Now, the VOA Special English program, \WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
Today we explain some expressions about birds. For example, if something is
for the birds, it is worthless or not very interesting. Someone who
eats like a bird eats very little. And a birds-eye view is a
general look at an area from above.
Did you know that if you tell a young person about the birds and the bees
you are explaining about sex and birth? Have you ever observed that
birds of a feather flock together? In other words, people who are
similar become friends or do things together. Here is some good advice:
a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This means you
should not risk losing something you have by trying to get more of something you
do not have.
Sometimes I can do two things by performing only one action. This is called
killing two birds with one stone. But I would never really kill any
birds. I love all kinds of animals. This is a real feather in my cap. It
is something to be proud of.
Most of the people I work with are early birds. They believe that
the early bird catches the worm. They think that a person who gets up
early in the morning for work has the best chance of success. Everyone in my
office works hard, but some people have had their wings clipped. Their
jobs have been limited. This is because the office is organized by pecking
order. People with more years and experience are given more
Some bird expressions are about crows, chickens and ducks. For example, when
I am driving, I always travel as the crow flies. I go the most direct
way. Anyone who eats crow has to admit a mistake or defeat.
Now let’s talk about my sister. She is not very young. She is no spring
chicken. She will work any job for chicken feed -- a small amount of
money. She is easily frightened. For example, she is too chicken-livered to
walk down a dark street alone at night. Often she will chicken out –
she will not go out alone at night.
My sister was an ugly duckling. She looked strange when she was a
child, but she grew up to be a beautiful woman. Sometimes she thinks too much
about having something in the future before she really has it. She counts
her chickens before they are hatched. Sometimes her chickens come home
to roost. That means her actions or words cause trouble for her. However,
my sister does not worry about what people say about her. Criticism falls off
her like water off a duck’s back.
Politicians are sometimes considered lame ducks after losing an
election. They have little time left in office and not much power. Congress
holds a lame duck session after an election. Important laws are not
passed during this period.
This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by
Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.