Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you as free as a bird when learning English? Do you know how to use animal idioms in English to add color and interest to what you are saying in English conversations.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle share with you 5 idioms that native English speakers use to communicate a point that are related to birds and animals.

Listen in and learn fun ways to add personality and feeling to your English conversations.

Life Update from Lindsay

Lindsay moved into her new home in Denver and it has been chaotic.

She had to deal with so many things and had to coordinate with cleaners and movers.

She spent the entire week finishing the move and even when she thought it was done and over, there were other things that got left behind.

Michelle agrees that moving is not an easy task.

She could imagine all the hard things they had to do but it’s still a good thing that Lindsay has moved to a new home.

Do You Like Birds?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle talked about birds and their own stories related to them.

Michelle chose today’s topic.

She grew up having parakeets as pets.

She had a blue parakeet named Tootsie and a green parakeet named Sunshine.

Unfortunately, something happened to one of them and they got another one and named him Sunday.

Lindsay doesn’t have strong feelings about birds.

She did have a pet bird when she was younger but it was killed by one of their cats.

Michelle reminded Lindsay that they did several episodes about animals before.

One of the episodes was the All Ears English Podcast 1238: Quit Horsing Around and Listen Today!

Another was All Ears English Podcast 1276: An Episode About Animals That’s Not About Animals.

Lastly, there was another video done by Jessica on our IELTS blog called 8+ Animal Idioms for Describing Personality.

Idioms Related to Birds

Here are 5 examples of bird-related idioms from Lindsay and Michelle.

Each example also comes with a role play for you to better understand how it is used properly.

  • A Little Birdie Told Me

This is used when you are sharing news or information that you learned about from someone else and you don’t want to disclose their identity.

Lindsay: Hey Michelle. A little birdie told me you got a new car!

Michelle: I did! It’s bright purple and beautiful.

One of Michelle’s birthday wishes when she was 16 years old was to get a bright purple car.

Lindsay finds this outrageous.

Looking back, Michelle feels it was too much too.

Until now, her mom teases her about it whenever they see a bright purple car.

  • The Early Bird Gets The Worm

This is like a proverb because there is a lesson in it.

Michelle shares that this is the idea that when you are prepared or early, you will reap the benefits.

As per Lindsay’s understanding, if you get up early in the day, you are going to have the most success but it might not be true for everyone.

Lindsay is a morning person but Michelle doesn’t like waking up early and working.

It really is a preference.

Michelle: Lindsay make sure you apply for the job ASAP. The early bird gets the worm.

Lindsay: You’re right. I’ll do it tomorrow.

It can be true for some that they have advantage if they start doing things early.

Lindsay asked Michelle if she did the early decision when she applied for college.

An early decision, in America, is when you inform the college of your choice in advance that if you get accepted, they are the school of your choice.

The colleges take into consideration the applicants that send their early decision and this might play to their advantage in getting admitted.

  • The Early Bird Special

Michelle mentions that they talked about this before.

She asks Lindsay what time she eats dinner. Lindsay eats dinner really late for an American which is around 8:00 pm.

She works out from around 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and she eats after that.

Michelle eats at around 6:30 pm because of her son who sleeps after that.

If he goes to sleep early, they’ll give him his food early and then they’ll eat after when he is asleep.

The term “the early bird special” is something some restaurants offer where if you order early you get a discount.

Lindsay: If we get there at 5 we can get the early bird special.

Michelle: Eh, I’d rather pay more and eat later.

Lindsay: Okay fine.

  • Birds of a Feather Flock Together

This is an idea where people congregate with other people who are similar to them.

This can be a good or bad thing.

It really depends on the common thing you have or the purpose of grouping together.

Michelle: I’ve already made some new friends! I found some ESL teachers and they are so much fun.

Lindsay: Wow! ESL teachers all on a cruise? Of course, you got along. Birds of a feather flock together!

It is also good to stand out at times.

Lindsay thinks this is why it is good to travel and meet with people who are different from you.

  • Free as a Bird

This is another way of saying you are available or you have no obligations.

This is commonly used when you are scheduling.

Lindsay: Are you around to talk?

Michelle: Yup, I’m free as a bird until 6.

This idiom reminds Lindsay of the end of school.

The end of the school year is the best feeling ever for a student.

You have the entire summer to have fun and do other activities.

Using the idiom “free as a bird..” adds feeling to what you are saying.

Rather than plainly saying you are available you can use this to show a bit of excitement towards your free time.


Learning English should be fun.

Try and use these idioms related to birds and animals today and improve your English skills.

Native English speakers have a vibrant vocabulary so that they can convey their feelings well when they talk.

You can do this too!

What is your favorite idiom from the list?

Share it with us in the comment below and include an example.

We’d love to hear your ideas.

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