Tuesday, May 23, 2006



Most cultures worldwide have stories about birds that unexpectedly show themselves or act in strange ways. These birds are said to be messengers from the spirit world revealing something to us, and sometimes that can mean death. Ravens are known to be harbingers of death and out of all the predatory birds have the strongest sense of smell. They can smell death many days ahead of time. When I boarded my horse in Topanga Canyon, California many years ago, a large raven showed up and hung around for days sitting on a fence until a horse died...and then the raven moved on.

Over here in the Islands, we have mysterious birds appear and were omens to something big getting ready to happen or something passing away. A tiny white one showed up(for one brief visit) at our bird feeder when a beloved, pure being died several years ago. Recently a bird (which we began calling "Red" because of the carrot-colored tinged feathers) captured our attention by pecking on our large west-facing window every day around 7 AM. Red would peck consistently for several hours and then depart to do the same thing the next day. Everyone in our home was fascinated with Red and wondered what Red was trying to communicate to us....especially our cat who would walk on the windowpane and stare down Red. Anela (means Angel in Hawaiian) foolishly tried to grab Red the first day and bounced off the window hitting our floor with a thud. We howled with laughter when this happened, and Anela, being the khool kat that she is, took our amusement at her expense in stride. She set up Red-watching camp 24/7 in our living room, barely leaving to eat or go outside. She was enraptured with Red.

One morning my partner awoke and discovered Red had showed up early...instead of 7, Red was at the window at 5 AM. Red pecked furiously, more furiously than ever, and then flew away to perform the same action again. My partner intuitively knew that Red was saying goodbye and would not reappear, and such has indeed been the case. The next week our close friend's Mother who was visiting Maui for the first time from the Mainland was rushed to the hospital, and in a very brief time, she passed over the rainbow.

The other day I was at the beach with my daughter, and we saw the most unusual bird I have ever seen here in the Islands. It looked like a giant seagull but with a forked tail, and it would cruise above the ocean, not far from the beach near the Mana Kai Hotel. It would make repeated dives for fish in the water, but never got lucky, and so it eventually sailed away. I was intrigued by this bird, so I spoke to some locals about this sighting, and they were blown away. This is an Iwa bird they said and usually seen out Kaupo way, never this close to South Maui. The Iwa bird is native to the Hawaiian Islands, and it is considered fairly rare these days. They agreed it was a very strange sighting. I guess time will tell what this omen means.
Your little birdy looks like a house finch maybe? We have a similar bird here, but it's more reddish than carrotish. Either way, it's very pretty.

I've always heard that if a sparrow flies into your house it means that someone in the family will die. Old Southern belief...
I enjoyed reading this blog, and do have to agree that omens can appear in many forms. Birds, other animals, music lyrics, movies etc. This reminds me of that funny movie "Bruce Almighty", when Bruce asked God for a sign and they were all around but could not see them.
That leads me to another question, if they are all around and sometimes we see them aka RED, what do they mean? What does the bird signify? Interestingly, enough I got interrupted from this response by my fiance who called to tell me he saw a white owl or Pueho in Hawaiian. He told me that he was happy and excited to see the owl for it meant money was coming! Now how is that for an omen on dscussing birds and omens?I guess omens come through the phone too, and boy was that an obvios one! Is somebody watching? How ironic is that, or does irony really mean paying attention to the signs? I think we are on to something Or is somebody watching from a bird's eye view pardon the pun :)
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