Proverbs and quotes about birds.

“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the keyhole.”

The Hobbit – Chapter 3 – A Short Rest
J.R.R. Tolkien
Moonletters on the map.

‘Bilbo Baggins, a bur…, a hobbit,’ said poor Bilbo, shaking all over, and wondering how to make owl noises before they throttled him.

The Hobbit – Chapter 2 – Roast Mutton
J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo caught by the trolls.

the Baselisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death. Spiders flee before the Baselisk, for it is their mortal enemy, and the Baselisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling

… their small knives, the only weapons they had, would have been of no use against the arrows of the elves that could hit a bird’s eye in the dark.

The Hobbit – Chapter 9 – Barrels Out of Bond
J.R.R. Tolkien
About the dwarves.

A believer is a bird in a cage, a freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wing.

Robert G. Ingersoll

A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.

Be happy with what you have.

A black hen lays a white egg.

English proverb

A blind crow may sometimes find a grain of wheat.

A crow is no whiter for being washed.

A deaf insect hears words in the belly of a bird

A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?

Drew Barrymore

A swallow does not make the summer.

One good event does not mean that everything is going to be fine.

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.

Moslih Eddin Saadi

All birds will flock to a fruitful tree.

Although the snake does not fly it has caught the bird whose home is in the sky.

Nigerian proverb

An eagle does not catch flies.

As free as a bird.

(completely free to do what you want and without any worries)

As free as a caged bird.

Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair; you have doves’ eyes within your locks: your hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.

Song of Solomon

Birds of a color fly to the same place.

Welsh proverbs

Birds of a feather flock together.

Bless the flowers and the weeds, my birds and bees.

Unknown source

Both the cockroach and the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most.

Joseph Wood Krutch

Dogs don’t like bananas, but can’t bear to think chickens eat them.

Domesticated chickens and cattle may well be an evolutionary success story, but they are also among the most miserable creatures that ever lived. The domestication of animals was founded on a series of brutal practices that only became crueller with the passing of the centuries.

A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari

Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Don’t expect everything to be successful.

Eagles don’t catch flies.

Even a blind dove finds a grain of wheat at times.

Everything was curved to fit the walls: the stove, the sink and the cupboards, and all of it had been painted with flowers, insects and birds in bright primary colours.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling

Fowls will not spare a cockroach that falls in their midst.


God gives every bird a worm, but he does not throw it in the nest.

Swedish proverb

God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.


If chickens were judges, cockroaches would be sentenced.


If only I were a bird! Ah, but eating caterpillars?


If the goose honks high, fair weather.
If the goose honks low, foul weather.

It is a stupid goose that listens to the fox preach.

It is the softness of the lime that is fatal to the bird.

Keep a tree green in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.

Chinese proverb

Kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Destroying a source of good income.

Let him who dreads the sparrows sow no oats.

Love makes the owl seem prettier than a white falcon.

Maize cannot get justice in a chicken’s court.

Nothing moved in the waste, save the vapour and the water, and every now and again a black and ominous crow. The only sound was the sound of the stony water, and every now and again the harsh croak of a bird. Balin shuddered.

The Hobbit – Chapter 11 – On the Doorstep
J.R.R. Tolkien
About the Desolation of the Dragon.

Now scuttle off, and come back quick, if all is well. If not, come back if you can! It you can’t, hoot twice like a barn-owl and once like a screech-owl, and we will do what we can.

The Hobbit – Chapter 2 – Roast Mutton
J.R.R. Tolkien

Off Bilbo had to go, before he could explain that he could not hoot even once like any kind of owl any more than fly like a bat.

The Hobbit – Chapter 2 – Roast Mutton
J.R.R. Tolkien

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

Out of a white egg often comes a black chick.

Italian proverb

The arrow strikes one bird down, but the flock remains.

Jeskai teaching

The bees make honey but cannot eat it; the sea-swallows build nests but cannot live in them.


The dwarves had heard noises from a distance, and after waiting for some time for Bilbo to come back, or to hoot like an owl, they started off one by one to creep towards the light as quietly as they could.

The Hobbit – Chapter 2 – Roast Mutton
J.R.R. Tolkien

The eagle does not catch flies.


The eagle does not feed on flies.


The early bird catches the early worm.

The early bird catches the worm.

The early bird gets the worm.


The flight of the eagle will not stop that of the sand fly.


The locust flies with the wings of a falcon.

Saudi Arabian

The lord of the eagles of the Misty Mountains had eyes that could look at the sun unblinking, and could see a rabbit moving on the ground a mile below even in the moonlight.

The Hobbit – Chapter 6 – Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
J.R.R. Tolkien
About the eagles.

The mantis seizes the locust but does not see the yellow bird behind him.


The most stupid chicken always challenges the wildcat.

Bantu proverb

What is sport to the boy is the death of the bird.

Indian proverb

When a dove begins to fly with crows, its feathers remains white but its heart grows black.

German proverb

When arguing with a chicken a grain of corn is always wrong.

When the figs are ripe all the birds want to eat.

Whether it was magic or not, it seemed to Bilbo that he heard a sound like wind in the branches stirring in the rafters, and the hoot of owls.

The Hobbit – Chapter 7 – Queer Lodgings
J.R.R. Tolkien

You can’t blame the axe for the noise made by the chicken you are about to slaughter.

For a Dutch language page with proverbs about birds, see: vogels.