Etymology
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yardbird (n.)

"convict," 1956, from yard (n.1) + bird (n.1), from the notion of prison yards; earlier it meant "basic trainee" (World War II armed forces slang).

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Definitions of yardbird

yardbird (n.)
a military recruit who is assigned menial tasks;
Synonyms: yard bird
yardbird (n.)
a person serving a sentence in a jail or prison;
Synonyms: convict / con / inmate / yard bird
From wordnet.princeton.edu