7 Bird Superstitions

Birds have been associated with myths and omens since early mankind with many ancient people believing our feathered friends to be messengers from the gods or even representations of the gods themselves.

Today most cultures throughout the world have superstitions that are centred around birds – some of these are universal while others are regional and it seems nobody can agree on whether birds bring good or bad luck.

Here we take a look at some of the world’s most popular bird superstitions. If you know of any others, let us know in the comments below.

Crow In A Churchyard

01

Crows in a churchyard are a sign of bad luck

In fact seeing crows anywhere tends to bring bad luck, unless you happen to find a dead crow in the road, which surprisingly will bring you good luck.

Running second only to black cats, crows have a very bad press when it comes to omens. In just about any creepy scene in a film you will hear the background noise of crows calling and of course Alfred Hitchcock made a whole film about what happens when these birds attack. A particularly suspenseful scene in The Birds is of a murder of crows gathering quietly in a playground behind an oblivious Tippi Hedren.

As far back as Ancient Greece, it was believed that the arrival of a crow at a wedding reception would mean an inevitable divorce. And another crow superstition associated with marriage is that two crows should be released during the ceremony; if the two birds flew away together the marriage would be happy and successful, but if the two crows parted company then the bride and groom too would soon be separated.

Bird Poo On Statue

02

A bird pooing on your head brings good luck

Although it will probably result in the worst bad hair day ever, you shouldn’t fret if you have the misfortune to have a bird deposit its droppings on your head or shoulders because this unfortunate event is actually supposed to bring good luck and even wealth.

There isn’t a consensus on the origin of this superstition, but one idea put forward is that it is such an unlikely, yet disgusting occurrence that it is only right that something positive makes up for it.

Peacock Feathers

03

Bringing peacock feathers into the house is bad luck

This is an old superstition and an even earlier version claims that having peacock feathers in the house not only brings bad luck but destines any unmarried female to become an old maid.

Many actors will not allow peacock feathers to be brought onto the stage either as a prop or part of a costume and veteran actors and directors have recounted tales of sets falling down during performances that involve peacock feathers.

It is thought the superstition originated in the Mediterranean where the evil eye markings are said to represent the eye of he she-devil Lilith who is responsible for the unexplained deaths of children. By keeping peacock feathers in the house she is ever present and able to watch over your home.

However, in India, China and Japan bringing peacock feathers indoors is actually supposed to increase good luck by providing extra eyes around the house to protect the occupants from danger.

Bird Flying Into House

04

A bird flying into the house is a sign of impending death

There are a number of variations of this superstition. Some believe that if a bird flies into your house it is bringing important news. If the bird is white then the news will be good, but if it is black then it will be bad and this could mean the death of a family member.

Another version of this superstition is that if a bird taps on your window or accidentally hits your window that too means an imminent death in the house.

Like many superstations it most likely arose with our ancestors trying to make sense of the world by attributing subtexts to both mundane and unusual events.

The actress Lucille Ball was so frightened of birds in the house that she refused to stay in hotels that displayed pictures of birds and tore down some very expensive Japanese silk wallpaper from her house when it became apparent that birds were incorporated into the design. She dates her fear of birds to the day her father died shortly after a bird flew into the family home.

Albatross

05

It is unlucky to kill an albatross

This is one of many sailors’ superstitions and is referenced in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published in 1798.

Traditionally sailors considered seeing an albatross to be a sign of good luck, probably originating from the early days of navigation when sailors thought that seeing an albatross meant land was near. Little did they know that albatrosses can live many years at sea without ever setting foot on land!

In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner a sailor shoots and kills an albatross with a cross bow and as punishment the crew of the ship force him to wear the dead bird’s carcass around his neck. This is where the metaphor of an albatross to mean a burden originated from.

The death of the albatross brought terrible bad luck to the ship, including a lack of drinking water – water, water every where, nor any drop to drink – until eventually a ghost ship appears and kills all the sailors.

Cuckoo

06

Whatever you are doing when you hear the first cuckoo predicts your year

There are a lot of superstitions associated with hearing the first cuckoo’s call and some of them are quite bizarre.

For instance, when you see or hear your first cuckoo you should put a stone on your head and run as fast as you can until the stone falls off. You should then return to the spot where it fell the next day and will find money under it.

Similar to a superstition regarding a new moon, when you hear the first cuckoo call it is very important that you have money in your pocket. You should then take the money, turn it over and spit on it and this ritual will bring you good fortune and riches in the forthcoming year. If you happen not to have any money on you then there will be a poor year ahead.

Magpie Branch

07

Magpies carry a drop of the devil’s blood under their tongue

The magpie has an important role in Christian myth. Biblical lore tells us that the magpie was the only bird not to enter Noah’s ark and instead it sat on the roof cackling as the whole world drowned.

Another myth claims that the magpie was also the only bird not to go into full mourning at Jesus’s crucifixion because it was actually the devil in disguise.

These legends may be the source of the belief in Scotland that the magpie has a drop of the devil’s blood under its tongue with some believing that if you cut out the tongue of a magpie it would be capable of human speech.

Like crows, magpies are often associated with all things evil and you can read more about the superstitions that surround magpies here.

43 Responses

  1. I’m standing outside my front door smoking a cigarette a blueish white stripes in the face area grey belly small flys about three feet away from me hovering in motion will focusing strictly on me for about three or four minutes then flys back to the tree where he came from lands but still watching me. I went the house after all that.. I truly love my Heavenly Father and son Jesus Christ from Nazerath.. can you to me what I witnessed..ty

  2. There was a couple birds in the road. As I came up on them they both tried to fly away and 1 did but the other one smacked my windshield. No clue if it lived or died. Is that good or bad? I’m worried to death.

  3. Guys, today morning around 8:45 saw a bird (blue & white stripes) on my home yard, but never saw it when it lands. It looked like it was experiencing cold conditions (fall in temperature). When I got closer & closer to the bird, it seemed unscared. Thought maybe the wing were damaged. After some few moments it took off & flew. Tell me what does this mean?

  4. I was listening a voice record of a lady and a man then speaking to my mom and dad suddenly a bird flew in so hard I heard a loud noise they say it is a owl but I am not sure its probably brown or black still not sure but it open his wings out and just left like how he came on 1st May

  5. My dad passed away on the 18th April, a pigeon with a white strip on either side of its neck landed on my window sill what does this mean I’ve tried down loading ghost apps but they’re all fake can anyone recommend a ghost app or tell me what it means

  6. Hey guys a bird flew into my home through the dog hole into my lounge room then I woke my partner up to catch it and he did and put it back through the same way it came in, we always have a lot of birds around my house so I’m assuming the bird was injured and was looking for safe keeping and also I went outside and found one of its feathers outside so yeah I knew it was gonna happen sooner or later. I would also say don’t believe in superstition it will just play with your mind and it most likely will come true , if death occurs it is what it is sad but only thing you can do is pray and don’t worry about it, random shit like this happens and I always see birds fly in to shopping centres and car parks and other places looking for a safe place :))

  7. Two years ago, a bird flew into our house. Within months, my cousin passed away. This year, one got into my daughter’s house. About 35 days later, we lost our grandson. He was 4 months old.

    1. I had a House Wren fly into my home on 3/31/21 which was yesterday and plaid heck getting it out. In fact, it kept going into my adult sons bed room, then would fly back into my bed room where he lay sleeping. Now I’m super worried cause he almost died last year.

  8. Yesterday, I heard a loud whistling thinking it was a friend of the friend whose house I was at to get his attention, but my friend was crashed out. It turned out to be in the next room from me was a brown bird that came in thru the dog door and couldn’t get back out. It was in a room that had glass windows including glass on both doors to the room and it kept smacking into the windows I didn’t want it to hurt itself even more as I tried to open one door to let it out. Finally after 10 minutes give or take it flew out and was free, but then only flew to a post within eyesight from me and just sat there looking my direction. Any ideas for what that could mean?

  9. a bird died in front of my door today. it was a black and white pigeon and there was blood near it and on the pillar near the door, so maybe it was a cat. does this mean anything, i am really scared

    1. I just watched a haunted video from a friend whose house is haunted. Not 1 minute later I had 3 birds fly into my head. Not 1 but 3??

    2. Jack, dogs & cats have been known to hunt small critters & birds. They will leave a dead one on your doorstep as an act of love & respect to you. So you have a true friend providing you dinner, feel loved !!!

  10. Please please anyone should try and reply me. Three days ago on March 1 a black hawk came to my porch I’m very very scared because have heard about that the bird is bad luck . Either a death will occur in a family or something bad is about to happen. I chased the bird a way and started praying 🙏 . Can anyone tell if I should be worried or not .??

    1. I saw a black bird in front of my apartment outside standing there, then when I pulled in it flew to the top of my neightbors apartment.

  11. Last year I had many encounters with black birds…dead birds around my flat …november 5th a black bird started hitting its beaks on my window at work
    Already my sisterinlaw my best friend passed on the exact same time…today is one of my cuz funeral n a black bird came into my office n popped. It looked frantic trying to get out. But flew out itself…
    So here I am not sure to go for funeral or not.

  12. On February 14, I found a black bird in my basement. No idea how it got in. I opened the door and eventually it left. On February 26, my brother took his own life. The family is in shock and devastated. This makes me wonder about that bird.

    1. I’m very sorry for your loss 😰😰. This morning when I was sleeping a black cane on my porch I’m very very scared I chased it away and started praying 🙏🙏🙏 because I have all known ablack bird is a bad luck

  13. I have Covid been in a dark bedroom for 5 days. The light and my head wants to explode. Last night my husband said a little bird flew in the house first time ever. What does this mean for me

    1. I’m sorry you have covid and hopefully you are improving. Birds signify a message from the gods – in your case Linda, it may be foretelling better days are ahead.

    2. The definition is clear, if its a black little bird then its a death or sickness sign. I do believed on these, it happened to my neighbors before meanwhile the black crow bird always visit her twice in a row when she was so ill. And her daughter saw it the day she pronounced dead. Its scary yet i bet black birds are bad omens! Be aware and pray

  14. I woke up to a bird in my living Room last Saturday morning I woke up again a week later on a Saturday as well to another bird in another bedroom in my home. This can’t be a good sign ? Any ideas ?

  15. I just accidentally killed the bird I was trying to free from my home…Oh No!!!… I immediately started praying.

  16. The Church viewed the magpie very differently. It’s said that the magpie was the only bird not to go into Noah’s ark, and also the only bird not to sing to comfort Jesus on the cross or go into a proper period of mourning because of its pied plumage, which also has an association with evil and bad fortune.

    1. This morning i heard a bird hitting my window so i went outside to check it out and saw it was a bird holding another smaller bird in its mouth, he then ate it… what does this mean im scared

  17. Every morning a little after 5 I have birds flying into my kitchen they leave after a few minutes it looks like a brown bird what does this mean

    1. IDK where I are but Google “carolina wren”. I have same experience with these guys in east coast usa. I think it means they like me.

  18. We took a walk with my son and a bird had died on the driveway. A few minutes later I learnt that my worst enemy had died. Dead bird is definitely a symbol of triumph for me.

  19. A black starling recently flew into my bedroom through a teeny slit in the screen window. September 12th is when it happened, September 13th, my life started falling apart!! In no uncertain terms…..if it symbolized bad luck, then I believe it to be 100000000% true. I have never experienced such a run of bad luck in my life. Hoping that it’s over now and that it never happens again! Although next time, I will be prepared!

    1. It’s not the bird that causes the bad luck. Birds are messengers. It seems like the bird bringing a warning of someone sending negative energy, so that you cleanse your energy.

  20. Noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye in the bathroom, suddenly there’s a small bird glying from my bedroom into the kitchen, which he circled overhead; by then two doors were open, we believe it is gone, but no one saw it come into the house and no one saw it fly out. This is the 3rd bird in 10 years.

  21. Ok last year a young bird flew in our home and we were able to divert it back outside safely. Roughly 6/7 weeks later my father passed away.
    Today (Halloween Morning) my 11 year old son’s cat (1st time ever) brought a bird in this home (we moved in with my mom), thankfully it was able to escape his mouth flew around and when trying to fly outta the window my daughter was able me to open it snd it flew in a tree.
    Any ideas? What May occur?

  22. Came home & I heard my 24yr.old daughter scream as if she saw the devil but it was a bride flying in the house it would go to living room window & then to the kitchen & back & forth after a good 15 min or so it finally flew out the door! So if any one knows the meaning please tell me thanks

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