Todd first spotted Articuno from a distance as it flew across the sky in Moving Pictures, and again in Spring Fever. Its multiple appearances led Todd, Ash, and his friends to Snowtop Mountain in Freeze Frame.
Its presence was likely responsible for the extended cold conditions that affected the south slope and Sunflora Lodge featured in Moving Pictures. This caused all of the wild Sunflora to abandon the area, which nearly spoiled Sophia and Marcello's 50th wedding anniversary photograph with the Sun Pokémon. Luckily, a newly-evolved Sunflora was able to bring back the warmer conditions with Sunny Day and call the other Sunflora out of hiding.
In Freeze Frame, the group stumbled across Jigglypuff, who was frozen in ice. After being defrosted, Jigglypuff indicated that it had seen Articuno and pointed to Snowtop Mountain, affirming Todd's beliefs. Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny also knew that an Articuno had been frequenting the area because of a traveler's tale from 1,200 years ago.
Later, Articuno rescued Team Rocket after they were stranded on an ice ledge over a crevasse. Despite helping the trio, Team Rocket became set on capturing the legendary bird after Todd confirmed its identity. During their first attempt, Jessie had Wobbuffet use Mirror Coat to deflect one of Articuno's Ice Beams at it. This caused some icy debris to hit Articuno and send it down a crevasse, which Todd and Ash also fell into, while Pikachu and Jigglypuff followed after them. Articuno eventually overcame its injuries and saved both Ash and Todd from hitting the ground below. Team Rocket later landed nearby and tried to capture Articuno for a second time, but it sent them, along with Jigglypuff, blasting off with a powerful Blizzard.
As the sun rose, Articuno's blue plumage sparkled in the light. It then stayed still for a moment, allowing Todd to take his photograph, before flying off.