ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ten English Proverbs And Sayings About Birds

Updated on July 21, 2020
Diana Grant profile image

A retired lawyer, I'm fascinated by words, nuances of meanings & ideas. I’ve always enjoyed reading, languages, & writing, including poetry

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( ESL or ESOL , TESOL or even TSL ), these phrases will help you to improve your English and help you to remember them in an enjoyable way .

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"

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"

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!"

Ducks on a lake
Ducks on a lake | Source

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

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"


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

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."

8. To Hawk Your Wares

To sell your goods

For Example:

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

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


10. To Crow

To boast triumphantly

For Example:

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

And Here's One More For the Road (Another Idiom):

11. To Give (Someone) the Bird

This expression has two pejorative meanings:

(i) In the US if you flip or give someone the bird, you are making an offensive or very rude gesture by raising your middle finger upwards whilst keeping the rest of your fingers and thumb down.

(ii) The British meaning if you "give someone the bird" is to laugh, boo or mock them in disapproval. e,g, "They gave the actor the bird when he messed up his lines".

Take This Poll: Globalisation Is Not Going To Go Away

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

See results

A YouTube Video: 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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Diana Grant

Did You Enjoy Your Lesson? Did You Learn Anything New? Can You Think Of Any More English Expressions About Birds?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Diana Grant profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 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


      4 years ago

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

    • profile image


      4 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 

      4 years ago from USA

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

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 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 

      5 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


      5 years ago

      This is the perfect way to break down this inrmaoftion.

    • profile image


      6 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 

      6 years ago from Grain Valley, Missouri

      This was fun to read!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)