Caution: Mostly incoherent blabbering follows.
What will you rather be, a bird with its wings chopped off or a bird in a cage? The question is not really about freedom. I am thinking more on the lines of hope versus despair, frustration vis-a-vis helplessness. The bird inside the cage has the hope that one day it might get free but in the meantime it has to live in constant agony and yearning. Every passing day makes him feel all the more despondent and desperate to break free. The promise that the open skies hold for him becomes his greatest grief. As for the other bird, he can do nothing. The great expanse of the blue canvas overhead is nothing but a mirage for him and so he adapts to live with his reality. He has no false hope. He is not condemned to ruin his present thinking about what the future can be. He is quite literally grounded in his reality. He may be crippled but once he accepts that as a fact, it ain’t that bad.
Hope is what we all live for, live with. But what if the hope itself turns out to be an illusion? What if the bird one day gets free, flies away, only to get frustrated with the big bad world and come back to the cage in the evening. One can not be sure whether the thing that she/he is hoping for is what she/he really wants. Or what if the bird gets killed the day he comes out of the prison or worse still finds his wings chopped off ?