Province of the congregation with overall responsibility for the communities and missions in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
Bishop Bird was appointed Eighth Bishop of Ballarat by Pope Benedict XVI on 1 August 2012 and ordained as Bishop on 16 October, 2012.
The Bishop has taken the motto "Peace be with you".
The Bishop's Coat of Arms as Bishop of Ballarat is of his personal Coat of Arms combined with the Coat of Arms of the diocese.
The Bishop's personal Coat of Arms show a bird as a reference to the Bishop’s family name, in this case a silver (shown as white) dove on blue with an olive branch in its beak, a reference to peace. The Bishop's membership of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer is referenced by the golden crown on red. The crown derives from the seal of the congregation and may be interpreted as a crown of glory, a symbol of the eternal life of heaven.
The Diocesan Coat of Arms may be described as a blue Latin cross standing on a grassy mound with a gold nugget at its foot.
The Bishop’s personal arms were designed by Fr. Guy Selvester and Richard d’Apice AM KCSG, President of The Australian Heraldry Society. The Diocesan arms were designed by the late A. Ian Ferrier FBA. The arms have been illustrated by Sandy Turnbull also of the Australian Heraldry Society.