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The term early bird is well known. What's a similarly well known thing that is earlier than an early bird?

Edit: the worm, of course! But I'm particularly looking for an improvement on the bird, something that pips the bird to the post.

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"Up with the chickens" is another phrase, but since chickens are birds I guess that's just a special case of "early bird". – JeffSahol May 27 '11 at 17:59
Could it be the worm? – boehj May 28 '11 at 9:17
A night owl who just doesnt sleep – abhiii5459 May 29 '11 at 7:43
The early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese... – Mark Bannister Dec 23 '11 at 16:40

Are night owls earlier than early birds?

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Actually, they are later than all others. :) We use "owl" for a person who gets up well past midday and goes to bed past midnight. – Philoto May 27 '11 at 14:32
Night owls are occasionally still up at dawn, but it's not the way to bet. :-) – Monica Cellio May 27 '11 at 14:35

I guess that would be the worm, but you don't want to be that guy.

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Hahaha, yes! Anything else? – Ollie Glass May 27 '11 at 14:15
I gave you +1, but now I am reconsidering it - the really successful and effective early bird will get up 1) before other birds and 2) (just) before the worms :) – Unreason May 27 '11 at 14:16
The early bird gets the worm - but who wants to eat worms? – mgb May 27 '11 at 15:21
Thanks to you all I am now picturing a punctual and informed avian predator poised beside a wormhole waiting for its quarry to emerge for its morning wriggle. – hippietrail May 28 '11 at 4:29

I can't think of an actor (other than the worm :-) ), but we sometimes refer to people as being "up at the crack of dawn", which is probably close to bird-time.

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I guess the dawn cracks when it comes up like thunder (outer China 'crost the Bay). – Peter Shor May 27 '11 at 15:50
And of course the real heroes get up at the butt-crack of dawn! – Callithumpian May 17 '12 at 17:02
@Callithumpian, thanks for the LL link. I've been hearing the phrase for years, so the poster's surprise in turn surprised me. :-) – Monica Cellio May 17 '12 at 17:14

Some one who was "up with the lark" might beat the generic early bird.

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After the sparrow awakens but before he sets about the worm-hunting task he must first yawn, stretch, and rub the sleep from his eyes.

But even before all this he involuntarily contibutes to the dictionary:


(I'm not making it up)

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Nothing can be earlier than the early bird, because if there were, that guy would get the worm, and the early bird would miss out (and therefore would not actually be the "early bird" at all).

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I'm not always picky about my breakfast but even when I'm up very early indeed seldom do I choose worms. – hippietrail May 28 '11 at 4:27
@phrenry, Nice answer, very philosophical. – Thursagen May 28 '11 at 8:32
What if that guy is, in point of fact, earlier than the early bird, but just doesn't happen to like worms? – RegDwigнt May 28 '11 at 11:42

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