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Dead Birds - are they an omen or a curse?

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K Johnson
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Joined: 18 Oct 2008

During our recent holiday in Dorset we were staying in a rented house and one morning we were intrigued to see a dead bird perched on the railing which runs along the porch at the back of the house. It did not look injured and was certainly dead as it rocked when it was blown by the breeze. It almost looked as if someone had stuck a stuffed bird to the rail. What made the whole thing even more disconcerting was that the bird was facing directly towards our back door. The only logical explanation we could think of was that the bird had been poisoned and had nestled on the railing to die. (It had fallen onto the grass by the next day). On the other hand, it would be easy for anyone to get down into the garden via some steps which are not fenced off. However, it has made me wonder if there are any customs or omens relating to dead birds in this country. Does anybody know?

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Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Re: Dead Birds - are they an omen or a curse?

I wouldn't worry too much about it... ;-)

In Scotland I was told that if a Swallow fell dead your chimney it was a very bad omen indeed since it foretold a death in the family. Also killing a Wren would bring about misfortune: according to the area you either would break a limb in a year's time or your cow would give blood instead of milk.
Both birds were once considered "damned" in Scotland: the former because it carried a drop of the Devil's blood under its tongue, the latter because it told the enemy of Jesus Christ in which direction He fled.

In Distortion We Trust


"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-



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