When I lived in Forest Park, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), there were so many kinds of birds in my yard and my neighbors’ yards. Many I didn’t actually see — but I heard all of them. I would hear larks, woodpeckers, black birds, and this other unknown bird that sounded like two bamboo stems clicking together.
I now have a bird friend. I’ve never seen this kind of bird before. He’s beautiful, sporting a green jacket with a black tie and hood. He’s a bolshaya sinitsa and is prevalent in Novosibirsk. He comes to my window several times a day. Each day, I clear some of the frothy snow from a corner of my windowsill, so his little birdie feet won’t get cold standing in it, and place there, breadcrumbs and crushed nuts. I’ve read that they like worms and insects — but he’ll have to find those for himself. His name is «Pretty Birdie».
We have an old phrase — «watch the birdie» — that originated with a photographer in the late 19th Century. This photographer had kept a live singing canary close by so as to calm a model who had to sit posing for long hours. Later, other photographers used a mechanical birdie to get the attention of small children. Supposedly, they’d coax, «watch the birdie» and the child would stop crying or fidgeting and look at the camera for a good shot. Afterwards, early Hollywood produced, at least, seven movies with this title, Watch the Birdie, and in 1960, there was a popular musical called, Bye, Bye Birdie.
Other usages: a «birdie» can be found in golf and badminton. A woman is sometimes called a «bird» in Great Britain — although most of us progressive women don’t want to be called a «bird,» «chick,» or «doll» — and we might «flip the bird» if you do. An old saying: «A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush» means that its better to hold on to something that you already have, rather than to let it go so as to pursue something that you don’t have. «He’s an odd bird». Ladybugs are called «ladybirds». Former First Lady of the United States was called, Lady Bird Johnson. This was a nickname from childhood because she liked nature and was as «pretty as a ladybird». Gotta fly and feed Pretty Birdie again!
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