I am a great believer in using old language with proper old expressions and was reminded of the fact when I asked my wife when going to bed what her plan of action for the following day might be and would it require us “getting up with the lark.”
The moment I said it my mind was set wondering as to where the expression had come from, logic dictating that the lark must be the first bird to awake in the morning, hence “up with the lark.”
It turns out that this is not correct and is in fact far more complicated for the Lark it seems is not the first bird to sing in the morning chorus with the first to sing being a Robin, then Blackbird, followed by the Thrushes who all apparently start singing at 4.30 in the morning.
These birds are then followed by woodpigeons, great tits, blue tits, sparrows and finches, the earlier birds are up to catch worms while the later birds wait for the morning to warm up as they wish to catch insects who are also late risers.
On the subject of birds eating habits we have “the early bird who catches the worm,” another old expression which I find odd in that it is viewed from the bird’s perspective and not from the worm who has also made the effort to get up early only to end up as a birds breakfast.
During my research for this post I was reminded of another expression which I use, “to get up at the crack of sparrows,” which by all accounts is from Australia, the full form of which is, “to get up at the crack of sparrows farts,” which relates to the sparrows habit of breaking wind when it wakes up, although who on earth first climbed a tree to discover this fact I have no idea.
I am not a great lover of early rising but at least my efforts to get up early are not as complicated as those of the bird community especially the sparrow, which has just reminded me of another expression, “I’ve heard ducks fart before,” an explanation of which I shall leave for another day.