E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
An endearing name for girl.
And by my word, your bonnie bird
In danger shall not tarry;
So, though the waves are raging white,
Ill row you oer the ferry.
Campbell: Lord Ullins Daughter.
Bird is the Anglo-Saxon brid, the young of any animal, hence bride, verb, beran, to bring forth.
A bird of ill-omen. A person who is regarded as unlucky; one who is in the habit of bringing ill-news. The ancients thought that some birds indicated good luck, and others evil. Even to the present day many look upon owls, crows, and ravens as unlucky birds; swallows and storks as lucky ones.
Ravens, by their acute sense of smell, discern the savour of dying bodies, and, under the hope of preying on them, light on chimney-tops or flutter about sick rooms; hence the raven indicates death. Owls screech when bad weather is at hand, and as foul weather often precedes sickness, so the owl is looked on as a funeral bird.
A bird of passage. A person who shifts from place to place; a temporary visitant, like a cuckoo, the swallows, starlings, etc.
A jail-bird. (See JAIL.)
The bird of Juno. The peacock.
Minervas bird is either the cock or the owl; that of Venus is the dove.
The bird of Washington. The American or baldheaded eagle.
The well-known bald-headed eagle, sometimes called the Bird of Washington.Wood.
The Arabian bird. The phnix.
The green bird tells everything a person wishes to know. (Cherry and Fairstar.)
The talking bird spoke with a human voice, and could bid all other birds join in concert. (Arabian Nights.)
Old birds are not to be caught with chaff. Experience teaches wisdom.
One beats the bush, and another takes the bird. The workman does the work, the master makes the money.
Tis the early bird that catehes the worm.
Early to bed and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
A little bird told me so. From Eccles. x. 20: Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.