Birds have long thought to be associated with otherworldly powers - not other planetary but other worldly, as in the spirit world. Their ability to fly far and high in ages gone by gave them a mystical quality that many looked to for signs and portents, and one of the most common 'bird omen wives tale' was that if a bird flew into your house through an opened door or window, death was not far behind.
The Bird Omen Wives Tale
In a home lies a sickly person, with family members standing vigil nearby. The health of the ill is in question and everyone is concerned that things could take a turn for the worse. A sudden rapping at the window of the sick room causes a start and those in the room turn to see a black crow sitting on the sill, tap, tap, tapping at the glass. Its insistence is unnerving - what does it want? Eventually the crow flies off, but not before leaving the concerned family members with a chilling superstition that their loved one is doomed to die.
The variations on this theme are many, but all fairly consistent; a bird tries or succeeds to get into a home, and this is considered a sign of imminent death. In some versions the bird strikes the window in flight (sometimes getting up and doing it again) or lands on the sill and strikes the window with its beak. Other versions have the bird enter the home through an open window or door. Should a bird get access to the interior of a home with no visible means of entry, the superstition is that it is equivocal to an intruder alarm tuned to sense death itself going off.
There is no one source of the 'bird flying into house equals death' wives' tale, but it is a common enough superstition nonetheless. In days gone by people were prone to look for many superstitious or mystical answers to every day questions, and some questions that were not so run of the mill (such as “why must my loved one die?”). When something out of the ordinary happened people were quick to ascribe to it some mystical significance, whether or not there was a logical, natural explanation to it.
Any time a bird flies into a house it certainly is an unusual experience. Birds, being creatures of the outdoors and mainly shy of man to boot, do not typically try to get inside a dwelling. Some may get confused, thanks to an expertly cleaned glass window and give itself a braining on a house. Others may land on a handy window ledge and peck at its own reflection out of curiosity. As for a bird flying in through an open window, taking a break on a chair back, and then leaving, who knows? But it certainly is behaviour convenient to attach a sense of a message being delivered.
No Birds In My House!
The idea of birds being associated with death is very strong in some people, to the point that they won’t have decorations of birds in their home. One famous report has actress Lucile Ball tearing wallpaper out of a new home because she discovered little birds in the pattern that she didn’t notice before.
Fact or fiction?
We'll let you decide but before you do take a look at what one of our readers had to say about it…
I didn't believe this myth at first but now I do. In January of last year a black bird flew into my grandmother's house and just sat on the fireplace watching her, she tried to chase it out but it refused to go. Eventually she got it outside and when she did she saw two more sat on the window ledge outside. Three days later she passed away. At the time I didn't think the birds were a sign or an omen. Two months later a magpie got into my uncle's home, we don't know how, and once again three days later he passed away. I don't fear birds but I truly believe they can sense when someone is ready to pass on.
Two weeks after a friend of mine passed away a finch came to visit me at my home I thought it was stuck on my screen but it wasn't I stepped outside and the bird Sat on my finger and I have pictures,Could this have been a massage.
Rcheney - 13-Mar-13 @ 1:25 PM
everybody telling their story here but what was the outcome ??
ercsi - 23-Feb-13 @ 1:55 AM
A black bird got in my house today. My wife says that it means death. What happens if the bird dies. My cat beat me to it and killed it. So does that mean anything? I don't believe in superstition but my wife does. So does a dead bird mean worse or what.
Dusty - 12-Feb-13 @ 5:55 PM
A wren just flew into my house today. My cat caught it within seconds. I took it from her mouth and it got away, I walked in the next room it was on the curtains. Igrabbed it again, flew out of my hand and flew directly towards my husband and he caught it in mid air. Effortlessly!!! My point is it wouldn't let me catch it but it commited suicide and flew into my husband's grasp, not knowing whether this is where he should fly to. It was released unharmed,stunned of course. This has never happened before! We have no bird feeders around our home. I had opened the door a crack to let our other cat in. Why would a bird come in with a cat? I've been reading up on this omen, not that I believe, just curious! My husband is suicidal and very depressed. He came into the room as an observer, the Bird came to him he just closed his hand. He held it to his chest, walk calmly to the door.
elle pear - 31-Dec-12 @ 6:29 PM
Yesterday a bird came through the dryer vent, I was scared but I got
The bird out the house by opening my front door, I was raised knowing that
If a black bird flies in your house means deaf, but all I could do is pray that deaf
don't come near MT family.
t.hill - 20-Dec-12 @ 8:10 PM
For the past 3 weeks there has been 5 black birds and 1 fantail come into my house, I don't know what this means but if it means what the internet says, then I'm really worried because my mums going on an airoplane next weekend. ):
rosie - 22-Nov-12 @ 3:44 AM
Today there was a bird in my kitchen and I was the one that saw it, my mum and I tried getting it out but it didn't want to go, it kept starring at me until my dog came...so now I am scared
Sapphire - 11-Nov-12 @ 1:18 PM
I have a small Blue Jay that has been flying into my bed room window for about two weeks. Now the same bird, was trying to get into my daughters window of her car. when she drove away he preceeded to go after my car. every day he is all over my car with poop everywhere.This Blue Jay will stare at me as if he knows me. Now, one year ago there was a baby blue jay in my front bushes and my cat had the bird in his mouth, as the mother bird was havindg a fit. I made my cat let him or her go and my husband placed the little angel back into his or her nest. what could this possibly mean if anything. I have heard, the worst could mean death and the best could mean good luck. where do I stand in this world of mythology.
Starr - 7-Nov-12 @ 1:06 AM
Monday afternoon, was in community building,1st visit to kitchen area there was no sign of deceased bird. As I checked before leaving one was there next to boxes. However this bird had been deceased for some time so I may have knocked something and its fallen from where it died. Wednesday in a McDonalds a Lorikeet flew into the doorway as a staff member opened it.Knocked it out but it did come to as we reopened the door and in it came. Staff member and myself eventually captured it and let it loose outside after a bit of a chase.I get home 2 hours later and open my door. Two of the little birds that have a mud nest in my eaves flew right into the house.Took me ages to get one out..I got tired and let the other stay for a while longer.I couldn't not direct it out the door it was not leaving.Even with tricks of turning light on and off.it went for the room with the light. So I turned patio light onand all others offand the trick didnt work like before. After a second round of trying to get it out I stopped for an hourand then eventuallyexhausted it to a lower flight height and directed out of the house. It was now 10pm.I think 3 lots of bird connection in less days is weird.As nothing like this has happened before. Not evenone bird incident.Is this a catch up or a sign??One lot say deathothers say good luck or messages.I could be up for an interesting weekend. And no the windows were not clean. and door ways were small and enclosed.
Jussy - 1-Nov-12 @ 7:07 AM
I have always heard of the old wives tale that a bird flying into the house or trying to enter a window means a death is ImInent. My min pin of 12 years Roxy had been ill with colitis. She seemed to be making a recovery. A week later a bird flew into our living room through an open door. It landed on the fireplace hearth edge and looked at my fiancé and pooped and flew off out the door. It landed outside on the ground and looked at me and then flew away. Several days later my dog took a turn for the worse and a couple days later had to be hospitalized and died yesterday. I am heartbroken.
Sally - 15-Oct-12 @ 11:46 PM
On Saturday night Sept. 15/12 around 11:30 p.m. I heard a noise against my kitchen window. It kept on until I investigated and I thought a small bird had gotten caught between the windows. When I came to the window it looked me in the eye and left? The next day I checked outside the window and there was nothing. Why was this bird not sleeping?????
ANNA - 17-Sep-12 @ 4:40 PM
I never heard this omen until tonight. I had a bird get into my apartment through the dryer hole. I have no dryer hooked up and it's used as the cat box room. I got it out of the apartment but in telling one of my co workers about it tonight she told me this omen. Now I am a little freaked out.
Mel - 6-Sep-12 @ 4:56 AM
A young bird flew through our families open door this morning and it was my grandmother who noticed it. I'm afraid of this myth and was wondering if anyone knows a way to keep such things from happening. For instance: smudging, praying, or having the family talk about? any info or help would be greatly appreciated.
DezMan08 - 13-Aug-12 @ 5:48 PM
As I was waiting for the vet to get to my house this morning to lay my kitty to rest, a bird flew into the room. About a half hour later, my kitty was free of pain, and laying peacefully and lifeless. Birds are omens.
Shan - 29-Jul-12 @ 9:25 PM
We regularly have birds coming into the house, we've had pigeons, robins, blackbirds and yesterday the cutest little female sparrow. Birds like sh*t happen, sometimes a bird coincides with a tragedy but so do lollipops, and butterflies and puppies.
vogonsrock - 25-Jul-12 @ 12:55 AM
A bird walked into my house yesterday through a space at the bottom of my screen door. I will keep you updated as to if there are any deaths to follow.
angroc - 25-Jul-12 @ 12:01 AM
I always heard that a bird flying into a home is bad luck. What about bringing one into your home and it dying in your care? It was a baby sparrow that I attempted to raise to be exact.
Pan - 20-Jul-12 @ 5:58 PM
This past friday, while we were out all day, the building manager came into our apartment and was fixing something in the bathroom. He must have had the back door open which leads out to an open porch. A pile of what appears to be bird poop was left on a school notebook. No other sign of a bird's entrance in the apartment though.I know the superstition about birds in the house portending death, but I also know bird poop is supposed to be good luck. How should I interpret this occurrence?
ket - 9-Jul-12 @ 3:51 PM
I was sitting watching t.v. and having a snack. Heard this fluttering sound and a bird was flying around my livingroom all of a sudden! The weird thing is that all the windows and doors are shut, no holes anywhere! I live in an apartment so I had maintenence come in to see if they could find how it got in. We are all FREAKED OUT! There is no way it could have gotten in! Never had the door propped opened today, but three days ago I had it open carrying in grociers. I have a very small apartment and it would have been flying around or pooping every where before tonight. What do you think about this? It HAS ME TOTALLY FREAKED! I would rather have seen a ghost! Then I would know how it got in!
OldLady - 16-Jun-12 @ 12:12 AM
I had a sparrow fly into an open window.Was able to get him to fly out by opening all of the windows in the house.
No one died.
drivetopless - 5-Jun-12 @ 11:45 PM
This is very strange and I hope someone can answer me.In the last 3 weeks, I have found a next full of baby bunnies, the mother had abandoned them and they all died.7 in all.That same day, a baby black bird made it's way into my backyard.The parents were feeding it.It couldn't fly, but wasn't injured.I opened the gate and it wandered out.Never saw it again.This morning, a baby pigeon is now in my yard in the exact same spot the baby black bird was.It's fine.It's parents are also feeding it.I'm getting a bit worried this is a bad omen.Nothing has flown into the house and I don't have a chimney.I haven't heard anything hit the windows either.I just keep finding all these babies in my back yard.I can't seem to find anything regarding this.
Susan - 4-Jun-12 @ 3:55 PM
Had over 100 calliope hummingbirds fly into my house on June 1st last year.In three years I went from 1 feeder to 16 and I need more.There are hundreds here, maybe over a thousand.It's all a bit overwhelming.I wonder all the time what it means, if anything other than they like it here.
Rocky - 1-Jun-12 @ 2:30 AM
I walked into a room one time and the boy staring at me said I had blue birds flying around my head; It's just something that's always stayed in my head; has anyone ever heard of such a thing other than on wile e. coyote and road runner?
Horse - 31-May-12 @ 9:32 PM
12 years ago my now ex-husband and I were going through a very ugly divorce and we still lived in the same house.Three times birds flew into our house within one day.Also during the same month I had a vivid dream where my dead grandmother (who I was extremely close to when she was alive) told me that my husband would be gone during his 47th year.He was 46 at the time and now he is 59.Because of both of these omens I found the strength to move forward.We fought for years in court.
Now looking back, I think the birds were a sign of death to the relationship/marriage and my grandmother was trying to tell me that the husband would be gone....she never said dead, but I did misinterpret it that way.
Every year on my birthday in August, a hummingbird will fly around me.No lie!! When I walk outside, I will see a hummingbird and it will be about a foot or so from my head.This NEVER happens any other day of the year.I tell myself it is my grandmothers way of saying happy birthday!
Denise - 26-May-12 @ 1:50 PM
This was so strange.For years now red cardinals kept spying upon me.And blue birds kept flying around my home.And then I had smoke out of my shoes leaving that whackjob town of monsters for people.And ended up with my friends.AND then we found a blue bird flying inside the her home in panic.What does it mean?Because it freaked me all out.And that was after I got mad a Paul McCartney and Clarence Clemens!
MJ - 25-May-12 @ 5:01 PM
my baby that was almost 2 months born march 23 ,2012 past away may 8 th 2012 ,and iheard and seen birds fly and hit your glass window but its weird we will be driving down the road and these birds sometime it more than one but today it was one bird ,they are flying straight head on ,and we duck like they are going to fly right into us but they turn and fly away before we drive into them and i was sitting on my couch and my boyfriend is sleeping on the other couch and im looking like i was shocked which it was weird ,a bird flew right into the living room window and it was closed and didnt die it flew off and my boyfriend woke up saying what the hell was that i told ,him it loud are these things that keep happening with the birds normal or does it having a meaning to it like when a bird flys into your house somebody dies close too you
rebbecca - 24-May-12 @ 5:04 PM
My mother (God rest her soul) told me the wives tale when I was young. Just before her death.a bird flew into our front living room window. She died within the month. This was over 30 years ago. In 2007, I came home from work and found a bird in my apartment. I shooed it out the door. Within the week, my husband was dead. I have enough proof to believe this.
MNRagdoll - 17-May-12 @ 3:37 AM
My daugter was born 1pd 4oz. she was in the nicu. one night I came home. a bird was flying around in my bedroom.several days later a baby bird was dead on my front steps. that same night one of the babies that sat across from my baby in the nicu died.also around a month 1/2 ago I woke up and me and my baby girl came downstairs toward the kitchen. a bird was flying around I ran to the front door. open it up.the bird flew out. 2hrs later my baby was vomiting up very bad nonstop. I rush her to the ER. she had a virus. she's doing fine now. but the strange thing to me. the day it happen was the day of the lil girl who died funeral anniversary.yes I do beleive birds are signs.
ang - 2-May-12 @ 8:12 PM
So, Today around 11 ish. A Black Crow was scratching on my bedroom window. The crow wasnt inside my room. But it was outside . Funny thing I live in a apartment, and the road is called Ravensong. So im not even sure if it was a Raven, But if so, do Ravens mean a sighn of death too?
Rissa - 30-Apr-12 @ 1:04 AM
One summer day my partner begged me to go to her sister's house for a 'get together' BBQ. Me being anti-social and really not in the mood, I declined but made a baked alaska for them all to enjoy. Hours before she and the nipper went over, my partner was watching tv and I was in the kitchen. I turned round and there was a sparrow on the window sill next to the open window. just standing there. staring at me. It didn't feel ominous but it did unnerve me cus it wasn't panicking or breathing heavy. just standing and looking into me, through me. I mentioned it to my partner and she chuckled knowingly and explained the superstition. I can't remember it leaving now (been 10 years) but I know it didn't do so with a fuss. long story short. after they came back (and she told the party about the visit). she complained about back pains and discomfort. this was the 2nd time she said she didn't want to go to the hospital (after a similar pain months before) and asked for some water. I rubbed her back. moments later she was gone. massive heart attack. i kept wondering if the baked alaska was dodgy and they were going to fall like flies until I had the sparrow in the kitchen superstition confirmed. that bird was judging me. and despite my efforts to be worthy of her (after taking her for granted and straying). I was found to be lacking.