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Monday, February 4, 2019

Birds of feather... (Monday's Memo)

This past Saturday while walking in Central Park, I came upon a fence where a house sparrow, a female Northern cardinal and a white-breasted sparrow were perching.

On a "neighboring" fence a lone tufted titmouse was hanging out with a couple of white-breasted sparrows. This is evidenced in the photos I took which are posted directly above this entry.

Seeing these different bird types spending time in each others company got me thinking about the origin of the idiom: Birds of a feather flock together.

And upon my return home I googled as to the origin of the phrase. According to one source, "This proverb has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox:  'Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.'" 

I encourage you to read more about the idiom's origin by clicking here to access the page.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned reference also states that "In nature, birds of a single species do in fact frequently form flocks. Ornithologists explain this behavior as a 'safety in numbers' tactic to reduce the risk of predation. In language terms, it was previously more common to refer to birds flying together than flocking together and many early citations use that form, for example Philemon Holland's translation of Livy's Roman history, 1600: 'As commonly birds of a feather will fly together.'"

Rather birds fly together or flock together, I found it interesting that different bird types such as those sitting on the fence in the two images above were spending time with each other, for not too far from where some of them were perching on fences, was an area on the walkway where a few varieties avian species were eating together (including a lone Red-bellied woodpecker, the same Northern cardinal, other members of the house sparrow and white-throated sparrow family, the same tufted titmouse and a lone blue jay) as seen in the next set of images.

Red-bellied woodpecker, Northern cardinal,
House sparrows, White-throated sparrow 
Tufted titmouse, Red-bellied woodpecker, House sparrow 
Northern cardinal, Red-bellied woodpecker,
Blue jay, House sparrow, White-throated sparrow

Maybe their "flocking together" had more to due with their common interest in eating seeds than in the need to stick solely with their own kind. Btw, all these bird types are included in my book series, Words In Our Beak. and they make a great Valentine's Day gift for love birds who love birds (that holiday is only ten days from now).

Here's the purchase info:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:
book culture On Columbus (a bookstore on the UWS in NYC):

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:

Volume Three: ISBN: 978099637853
Now available on Amazon @ and can be ordered from any place selling books by giving them the title and/or ISBN which is 978099637853

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