E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
As the crow flies. The shortest route between two given places. The crow flies straight to its point of destination. Called the bee - line in America.
Crow. (See RAVEN.)
I must pluck a crow with you; I have a crow to pick with you. I am displeased with you, and must call you to account. I have a small complaint to make against you. In Howells proverbs (1659) we find the following, I have a goose to pluck with you, used in the same sense; and Chaucer has the phrase Pull a finch, but means thereby to cheat or filch. Children of distinction among the Greeks and Romans had birds for their amusement, and in their boyish quarrels used to pluck or pull the feathers out of each others pets. Tyndarus, in his Captives, alludes to this, but instances it with a lapwing. In hieroglyphics a crow symbolises contention, discord, strife.
If a crow help us in, sirrah, well pluck a crow together.Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors, iii. 1.