Birds have long been bringers of omens, their popularity as means of divination only began to wane after the industrial revolution. Birds' feathers are still used for various purposes (such as conducting energy, decorating spiritual devices such as dreamcatchers and magick wands, and cleansing). However, folklore tells us that interpreting their appearance in the sky and many other things about their behavior can give us a plethora of insights. Here I list some of the more well-known ones.


  • Chickens have been known to be able to serve as good luck charms in war situations.
  • Chicken broth, of course, is a good remedy for a cold.


  • A crane can be embroidered on clothes to achieve longevity.
  • It is a symbol of health, fidelity, and joining.
  • Visualizations of cranes taking away sickness work wonders.


  • In areas where crows are indigenous, go out and voice a question. A crow's cry coming from the southeast means an enemy is coming; from the south, a visit from a friend is coming; from the southwest, you will unexpectedly receive wealth.
  • Crow feathers are good luck charms for traveling.
  • Thousands of divination methods are based on crows' flights and numbers in the East.


  • A sign of spring.
  • If you hear a cuckoo on April 14 and have change in your pocket, you will have a prosperous year.
  • They are a symbol of weddings.
  • They are a useful symbol for transformations, second sight, and benevolence.


  • A symbol of peace and love.
  • Good for meditating on with reference to getting past a block of some kind, provoking fortune, and putting to rest inner turmoil.
  • Seeing one could mean a divine message is on its way.


  • Seeing an eagle can forecast a storm.
  • A shielding symbol for any object that needs protection.
  • Eagles are thought to carry the souls of important people to the next life.


  • Hearing the cackling of geese can forecast dangers, most notably raids or riots.
  • Goose down is used for pillows as a protective agent.
  • Geese are emblems of new beginnings.


  • Seeing a hawk can mean divine intervention will change the course of a life.
  • A good symbol to meditate on when seeking sharper figurative vision.


  • Giving someone a hummingbird feather works as a love charm.
  • Have the strange reputation of being unable to lie; useful in truth meditations.


  • Hearing a magpie in the East means you will soon hear good news.
  • Hearing a magpie in the West indicates trouble between a married couple. To get rid of this, spit at the bird, and the trouble will not occur, so they say.
  • Envisioning a magpie and trying to mentally warn another person of bad circumstances is very effective.


  • Owls are thought to be messengers from the gods.
  • Giving another person an owl feather makes them unable to lie to themselves.
  • If you hear an owl hoot three times, or it flies near you, you shoul check your motivation and make sure you are not going astray.



  • If going into battle and a raven is spotted, it means sure victory.
  • Ravens have been known to guide travelers to their intended stopping points.
  • If all the ravens living in the area suddenly vacate, it is a sign of famine or disaster.
  • The raven is a good symbol to carve on a drum and to meditate on for links to the Earth.


  • If a robin pecks on a window, it means a child is about to be conceived.
  • The robin is a symbol of compassion and fertility.


  • Roosters announce the dawn.
  • Rooster feathers help in divining the answer to a difficult matter.


  • Storks supposedly guard the souls of the elderly and bring them comfort.
  • Storks can be seen as judges and lawmakers.
  • A stork sighting can mean children on the way.
  • The stork is a symbol of respect for elders.


  • A swan's song is also called a final farewell, believed to be dedicated to the god Apollo.
  • Swans are associated with the moon.


This information was expanded and organized from information in Patricia Telesco's The Magick of Folk Wisdom, © 1995.

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