Monday, 5 January 2009

The Origins of "Where the Birdies Is"

I heard this little ditty a good few years back and decided it might go well as a post title about my 'missing' birds (I Wonder Where the Birdies Is?) but it has always stumped me as to where it originates. Here's the ditty in full (as far as I can discover):-
Spring has sprung;
The grass has ris.
I wonder where
The birdie is?

There he is
In the sky.
He dropped some
Whitewash in my eye!
I am no sissy;
I won't cry.
I'm just glad
That cows can't fly!

My Googling has revealed that it was probably made up by either W.C Fields or Groucho Marx but most results show "origin lost" If anyone knows any different please let me know - it's driving me mad!!! (Or madder!)


RuneE said...

I have heard that the saying about "the flying cow" was attributed to a medieval monk, but that is all the help I can give.

Betsy said...

Saw you on CJ's blog and thought I'd say hello! :)

Liz said...

They say the bird is on the wing
but that is odd
for I had heard
the wing was on the bird.

That's the version I remember.

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"In species where forced copulation is common, males have evolved longer penises, but females have coevolved convoluted vaginas with dead-end cul-de-sacs and spirals in the opposite direction of the male penis," said Patricia L.R. Brennan, a researcher in the Yale Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Yale researchers tested the theory by examining duck penis eversion in a series of glass tubes. As expected, a straight tube or one that has counter-clockwise spiraling doesn't slow down the process. The tubes that mimicked the clockwise spiral completely halted the eversion.

"This coevolution results from conflict between the sexes over who is going to control fertilization," Brennan added.

"Although we predict that sexual conflict should be ubiquitous, finding a system where the 'arms race' between the sexes is so dramatic is exceedingly rare. Ducks are providing us with an incredible opportunity to understand the evolutionary consequences of conflict," said Brennan.

Why Yale decided to study duck penises in the first place I will never know.