Flocking behavior is the behavior exhibited when a group of birds, called a flock, are foraging or in flight. There are parallels with the shoaling behavior of fish, the swarming behavior of insects, and herd behavior of land animals.
Flocking also enables birds to fly further using less energy because when the strong leader bird flaps its wings it creates uplift for the birds behind – each bird (except the leader) is flying in the up-wash from the wing of the bird in front. This enables the flock to use less energy and reduces fatigue.
What is the meaning of the proverb Birds of a feather flock together?
A proverb is an old saying that’s considered to be wise or good advice. “Birds of a feather flock together” has been around in the English language since the mid-1500s. When applied to people, this phrase means that people who are similar to each other or share similar interests tend to spend time with each other.
This proverb has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox:
“Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”
The first known citation in print of the currently used English version of the phrase appeared in 1599, in The Dictionarie in Spanish and English, which was compiled by the English lexicographer John Minsheu:
Birdes of a feather will flocke togither.
The phrase also appears in Benjamin Jowett’s 1856 translation of Plato’s Republic. Clearly, if it were present in the original Greek text then, at around 380BC, Plato’s work would be a much earlier reference to it. What appears in Jowett’s version is:
Men of my age flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says.
Plato’s text can be translated in other ways and it is safe to say it was Jowett in 1856, not Plato in 380BC, that considered the phrase to be old. The lack of any citation of it in English prior to the 16th century does tend to suggest that its literal translation wasn’t present in The Republic – a text that was widely read by English scholars of the classics well before the 16th century.
In nature, birds of a single species do in fact frequently form flocks. Ornithologists explain this behaviour as a ‘safety in numbers’ tactic to reduce the risk of predation. In language terms, it was previously more common to refer to birds flying together than flocking together and many early citations use that form, for example Philemon Holland’s translation of Livy’s Romane historie, 1600:
“As commonly birds of a feather will flye together.”
Marquette size would like large to impact the sense of overwhelming mass,
material white porcelain textured giving movement to the sculpture and colour representing of peace a product of high statues and ancient traditions,
proposition- “Birdes of a feather will flocke togither” an old proverb, strength in numbers united together.
Title – We fly together.
Starling flocks: a wild spectacle. Murmuration exaltation: a starling flock forms a fantastic acrobatic mass before roosting. Image: David Kjaer. A murmuration of starlings is an amazing sight – a swooping mass of thousands of birds whirling in the sky above your head.