Harrignton Bird was born in 1846 in London. He studied in London, and intended to follow a military career but turned to art instead. He studied at the RA Schools.
In 1875 he went to Montréal, Canada, where he took the post of Director of Art, at the Board of School Commissions. He exhibited at the Royal Canadian Academy and became an associate member in 1880.
In 1895 he returned to London where he lived for many years. Bird painted a great number of equestrian scenes, some for the Royal family and many Arabian horse scenes. He also painted other sport scenes of the time such as foxhunting, coaching, dressage, pig-sticking, coursing and racing.
He died in 1936 in London.
He worked in both oil and watercolor. A number of prints of his work were published after his death.