Everyday, we observe birds and other animals doing what comes natural. In flight, by their numbers, or by their calls, animals were used in augury to indicate some event in the near or far future, usually bad. Birds and serpents were most often used in augury, but other animals might also indicate some future happenings as well.
Bird Auguries
See also Ornithomancy

Any bird in flight could be interpreted by the direction of its flight. A very active bird meant strong action would be needed. Flight to the the east was propitious, but flight toward the west was a bad omen.

If the bird flew back and forth low to the ground, The omen was unlucky. Horizontal flight in one direction meant some purpose would be revealed.

Birds flying from the left to the right, crossing the path of the observer, is a fortunate omen while flight from the right to the left is unfortunate. Birds in flight that appear to head straight toward the observer are thought to bring good luck with them, but if they are flying away, they will take your good fortune with them.

Birds seen on the left, whether they are in flight or perched, are unlucky, particularly if they are dark in color. A light colored bird diminishes the magnitude of the misfortune... and vice versa. A bird on the right is fortunate, but if it is dark in color, the sign is becomes weaker.

If a bird suddenly changes its direction, this is a warning to be be on guard against an enemy's sudden attack.

The height of a bird's flight affects the strength of the omen. The greater the height, the more favorable the indication.

Specific Birds


Buzzards warn of danger caused by hidden enemies and those who have a predatory nature.


Two crows seen flying over a house indicated a wedding in the future.


A dove or any white bird is a harbinger of bad luck. But for lovers, the dove means love, happiness, and a joyous married life.


A duck in flight is a good sign, particularly for those who are in trouble or unhappy.


Eagles are often indications of bad circumstances to come. Appearing over a plain, it is an omen of death.


Any flight of migratory geese or ducks means travel or news. If they were seen flying toward the moon, loneliness or news of death approaches.


Anyone who sights a hawk should be on guard againt those who are more powerful. If the bird was hovering on the left hand side or directly overhead, the omen is dramatically increased.

Kestral or Falcon

Most birds of prey, like the kestral or falcon, are considered unlucky, threatening a sudden upheavel. If seen or heard on the left, it is even more unlucky. Birds of prey hovering on the wing warn of underhanded treachery.


Seeing a kingfisher is an omen scandal and gossip resulting in public embarrasment.


A kite warns of robbery, extortion, and financial losses for the person who encounters it.


Magpies are especially usefull in augury. One alone means bad luck; a pair means love and friendship. One old maxim said :
One for sorrow.
Two for mirth.
Three for a wedding.
Four for a birth.
Five's a christening,
six is death,
Seven's heaven,
eight is hell,
And nine's the devil his one self.


The Peacock is associated with the goddess Juno, queen of the heavens. Meeting one is a happy omen, and if it spread its tail for you, happiness and proserity are predicted. On the other hand, it is unlucky (especially among actors) to have a peacock feather inside. It symbolizes the evil eye.


A white pigeon seen flying about a house is an omen of an engagment or marriage for one of the inhabitants in the near future.


No matter if it is seen or heard on the right or the left, a quail is a fortunate omen.


One raven by itself is lucky, while two mean misfortune in the future, and three bring evil. When ravens desert the countryside and settle within towns, pestilence and famine await the inhabitants.


Robins, aside from being Spring's harbingers, also predict the weather with their song. To see one near a house or in the garden is a sign of good fortune to those who dwell within.


Rooks, like magpies, are a rich source of material for augury. If they congregate on dead branches, there will be rain before nightfall. A good day is indicated by their choosing a living branch. If they fly far away from their nests in the morning, there will be no rain. Aerial twists and dives mean bad weather is coming.


A white rooster is not a lucky sign, for trouble abides in whatever home it approaches slowly.


Seagulls flying far inland indicated a tempest at sea, but one alone means bad news is coming. A traveller seeing a seagull settle on any part of a ship that they are travelling or about to travel on, can expect a happy journey, but to be brushed by a gull's wings while in flight or if the gull flaps the wings in a person's face, someone close will die.


The Sparrow is generally an unfortunate omen, but it favors lovers.


A very lucky bird, the stork is sometimes encouraged to nest on housetops.


Swallows indicate poor circumstances. Flying low, they indicate a spoilt crop, while flying high is a sign of drought. To see a swallow in early springtime before they have become abundant is a very fortunate omen however, and if one builds a nest in the eaves of a house, success and good luck are promised to all that inhabit it. Killing a swallow, especially one that has nested in your house's eaves, foretells calamity for all who abide there.


A Vulture foretells the death of an acquaintance or friend. If more than one of these is seen together, it indicates the number of days that will lapse before the death omen is fulfilled.


A Wagtail is a lucky sign, especially if the little bird is walking towards you from the left.


The Woodpecker is another fortunate bird, and to encounter one is an omen of success.


Sighting a wren promises good luck, but if you harmed or frightened one in any way (or to take its eggs or young from the nest) you are sure to bring calamity of some sort upon yourself.