Sunday, March 13, 2011

.......as the crow flies























"Turn east, then travel three miles as the crow flies...". How often have you heard that expression? Where does the idea of crows travelling in direct, uninterrupted flight lines, the shortest route between A and B - come from? Most crows that I've watched seem to be pretty easily diverted from the straight and narrow by anything that looks like it might be edible, like these two that were waiting to swoop on discarded chips on the seafront at Sunderland this afternoon...... so maybe that's where the expression comes from - their tendency to head straight as straight as an arrow for the nearest food supply. According to one web reference the earliest use of the idiom 'as the crow flies' dates only from 1767.

10 comments:

  1. Yes, they sure do b-line it to the compost pile around here!

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  2. It is a common expression, much used in India. I too wondered how it came :)

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  3. They're easily distracted like you say Phil, and certainly home in on food.

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  4. Phil, Once again I enjoy reading your comments. Speaking of crows, there are lots of them around now days. Maybe it is a Spring thing but they are everywhere here at my gardens. They all seem to disappear when the Bald eagles show up for their afternoon rest as they look for fish in the lake here. All the birds seem to fly away except for the gulls. Those birds pester the heck out of the eagles. For them it seems size doesn't matter! What is the difference between the crows here and the ones I saw at the Tower of London when visiting a few years back? They do look very similar. Jack

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  5. One pastime I never tire of is watching them playing in gale force winds......definitely not the inspiration for the saying.

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  6. Me too Adrian, I was watching a flock yesterday - they seem to ride the wind just for sheer pleasure..

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  7. Hi Valerianna, right now they are teating twigs off our weeping pear tree - it's nest repair time!

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  8. That's interesting lotusleaf, I thought it was local to us - it must go back further than I thought..

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  9. Hi keith, there are crows at Tynemouth that have a particular fondness for chips from the chipshops ...

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  10. Hi gardens at Waters End, the birds in the Tower of London are ravens - legend has it that if the ravens ever leave a terrible disaster will befall England,,,

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