Bird Lore: What Does It Mean When a Bird Flies Into Your House? And Other Superstitions
A bird flying into your house can be cause for alarm. How will you get it out? Will the cat go after it? How much will it poop? But birds flying into houses may hold an even greater significance than you think. Over the centuries, various cultures have developed a wide range of symbolic interpretations for such occurrences. One of the most popular superstitions is that birds come bearing messages.
Whether the message is good or bad depends on the type of bird. If a cardinal serves as your messenger, it may signal good news on the horizon, whereas ravens tend to be bearers of misfortune. Check out these other fascinating bird symbols and superstitions from various cultures.
Morrigan and Celtic Crow Symbolism
Blackbirds, like crows and ravens, often get a bad wrap. This is quite possibly because they are carrion birds, meaning they eat the carcasses of just about anything. Consequently, they’re often associated with death.
In Irish folklore, crows are associated with the Celtic goddess Morrigan, who is said to be able to shapeshift into a crow at will. Among the fiercest and most feared goddesses of Irish legend, Morrigan was the queen of war, fate and death. In a book written in 1870 called The Ancient Irish Goddess of War, Morrigan would fly around battlefields in the form of a crow, predicting the deaths of warriors.
For Celtic warriors, seeing a crow during battle was a terrifying omen and could either inspire them to fight harder to survive or run for the hills. In this way, Morrigan was often said to be able to influence the outcome of a battle.
The Tower of London Ravens
Every now and then, blackbirds, such as ravens, will catch a lucky break and be associated with something far more positive than death or destruction. Look no further than the Tower of London ravens for one of history’s best examples.
Since the 1600s, at least six ravens have been kept in the Tower of London at all times. According to legend, it all began when astronomer John Flamsteed complained to King Charles II that the multitude of ravens around the first Royal Observatory was obstructing his view of the heavens.
King Charles II ordered the birds’ destruction, only to receive a prophecy claiming that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.” Yikes! Not only was this enough to convince the king to grant the birds a speedy pardon, but it inspired him to insist that at least six ravens be kept in the tower at all times.
Today, nine ravens currently live in the 1,000-year-old tower. Their names are Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy, Georgie, Edgar and Branwen.
Salute the Magpie
If you ever come across a magpie while walking down the street in the UK, be sure to wish it a good day and ask how its family is doing. Sound crazy?
Perhaps, until you consider that across the pond in the U.S. and Canada, we have an entire holiday dedicated to a groundhog. The UK’s “salute the magpie” superstition is quite possibly rooted in the fact that magpies mate for life. Therefore, if you come across a lone magpie, it could be in mourning because it lost its mate. By asking about its wife and kids, you’re suggesting that hopefully it just ran out to pick up worms for the little ones and will hopefully avoid contracting its misfortune.
If you see a magpie couple, it’s considered to be a sign of good fortune because all is well.
Birds As Luck in Feng Shui
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of arranging objects in a way that promotes a flow of positive energy. Feng Shui suggests a variety of tips and tricks for arranging your home’s interior to improve its energy, attract wealth or luck, and achieve harmony.
If you could use a little more luck in your life, then Feng Shui advises incorporating more bird art or symbols into your decor. Different types of birds symbolize different things, so, be sure to select the right ones before stocking your Amazon cart with random bird decor.
Here are a few popular Feng Shui birds and their meanings to help get you started:
- Phoenix – Longevity and health
- Mandarin Ducks – Love
- Peacock – Abundance
- Magpies – Happiness
- Doves – Good news
- Parrots – Good luck, fortune/wealth
If you’re willing to go all out, you can turn to the powerful “100 birds” symbol in the form of a wall decal or photo. In Feng Shui, a display featuring 100 birds is said to usher in good fortune. Just make sure they are positioned so that it looks like they’re flying into your home instead of out of it.
When Bird Poop Is Considered Lucky
While the idea of a bird pooping on your head would probably be most people’s idea of an unlucky break, many cultures believe it’s a lucky omen. The superstition is believed to have its roots in Russia, though no one can say for sure exactly where or why it began.
One of the more likely reasons why getting pooped on by a bird is considered good luck is that the odds of it happening are slim. In fact, it’s said that the chances of a bird choosing to use your head as a toilet are even lower than winning the lottery.
Okay, so this superstition is a little bizarre, but that hasn’t kept many people from buying into it.
NBA star Dwayne Wade is among the many who embrace the symbolism of the bird poop blessing. Wade once took to social media to describe several incidents in which awesome luck had followed directly on the heels of having his head defiled by random birds.
Hey, whatever keeps your spirits up, right? We hope you’ve enjoyed learning these cool bird superstitions from various cultures. And remember, don’t forget to salute any magpies that cross your path.