Guest Author - Kimberly Weiss
I started my new day job the other day, and as I was sitting in a staff meeting, I looked out the window and saw the most amazing thing: eating from a pink mum was a hummingbird.
I couldnít believe it. I had heard there were hummingbirds in my city, but hadnít seen one myself (or, to be truthful, believed it.) But there it was, a female ruby-throated hummer. She drank some nectar for a few minutes, then flew away. Nobody else at the meeting noticed her, or if they did, they werenít impressed. Maybe they donít realize the relative rarity of hummingbirds around here (this is only my second sighting of a wild hummingbird, after birding for 20 years. The first was in famous birding hotspot Cape May, NJ.)
Itís always nerve-wracking to start a new job, and Iíve had it rough the last few years with layoffs and closings. I took the sighting of this rare bird to be an omen. But what kind of omen?
After doing a little net research, I learned that birds are usually bad omens. A website called ďFind Your FateĒ has a page called ďOmens of Death-birds.Ē Included are the following birds: bitterns, crows, cuckoos, doves, eagles, geese, owls, pigeons and of course, ravens. Also, there are some general omens of death, including a bird flying through an open window, a bird coming down the chimney and a bird tapping on a window. Sometimes you merely have to see a bird to have it be an omen of death, according to the website. Seeing just three gulls flying towards you is enough to do you in. Other bad omens are more specific. A robin actually has to sing in church for it to be a bad sign. Is it a bad sign if the bird sings in a mosque or synagogue? I donít know.
The raven, the most famous bird omen of death thanks to Edgar Allan Poe, is actually fairly innocuous as far as bird omens go. They have to croak between 10:00 and midnight. Otherwise, itís not a bad omen, just a noisy bird, (although it is bad if they croak over a house, at any time of day.)
Birds are not always the omens of death, however. Sometimes a bird can bring good luck. According to Wiki Answers, a duck brings good luck and wealth, a lark good luck and a swallow good fortune. A vulture, however, brings poverty.
Is any of this true? I have seen seagulls in groups of three many, many times, and Iím still here to tell about it. Vultures are more common in tony suburbs than in impoverished cities. I see ducks every day, both on the days I have good luck and on the days when nothing goes right. So Iíd like to be skeptical.
But on the other hand, the hummingbird is an omen for ďjoy and miracles.Ē So, I think Iíll believe in bird omens for the time being!
Happy birding everybody.