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The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life… . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds — how many human aspirations are realised in their free, holiday-lives — and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!
— John Burroughs, 'Birds and Poets,' 1887.
We are all pirates at heart. There is not one of us who hasn't had a little larceny in his soul. And which one of us wouldn't soar if God had thought there was merit in the idea? So, when we see one of those great widespread pirates soaring across the grain of sea winds we thrill, and we long, and, if we are honest, we curse that we must be men every day. Why not one day a bird! There's an idea, now, one day out of seven a pirate in the sky. What puny power a man can attain by comparison. Compare a 747 with a bird and blush!
— Roger Caras, 'Birds and Flight,' 1971.
If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.
— William Faulkner. Interview in 'Writers at Work' (First Series, ed. by Malcolm Cowley, 1958).
When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head!
— William Blake
Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about.
— Saskya Pandita
I know of only one bird - the parrot - that talks; and it can't fly very high.
— Wilbur Wright, declining to make a speech in 1908.
Words are heavy like rocks…they weigh you down. If birds could talk, they wouldn't be able to fly.
— Marilyn, from the TV show 'Northern Exposure.'
Look at that mallard as he floats on the lake; see his elevated head glittering with emerald green, his amber eyes glancing in the light! Even at this distance, he has marked you, and suspects that you bear no goodwill towards him, for he sees that you have a gun, and he has many a time been frightened by its report, or that of some other. The wary bird draws his feet under his body, springs upon then, opens his wings, and with loud quacks bids you farewell.
— John James Audubon, 'The Birds of America.'
I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the
representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like
those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor,
and often very lousy.
— Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Sarah Bache.
King Henry: But what a point, my lord, your falcon
made, And what a pitch she flew above the rest! To see how God in all his
creatures works! Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.
— William Shakespeare, 'King Henry VI, act 2
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
— Henry David Thoreau
I hope you love birds too. It is economical.It saves going to heaven.
— Emily Dickinson
Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers - a living prismatic gem… . It is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description.
— W. H. Hudson
Seagulls … slim yachts of the element.
— Robinson Jeffers
But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on, Leaving no tract behind.
— William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act i. Sc. 1.
No need to teach an eagle to fly.
— Greek Proverb
Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.
— Chinese Proverb
You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren.
— William Henry Hudson, 1909, 'Afoot in England.'
Can you imagine any better example of divine creative accomplishment that the consummate flying machine that is a bird? The skeleton, very flexible and strong, is also largely pneumatic — especially in the bigger birds. The beak, skull, feet, and all the other bones of a 25-pound pelican have been found to weigh but 23 ounces.
— Guy Murchie, Jr, 'Song of the Sky, 1954.
Lying under an acacia tree with the sound of the dawn around me, I realized more clearly the facts that man should never overlook: that the construction of an airplane, for instance, is simple when compared [with] a bird; that airplanes depend on an advanced civilization, and that were civilization is most advanced, few birds exist. I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
— Charles A. Lindbergh, interview shortly before his death, 1974.
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