“A bird in the hand” derives from the longer phrase “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
It means something definite or certain that you already have and do not want to risk losing by trying to get something else.
Examples From The Media
“O.K. Good. You take that,” he said. He liked the concept of a bird in the hand. His hand. “You take the higher-quality goods. I’ll just fill up my basket and get out of your way. I’m happy you like it that way.” – The New Yorker
And as for price, while there is a premium here, shareholders would be extremely unlikely to reject this transaction even without counting Mr. Dell’s shares. Most shareholders simply prefer a bird in the hand rather than risk Dell’s uncertain future. – The New York Times
You take to task executive pay packages, in particular golden parachutes and rewards for failure. Fat cats prefer a bird in the hand. In order to recruit top-tier executive talent a company must more than match an executive’s current package, to offset the risks of leaving an established record and a well-run and well-known business. – The Economist
For more common phrases and expressions, have a look at our common phrases section.