The phrase “when the crow flies” has been around since the 1700s, and it refers to the flight of an intelligent bird. They travel in a straight line, avoiding obstacles. However, there is no definitive answer as to where the phrase originated.
The phrase “when the crow flies” means that a direct route is the easiest way to get somewhere. This expression has its origins in medieval sailors, who would keep a raven on board ship, and release the bird when they were close to land. The sailors then assumed that they had reached land in the direction in which the bird flies.
The term “as the crow flies” is used in everyday conversation as a slang expression. It refers to the shortest distance between two places that is unobstructed. However, it is not very helpful when it comes to directions, as it doesn’t take into account any obstacles on the ground. For example, two friends may be discussing the location of a party that they’re going to later tonight. Ricardo lives half a mile north of Patrick, and Patrick thinks that half a mile isn’t that far.