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Ten English Proverbs and Sayings About Birds

Updated on June 28, 2018
Diana Grant profile image

I'm fascinated by words, nuances of meanings & ideas. I have always enjoyed reading, language, and writing, from poetry to very long letters

English Proverbs and Sayings About Birds

English is a language rich in similes, metaphors, proverbs and sayings

The English are a nation of animal lovers and this includes birds too. We have strong laws to protect wildlife, and anyone caught stealing birds' eggs or killing a protected specie of birds such as the golden eagle, is liable to criminal prosecution.

But, of course, we still like to eat birds such as chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks and pheasant, There is a pheasant shooting season, and shooting these birds out of season would be much frowned upon.

Because bird-life is such a large part of our lives too, it should come as no surprise that birds have entered our idiomatic language in the form of metaphors, proverbs and expressions.

See how many of the following figures of speech about birds you know.

You'll have fun reading this if you are English speaking, and if you are learning English as a second language, these phrases will help you to improve your English and help you to remember them in an enjoyable way .

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 1

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush -


It's better to have something of small value rather living in hope for something of higher value but with the risk of getting nothing at all

For Example:

"I have Fifty Pounds (dollars, dinars, pesos, rupees or what-have-you) and if I bet that England will win the World Tournament, I could win Four Hundred Pounds, but I'm not going to gamble, because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 2

To chicken out -

To stop doing something because you are afraid

For example:

"He was going to tell his employer that he was leaving his job, but chickened out when he realized he would be short of money"

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 3

Bird brained -

Forgetful or unintelligent

For Example:

"He's so bird brained that he forgot his keys and his wallet - I'm surprised he even remembered to put his trousers on before he went out!"

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 4

A birdie -


A golfing term for a hole in one


For Example:

"He hit a birdie in his first round, and was so surprised that he thought someone had been tampering with the ball when he wasn't looking"

I love Dictionaries - I have several in various languages - why don't you get one too?

The Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus: The Ultimate Language Reference for American Readers
The Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus: The Ultimate Language Reference for American Readers

I have the English version of this dictionary and thesaurus, and love it - nothing beats the pleasure of leafing through it to find the words you need to write something original - I use it often

 

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 5

Don't count your chickens before they hatch


- Don't rely on things which haven't happened yet


For Example:

"By the year 2020 there will be no more wars, arms dealers will be redundant, and everyone will be kind to each other - but don't count your chickens before they hatch"

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 6

A wise old owl -

somebody clever or street-wise

For Example:

"Barack Obama may not be President of the USA any more, but he's a wise old owl"

A Wise Owl Watching You

You can get this owl on a T-Shirt, Mug, Phone Cover or Shopping Tote
You can get this owl on a T-Shirt, Mug, Phone Cover or Shopping Tote

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 7

Eyes like a Hawk (or Hawk-eyed) -


Noticing everything


For Example:

"I hid my sweets so that I could keep them all for myself, but she's got eyes like a hawk and noticed that there was a sweet paper in the rubbish bin."

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 8

To hawk your wares -


To sell your goods

For Example:

"She hawked her wares from her online website, Glorious Confusion Antiquarian Books"

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 9

As the crow flies -


Straight and direct


For example:

"Traveling by train, London is not far from Brighton, as the crow flies, but if you are driving there, it will seem much further, because of the complicated route with many deviations"

As the Crow Flies

Proverbs and Sayings - No. 10

To crow -


To boast triumphantly


For Example:

"It's considered very rude to crow when you win a game of Scrabble"

Take this poll: Globalisation is not going to go away

How many languages can you speak - Not necessarily fluently, but enough to get by?

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Einstein the Bird (African Parrots are the most intelligent parrots in the world)

Just to Wind up, Here's a Bird Tongue Twister - But be very careful how you say it or it could sound a bit rude!

I am not the pheasant plucker,
I'm the pheasant plucker's mate.
I am only plucking pheasants
'cos the pheasant plucker's late

Did you enjoy your lesson? Did you learn anything new? Can you think of any more English expressions about birds?

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    • Diana Grant profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      2 years ago from London

      MY mother was a keen golfer, and I used to be obliged follow her round the course when I was a child - it put me off golf for life - but I'm still a bit vague about golfing terms, so thanks for the info, Gary

    • profile image

      Olivia 

      2 years ago

      That was a lot of fun...thanks for all the Birdy sayings....

    • profile image

      Gary 

      2 years ago

      A Birdie is one under par in the game of golf. It can happen on any hole.

      An Eagle is two under par.

      A hole in one is at the worst an Eagle on a par-3 hole. I don't think I've ever heard of any one with a hole-in-one on a higher par hole.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 

      2 years ago from USA

      Birds of a feather! Wonderful read. Glad you are here.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      Most of these sayings were handed down by the English to us over here on this side of the pond. It's amazing how the ancient wisdom persists through the generations. Great hub!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Birds of a feather stick together,

      Don't count your chickens before they hatch,

      The early bird gets the worm...

    • profile image

      Ducky 

      3 years ago

      This is the perfect way to break down this inrmaoftion.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 

      3 years ago

      great hub Diana, I think I got all the sayings and I was trying to think of more, but it's late at night and my brain just doesn't want to work anymore.

    • MartiLawrence profile image

      Marti Lawrence 

      3 years ago from Grain Valley, Missouri

      This was fun to read!

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