A Bad Sign

 He is considered a bad sign, bringing bad news.


The owl is considered a bad sign illustrating
deception and bad power by most Native tribes.
It is a messenger of evil, of sickness, or of a
fatal accident. It is also considered a sign of death.
Owls hunt their prey at night, and you cannot hear
an owl flying so it takes advantage of it’s prey.


Earlier this evening, I donned my coveralls, warm clothing, knee length rubber boots and went out to brave the cold while doing my evening chores.

I exited my house thru my back door. Scooter was racing around the pasture kicking up his heels in the wet and gray.

Out at the barn, I gave the horses their feed. As I was loading Freddie’s hay rack with a big flake of hay, a movement in the front yard caught my eye.

It was a beautiful, large horned owl watching my every move.

A slow feeling of dread creeped into my spine.

I finished up my outdoor business, gave Scooter one last ear scratch and a kiss goodnight.

I slowly walked by the owl, strolled within 10 feet of it, looking into it’s hypnotic bright yellow eyes. I climbed the front porch and saw Wee One watching me thru the windows.

I cracked open the front door and whispered to Wee One to get my camera because my boots were muddy.

Hubs was laying on the couch watching the news. He has since been called back out to work because of a problem with an oxygen reading at one of the gas wells, of all the nights…

Wee One handed me my camera and I walked to the edge of the front porch and snapped off some photos of the owl.

I heard the door open behind me. Soon, Wee One was at my side in his rubber boots and a sweatshirt he had the sense to throw on.

Wee One and I stood watching the owl, the owl watched us back calmly. Wee One and I stood in silence for a couple of minutes in awe of the owl’s beauty and power, amazing were his talons….sharp as razors as he clung to his perch with his gaze upon us.

I heard the door behind us, then a gasp.

thats a bad sign.” Hubs said.

Wee One and I stood still watching the owl. The owl turned his head to the right and flew off to the North.

I ignored hubs comment from the doorway. Wee One and I went indoors.

Hubs looks at me as I am pulling off my boots, “that is bad isnt it? you believe that don’t you?” he repeats.

I shrug.

Maybe I should see about getting more life insurance.” Hubs finishes.


Yes, it is a bad omen, I believe.

I would be a liar if I said the owl visiting is not weighing on my mind a bit….

It is not the owl’s fault he is the fabled bearer of bad news,


I was sure glad when he finally flew off into the Giwaydinnoong (North Direction).


Some Native American tribes view the owl as a protector against harm and their feathers were ritually worn to ward of evil spirits.

I know a woman of the Pawnee tribe who firmly believes this. My tribe (Chippewa) also believes along those lines.


I live in the heart of Osage Territory. It is different for me living on Osage lands.


You know I am a Shakespeare fan, so I am adding his 2 cents about owls:

Shakespeare wrote of “The owl, night’s herald” (Venus and Adonis, 1593, Line 531) and recognized the role that owls have as the “fatal bellmen” (Macbeth, 1605-1606, Act II, Scene ii, Line 4) of that final deepest sleep. In this way, owls have been seen as harbingers of eschatology or the ultimate fate of humans.




Filed under Native American, Spooky, the great outdoors

34 responses to “A Bad Sign

  1. Aniin BG. What a beautiful owl. I don’t think that way, the bad news I mean, but I’m sure everything will be fine.

    It was a lovely day around here, hot weather through the weekend. Have a good night.

  2. Well, I hope he was a sign of protection against harm, and not a bearer of bad news– Take care of yourself! *Hugs*

  3. I don’t know about the bearer of bad news, but he is magnificent! I love when the hawks here allow me to get close. Unfortunately they rarely do that if I have my camera with me…

  4. Bad omen or not – he is beautiful still.

    They say the same thing about Crows…and in the spring there are always about 20 hovering my house. I always think about those omens too.

  5. Ann

    Oh dear. It would put me on edge too. I’m not much for any birds myself. Comes from having them in our basement sometimes. I like them when they are far up in the sky. Take care!

  6. dickiebo

    We have an owl who seems to visit our garden every night, letting us know that it’s there. Doesn’t seem to do much harm though.

  7. I consider it good news to see an owl. Makes me happy to see something I don’t often get to see! Anyhow, I’ve had them hoot all night in my yard, and I used to see one often down in a holler in our woods where he roosted in the daytime… and I never had any bad luck as a result. Maybe it’s only bad news to Osage Indians?

  8. brian-enjoy the weather. We have a winter storm watch for tomorrow-ack

    christy-me too

    astaryth-he was beautiful, those eyes were something else

    karmynR-“Crow – good sign, good luck sign of protection and messenger of wealth” maybe YOUR going to win the lottery 🙂

    ann-I was taken by the owl’s beauty but not happy about seeing him!

    dickiebo-take care of your owl….maybe because your not Indian he brings you good luck?

    donna-Cree, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Oto, Apache, Shawnee,Chickasaw are a few tribes that believe owls are bad omens. Hopefully I am exempt since I am a transplanted Indian…

  9. Katie

    Beautiful owl picture… I understand the mixed feelings….. I hope everything turns out alright.. think positive! 🙂

  10. Whew, I had mixed feeling of awe and creepiness. I think it bothers me that he looked at you while you looked at him. I know, not helping, I’m just saying.

    Stay warm with that storm coming! HUGS and sending you thoughts of good things to come.

  11. SailorMoon

    Interesting. I think I’ve heard that before, but gee….that explains a lot. I used to have an owl sit on the electric pole of my old house all the time. I said that house was nothing bad luck. Now I see why!! They are beautiful though.

  12. Lu

    I thought Osages believed that too..My Osage SIL certainly did…
    It flew away, so perhaps we are ALL safe..I am too white to believe this, still I kind of do…does give one a creepy feeling..
    Happy Holidays BG~~

  13. We don’t see owls often here. I haven’t really noticed any bad luck when we have but that doesn’t mean anything about whether or not we had it, just that I didn’t notice. But they kind of give me the creeps. I appreciate their beauty but I’d like it better from afar, if you know what I mean.

    I wish safety for you and yours.

  14. What an amazing post! Truly entrancing.

    I surfed in via Pavel’s blog. I’ll have to pop by again to catch up on your other posts!

  15. Barngoddess: I was reading this carefully with a sense of dread that something would happen to Scooter or Wee One with this vulture in the yard. You taught me something new here!

  16. katie-I saw a bald eagle today! South of my home. Iam feeling much better, thnx. Maybe owl was just a wake up call?

    pinky-thank you 🙂 I knew you’d understand

    SM-howdy! been a long time. Glad you moved….owls are beautiful but they arent good to be hanging around….

    Lu-YES, Osages believe Owls ARE bad omens. My tribe notsomuch, but Ive been around Osages more than my own kind..Happy Holidays to you to Lu!

    risinggrainbow-maybe owl visited to let me know just how good I have it and to be thankful. As I stated i n katie’s comment, I saw a mature bald eagle as I was leaving my house this morning. I feel TONS better for it.

    chrissy-thnx for stopping by! Pavel is great isnt he?

    MM-I called my Father this morning and told him about the owl. He said I shouldnt have gotten so close, it may have tried to attack me. Funny, I didnt get that kind of ‘vibe’ from the great bird.

  17. Wow, you’ve taught me something new, creepy but new. I’ve never seen an owl in nature only at zoos etc. Now I don’t want to see one…lol.

    Thanks for sharing the pics and the info.

  18. jo

    BG, embrace the owl as a sign of change. Omens have always been around,and always will be.
    I was raised if you saw a red bird someone was going to die, and it was always true wherever I went.
    Maybe the owl showed up to foretell someone like Chavez’s death..or Jet Duncan.
    Beautiful photos !!!!

  19. that was a beautiful picture of the owl. I never heard of the owl as being a bad sign. I’ve only heard of the Crows or Ravens as being the unlucky ones to have that curse on them. It’s true you learn something new everyday! Thanks for the insight on this.

  20. What an interesting post BG. We only occasionally have owls here but I love to hear them hooting in the night. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know how my Micmac ancesters feel about owls. Guess I need to check into that. We have lots of bald eagles and I love to see them gliding on the wind currents watching the river for a meal. Saw one yesterday, an adult male and I bet his wing span was at least 8 feet.

    I’m still on a high from Buddy’s good vet report. To think it was almost a year to the day when he was so terribly ill with strangles. I hope the coming year is better health wise!!

  21. I love to hear them at night. For 3 years in a row we had a mating pair of Northern Sawhet, who had babies each year.

    The tooted.. tooo tooo tooo tooo tooo tooo.

    I miss them.

    Send owls to me!

  22. bad news for a rabbit!
    I am in the believer of protection.

  23. I’ve been worried about you guys as news of ice storms, power outages and more crap weather is headed for Oklahoma.

    ((((((Barn Goddess And Family))))

  24. Okay, I freaked my kids out completely with this one:

    You know that song by Michael Martin Murphy called ‘Wildfire?’ It was a big hit in the 70’s. Anyway when he says that “there’s a hoot owl howling outside my window now for six nights in a row and shes coming for me I know.” Basically he understands the Indian lore that an owl outside your window means impending death.

    I told that to my kids. There was an owl that stationed himself in the tree right outside their room. They were certain they were going to die. Poor things. 🙂

  25. I didn’t realize you were Chippewa! Me, too! Well, my little finger. Not much more than that at this point, I don’t think. My grandmother was registered, but when she brought her boys back the tribe wasn’t allowing those not full blood to be registered any longer as it meant they’d have to water down the government pot a bit (money was being offered…they didn’t want to share, lol!)

    My friend Brigget’s got barn owls. I love them. Found their mummified eggs in the loft of all things creepy this summer…

    Elasticwaistband…you are so mean, lol!

  26. dickiebo

    Keep going, gang. Aaniin. I’ll soon be an authority on the Chippewas! Extremely interesting to a Brit.

  27. Rebecca

    I learn something new everyday. I did not know–nor have I ever heard that a visit from an owl was bad news…Hmmm
    I hope you are blessed with many things over the next few years.
    I am jealous that you get to put a sweater on! We are still in the 70’s. I hope for cooler weather so that I can snuggle up to a fire this weekend!

  28. RNG-missed you! owls are beautiful but I do not like them hanging about my home…

    jo-glad I do not see many red birds! OR owls for that matter.

    susan-I like ravens. Up in Ontario they have huge ones….crows are good luck

    MM-I am doing a dance of joy for you over Buddy’s vet report! its been a tough year, may 2008 be a GREAT year for you two. You deserve it. Bald eagles are my favorite, they are special.

    pamela-when owl shows up again (I hope not) Ill be sending him your way 😉

    celeste-I wish I was…

    EWBL-ack! snowstorm tonite coming. you mean mama…but whatever it gets to make them behave right? hahaha. Seriously though, there was an owl sighted at this old mans house on the highway for 1 weeks straight, the old guy died. no big suprise…of course he was old and all but STILL.

    dickiebo-Boozhoo! ah, you have learned some Ojibwe 🙂 miigwech, I hope so!

    rebecca-you can have this snowstorm coming at my today….Id LOVE 70 degree weather!

  29. Pingback: Mudjimushkeeki « Ramblings From The Reservation

  30. I didn’t know that an owl was a bad sign either. It is interesting to learn about other culteral beliefs. And the owl was beautiful (as was your last post’s photo of the horses in the ice and fog that I forgot to compliment).

    But, I do understand your initial uneasiness.

  31. Jody

    Hi I was looking out my bedroom window and a Bald Eagle flew by. I immediately looked up to see what that meant.But about five minutes before that I had gotten a phone call telling me that a friend of mine had died. I told my mom she told me that was the Eagle telling me Phil was at peace.February12/2008…at 9: 15…am

  32. jody-I think your mama is right.

  33. I like this content so much.The determined man finds the way, the other finds an excuse or alibi.Thanks.

  34. An Great Horned Owl has been in my backyard for a few nights. I recorded it the best I I could.

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