Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-25-2012, 06:38 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,297
Folklore: Bird Flying Into Window = Portent of Death?

This morning I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, when I heard a loud *THUD* from my window. Thinking some neighborhood kids were up to some shenanigans, I looked outside and saw nothing. Then I looked down, and there it was- a dying bird who had obviously brained himself on my window glass.

At that point I remembered hearing or reading somewhere that a bird flying into your window was an omen of death. I posted jokingly about it on Facebook, and some disagreement arose among my friends about whether or not it's any bird, or a specific bird (and if so, what bird- raven, crow, etc.)?

Anyone got the scoop?
Old 08-25-2012, 07:46 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Obama Country
Posts: 6,605
It's a bird inside the house that foretells death. However, you can see from the example given in the Snopes article that birds crashing into windows are often included in the superstition as well.

When I was growing up, we had an atrium in our house, and at one point we had birds flying into the glass on a daily basis. I can remember my mother making some joking references to the superstition. I think we finally had to hang some streamers in front of the windows to keep the birds away.
Old 08-25-2012, 08:02 PM
TheChileanBlob TheChileanBlob is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,477
It is an omen of death...for the bird!
Old 08-25-2012, 08:02 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 5,029
A bird hit my office window this past Monday. The weekend before that, facilities had people in the building to wash the windows.

I haven't died yet. Then again, Tropical Storm Isaac won't be in the area for another twelve hours or so..

Old 08-25-2012, 09:18 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,199
It is hard to accept bird + window = death is old folk wisdom. Large, strong windows are a pretty new innovation, to say 1900 would be generous.
Shrine Hospitals for Children (North America)
Never any fee
Do you know a child in need?
Old 08-25-2012, 10:14 PM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 6,125
Not all superstitions are of equal age, and new folklore can (and does) arise at any time.

All folklore varies by population, so there's no definitive answer. In Western Europe and cultures derived therefrom, there are various superstitions where the bird basically equals the soul, and unusual or contrary behaviour in wild birds in relation to human life is often read as an indication that death is immanent. A bird flying into the house is sometimes bad luck, sometimes a death omen. A bird flying into a window is a logical extension of that.

Some death omens restrict the bird to night birds or even just owls; some to black-coloured birds or even just crows or ravens. Domestic birds (chickens, geese, ducks, canaries, parrots, etc.) are usually excluded. Beyond that, there's too much variation to say.

I will say that if the bird remains on the premises, it kind of invalidates the superstition. I mean, if it's supposed to indicate your soul winging away to heaven and your soul is just there writhing in pain on the ground, it doesn't really work.
Old 08-25-2012, 11:17 PM
HotDogWater HotDogWater is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Wormtown, MA
Posts: 234

tell Thad.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:18 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017