Birds Hop And Walk

Why Some Birds Hop And Some Walk


A little bird sat on a twig of a tree,

A-swinging and singing as glad as could be,

And shaking his tail, and smoothing his dress,


And having such fun as you never could guess.


And when he had finished his gay little song,


He flew down in the street, and went hopping along


This way and that way, with both little feet,


While his sharp little eyes looked for something to eat.


A little boy said to him: "Little bird, stop!


And tell me the reason you go with a hop.


Why don't you walk, as boys do, and men,


One foot at a time, like a dove or a hen?


"How queer it would look, if, when you go out,


You should see little boys go jumping about


Like you, little bird! And you don't know what fun


It is to be able to walk and to run."


Then the little bird went with a hop, hop, hop;


And he laughed, and he laughed as if he never would stop;


And he said: "Little boy, there are some birds that talk,


And some birds that hop, and some birds that walk.


"Use your eyes, little boy; watch closely, and see


What little birds hop, with both feet, just like me,


And what little birds walk, like the duck and the hen;


And when you know that, you'll know more than some men.


"Every bird that can scratch in the dirt can walk;


Every bird that can wade in the water can walk;


Every bird that has claws to catch prey with can walk;


One foot at a time—that is why they can walk.


"But most little birds who can sing you a song,


Are so small that their legs are not very strong


To scratch with, or wade with, or catch things—that's why


They hop with both feet. Little boy, good-by."




L. J. Bates,

in Wide-Awake.