Superstitions about Birds

It's day 3 of the Superstition Game! Wow, these are going up fast and furious. Ollie can't imagine how fast time is flying by. I can't imagine it myself and I'm not an inanimate object. *laughs*

Today, we have superstitions about birds in general. This superstition suggestion is brought to you by Susan Roebuck. Please click on her name to visit her website after reading this post.

Here's what you need to know about birds:

The apparently miraculous power of flight enjoyed by birds has inspired innumerable superstitions over the centuries. The fact that birds seemed literally to inhabit the Heavens prompted many primitive religions to cast their gods in the form of birds of various kinds, and many species have retained particular significance in folklore to this day. Soothsayers in ancient Rome learned to predict the future through their analysis of birdsong, while other cultures credited birds with having their own language and links with the supernatural, the birds themselves often being interpreted as the reincarnation of dead souls.

The appearance of certain birds (particularly those with black and white feathers) may be regarded as an omen of death or some other coming misfortune, while others are closely associated with witchcraft and the devil. Some birds of apparently supernatural origin, moreover, appear to have attached themselves to particular families or offices in much the same way as the banshee, appearing when a family member is dying. A famous example is the pair of white birds that appear when a Bishop of Salisbury is dying, supposedly seen as recently as 1911.

Among the best-known superstitions relating to virtually all species is the widely held belief that a bird flying into a room through an open window and then out again is a sure sign of the approaching death of someone in the household, as is the sight of birds flying around a particular house or a bird tapping against the windowpane or coming down the chimney. Apart from domestic poultry, many people refuse to allow a bird, cared or not, or its eggs, into their homes, and it is thought unlucky even to have bird-patterned wallpaper or crockery and other items with pictures of birds on them. Dark-colored birds that fly around trees without ever seeming to settle are said to be the souls of reincarnated evil-doers, though another popular superstition (from France) maintains that when unbaptised children die, they become birds for a time until accepted into Heaven.

 Anyone hit by bird droppings can expect ill luck in the near future (though some people claim it is actually lucky), while a person starting on a journey is recommended on setting off to note the position of any birds flying nearby: if they fly to the right, a good trip is foretold, but if they fly to the left, the traveler would do well to stay at home, particularly if the birds are to many to count. Similarly, in a relic of the ‘ornithomancy’ of the ancient Romans, much can be gleaned from the direction out of which a bird call comes: if it is from the north, ill luck will ensue; if from the south, a good harvest; if from the west, good luck; and if from the east, love.

The death of a caged bird on the morning of a wedding indicates that the marriage will not prosper, and pet birds must be kept informed of important family events or they will languish and die. It is also unlucky to come across a dead bird outside the home and, in Scotland at least, children will spit on the corpse to ensure, they claim, that they are not given it for their supper. Lastly, parents are warned against feeding too many eggs to their children, which allegedly risks them growing up sexually confused.    

Well, that was an interesting end note to the post. What do you think of the superstitions about birds? If you want more, Ollie and I have explored the superstitions associated with Ravens in this post. Check it out and get back to us. 

Until tomorrow! Make sure to spit on those bird corpses!

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