Birds As Omens & Signs: Crows, Owls, Birds in the House & More!
For many centuries, our ancestors looked to nature to bring them important information about love, strength, and survival. Many civilizations believed in animal totems and relied heavily on messages birds brought to them, including Native Americans, the Celts, and many others. In this article, learn how to look at birds as omens and signs and how to listen to the messages they bring us. Article to include blackbirds, bird of ill omen, birds in the house, hummingbirds, and more.
Birds As Omens (What We’re Covering)
- Crows, ravens, and blackbirds bring news of good passage and protection.
- Hawks represent clear-sightedness and vision.
- Owls are birds that bring messages of wisdom and warnings of death.
- When a hummingbird hovers nearby, it means you are capable of achieving the impossible.
- A woodpecker reminds us to pay attention and dig deep.
- The bluejay represents a need for family protection and defense.
- Cardinals are always a good sign.
- A bird in the house means different things depending on the type and its behavior.
- When a bird flies in the window, you may encounter an obstacle in your life soon.
- If a bird follows you, it wants to be your guardian.
- Augury is using the flight patterns of birds to answer life questions.
- Dead birds represent metaphysical death and change.
What Does It Mean If I See a Crow? Are Black Birds Bad Luck?
There is a superstitious misconception about black birds in much of Western society. Is it because they’re black and the color is often associated with evil? Or is it years of stereotyping the crow or blackbird as a witch’s familiar? Either way, the black bird as an ill omen seems to be one that sticks out in many people’s minds. I have to disagree. Even the Native American medicine man Bobby Lake Thom, who wrote Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies, says the black bird always has a message to bring and it’s almost never a bad one. Learn more about crow symbolism here.
Blackbirds: News of Good Passage
While the crow or blackbird often play the trickster, they are benevolent and bring news of good passage and protection. The black bird’s reputation as a bad omen is not based in experience or fact. I typically smile when a black bird crosses my path. I also immediately associated this omen (a good omen) with the gods Odin, Bran, The Morrigan, and Queen Maeve – deities that communicate through animal signs. Crows and ravens are two of the smartest animals in the world and bring a deeper understanding of spirituality and the occult. In addition to crows and ravens, there are other black birds like actual blackbirds and grackles.
What If I See a White Bird? Is It a Curse or a Blessing?
Just as it is overly simplistic to equate black with bad, it might also be a mistake to associate white with good fortune. White doves often symbolize peace, joy, and love, white pigeons are linked to holiness or guardian spirits, and egrets are associated with prosperity. Pigeons and doves were also the only birds the ancient Hebrews believed were appropriate for sacrifice. On the other hand, many cultures equate the color white with death or emptiness. What a white bird sign means depends on the situation and the culture.
Birds as Omens: Hawks As a Sign
One of the most powerful birds of prey, hawks have superior eyesight. Because of this, they symbolize vision, clearsightedness, the big picture, and wisdom. If a hawk lands near you or appears in dreams, a message is coming to let you know whether you are on the right path. Hawks are a call to take notice. Their appearance is considered a blessing.
Owls & Buzzards: Birds of Ill Omen? Or Misunderstood?
When we hear “birds as omens”, most folks think of the owl. Unfortunately, every time an owl has shown up at my home, within a week, one of my neighbors or relatives dies. So in my personal experience, the owl is a bird of ill omen because it brings news of impending death. NOW that doesn’t mean that the owl itself is a BAD bird or evil in any way. I believe the owl is a psychopomp in that it guides souls from this plane to the spiritual plane and warns loved ones. We as westerners are taught to fear death. And therefore associate anything with death as bad, when in fact it’s just a part of the cycle of life.
Portends of Death & Bad Travel Luck
In Eastern Europe, if an owl lands on a person’s roof, it is said to portend a death in the home. Some Native medicine men say the owl works for evil forces to spy on you or perform other evil tasks. Another bird of ill omen, according to some Native American tribes, is the buzzard. While I have no personal experience with buzzards, some say they bring news of blockages during travel and other aggravating circumstances. Is the buzzard a bird of ill omen to you? Or have they been a bird of protection? Messages can vary from individual to individual.
Hummingbirds as Signs
These tiny beings are impossibly strong, fast, and beautiful. They are revered for their speed and energy. If a hummingbird hovers nearby, or especially if one lands near you, it brings a message of joy and love. Native Americans associate hummingbird movement with a dance intended to bring balance to the world.
Woodpeckers As a Sign
I love seeing and hearing woodpeckers in my neighborhood. If a woodpecker has shown up, it typically means you’re not paying attention to something important. The woodpecker is knock knock knocking on your brain to remind you to pay attention! An alternative meaning of the woodpecker is we need to dig deeper, past the surface of an issue to find a true resolution.
Bluejays are defensive and fierce birds. My grandmother never liked them. I, for one, always loved the blue jay. Seeing a bluejay in your yard or on your house, or multiple bluejay omens, frequently means it’s a time your family needs protection. There may be an intruder (physically or figuratively) that comes a-knocking, so it’s time to tighten up your defenses.
Birds as omens that you’ll want around are cardinals. Cardinals are beautiful red birds that frequently appear as a pair: male and female mates. For this reason, the cardinal as an omen or sign represents romantic love and intimacy. It can also mean a time of fertility: either you’re going to have a baby OR you’re getting ready to birth a new idea into fruition in your career or personal interests. The cardinal also brings a time of joy and jubilee.
The Whippoorwill As a Sign
One of my favorite experiences with birds as signs occurred recently, in 2022. One night we realized that we had a family of whippoorwills living in a tree or in the ground in our backyard. Why is this bird so special? They are nocturnal, for one, and especially active around the Full Moon when they tend to mate. But it’s not their mating patterns that make them so magical, it’s their call. They are VERY loud little birds and when they call out, it sounds like they’re saying their name over and over. You’ll only hear them at night, and I’ve read that they are monogamous creatures. And when a predator is threatening the nest, the Daddy bird will pretend to have a broken leg or wing and lead the predator away from his family. So if you hear a whippoorwill in your yard, it could mean one of a few things. A. that it’s time for you to embrace witchcraft and the moon, B. it’s time to look after and protect your family from possible harm, and/or C. enjoy your family time.
What Does It Mean When a Bird Flies Into Your House?
An old wives’ tale from the Ozarks says certain birds flying into the house are a bad omen, particularly turtledoves. But I say make your judgment from circumstances that take place directly after the bird is in your home. And of course, by all means, set the little thing free! Watch the bird. Is it trying to get free or is it looking around your house calmly?
What kind of bird is it? Could it be a bird that your ancestor was fond of? Maybe one of your loved ones is trying to send you a message. Is it trying to get out? Maybe it’s telling you to free yourself from the box you’ve put yourself in. Not every bird in the house is an ill omen.
What if a Bird Flies in the Window?
When a wild bird flies into your car or house window and is knocked unconscious, it might die from the impact. This may be an omen that you believe you are getting somewhere in life, but that you will hit a wall soon. Don’t worry, another window of opportunity will open. It can also be a sign that family turmoil is in store for the near future. Pay attention to the action of birds as omens.
What If a Bird Follows You Home?
This is not necessarily an omen so much as an indication that this particular creature would like to be your friend. The bird that follows you home might actually be what we call your “spirit guide” or “totem.” These can be anything from a crow to a pigeon. Research the mythology behind whatever bird is following you home and be open to the fact that this creature might be your new animal spirit guide.
What Does It Mean If I Find a Feather?
Many regard bird feathers as gifts or signs from the gods, ancestors, and angels. If you find a feather, it may be a message from your spirit guide or a deceased loved one. Read Feather Magic to learn more.
How Can You Read Birds as Omens?
In addition to understanding the appearance of birds as omens, augury is a great way to read natural signs. Augury is the process of answering a question by studying the flight patterns and actions of birds. The ancient Celts used this technique, and so did Native Americans. It involves listening to nature and being receptive to the messages it brings us. There are answers all around us, we just have to be open to hearing them. To read the flight patterns or actions of a bird, you really have to use your personal intuition. Here’s how to get started.
- Be in a relaxed state and gaze up into the sky. Wait for a flock of birds, or any birds at all, to fly by. Don’t worry too much about it. Let the birds come to you spontaneously.
- Ask yourself some questions about the birds you see. Do you see a large number of birds, or just one? In what direction are they flying? North, south, east, or west? Are they flying steadily in one direction, or are they swirling about?
- Use your intuition to interpret the movements. What do these motions mean to you?
An Augury Story
One evening I was driving home from work when I saw a flock of about 20 birds flying above my car, into the sunset. I had been reading birds’ flight patterns for years, so it came naturally to simply look at their swirling flight (in and out of one another). To me, this meant that I was to experience some chaos at home that evening. While I won’t go into detail, I most definitely did. Reading birds’ flight patterns is not difficult. You just have to be open-minded and willing to watch and listen, with both your intuition and soul. Augury is a wonderful tool for divination and for everyday life.
What Does a Dead Bird Symbolize?
If you’ve seen a dead bird in the road, or perhaps accidentally hit a bird, it may feel like a bad sign. It may actually be a good sign, showing you an end to turmoil or pain is coming. A dead bird doesn’t necessarily portend physical death, but metaphorical death. Perhaps you’re going through the heartache of a break-up. Perhaps you are struggling to find a job. This dead bird marks the end to your search and struggle. A new beginning is just around the corner.