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Is It a Bad Omen to See an Owl? [Superstitions Explained]

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Written by: Tina Caro

Owls are mysterious night creatures that have always been part of superstition but, because of the different cultures and the different approaches to natural signs and old beliefs, there can be a bit of confusion around it.

Is it a bad omen to see an owl? Let’s find out!


Seeing an owl is a subject of varied interpretations.

Owls can symbolize wisdom, protection, and guidance in some cultures, like Greek mythology associating them with the goddess Athena.

However, in other beliefs, owls are linked to negative omens, including death, illness, and bad luck, especially if spotted at night.

These superstitions often stem from their nocturnal habits and eerie calls. In some cultures, owls are connected to witchcraft and the supernatural.

Ultimately, whether seeing an owl is considered a good or bad omen depends on cultural beliefs, personal experiences, and individual perspectives.

Owls are vital creatures in the natural world, contributing positively to ecosystems by controlling rodent populations.

A bad reputation

Owls have a reputation for being a bad omen. In ancient Rome and medieval Europe, witches were said to transform into owls at night.

Their call was an omen of doom: legend has it that the death of Julius Caesar and Augustus was announced by these animals. To ward off evil, the Romans nailed a dead owl to the door—a practice that survived until the 19th century. Even the cry of the owl was a terrible omen.

In the past, it was even believed that if he sang near the windows of a sick person’s room, the poor man would have a short life. But it was certainly not the sick person who attracted the birds: the candle left burning all night on the windowsill to assist him attracted the moths.

And those insects, for the birds, represented a sumptuous meal. The bad reputation of the crow begins instead in the book of Genesis. Sent to explore by Noah, the crow took the opportunity to feed on the carcasses floating in the water, while the dove returned holding the famous olive branch. With their dark shiny feathers, eyes like black pearls, and a habit of feeding on carrion, ravens have always been associated with witchcraft and darkness.

The kind of superstition I used to believe in when I was a kid

The owl is a nocturnal bird of prey very similar to the crow. In Naples, everyone knows it is called a pacifier and is the protagonist of a saying very popular in our country: “yes, yes, a ciucciuvettola,” you are an owl, you are bad luck, you are bad luck.

This strange expression derives from the song of the animal, which according to popular tradition would be the bearer of misfortunes, disasters, and even death. The folkloristic tradition always comes to our aid and tells us the ways in which we can avoid the danger caused by the singing of the ciucciuvettola.

It is interesting to note how things change by virtue of the cultural system we are dealing with; while in Naples, the owl is considered a bird of ill omen, moving a little further south in the sunny Greek land, the bird is carried in triumph as an animal symbol of prosperity.

The reason for its bad luck is to be found in very ancient times. Owls usually lay their nests in the ripples of the ground and in the presence of light sources. In the past, therefore, when the dead were kept awake in the cemetery by keeping fires lit near the graves, the owl found the ideal place to nest.

Beginning to sing, all the people, who could not see the animal as it was hidden in preparing the nest, associated that song with the voice of the dead who would wake up from eternal sleep.

A popular belief says that if you come into contact with an owl song at night, you need to clench your fists tightly to neutralize the animal’s evil power. I also remember that my grandma, when we heard an owl singing, wanted me to make some knots with any kind of fabric we had at home, from sheets to towels, to fight the bad omen!

Also read:
Powerful 27 Bad Omens Everyone Should Be Aware Of [A List]
How to Remove Bad Omen from Home? [Powerful Methods]

Is it a bad omen to see an owl?

Not at all! Even if some superstitions, especially in Southern Italy, are still alive, they are more linked to its singing. I have to admit that I prefer to think to the owl is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge and that’s why many witches used it as a familiar.

When I see it, as I live in the countryside, I cannot help but see it as a guide, as an animal spirit guide.

As we all know, in the world of film animation and fairy tales, the owl is always represented as a wise and erudite animal, which spreads its culture to the entire animal community while always maintaining, however, a fussy and edgy character.

In Disney filmography, we remember the owl Archimedes of the wizard Merlin in the fairy tale The Sword in the Stone, and Friend Owl in the adventures of Bambi.


In the legendary Harry Potter saga, owls are seen as positive figures who fulfill the important task of delivering wizard mail.


Plus, in Asia, the owl is an animal considered as a guide and a helper for those in need, as a legend says the owl was there to tell a great leader of the past where to go to avoid enemies’ attacks while helping him to win an important battle that spared many innocent lives.

How beautiful!

Is it a bad omen to hit a bird with your car?

Not necessarily. A bird hitting your car means that you need to work on some aspects of your life. You should take a few moments to focus on what you want and use any setback to work even harder and wiser than before.

It’s like a reminder that in order to break free and fly away towards your dream life you need to gather all your emotions and energy to make it happen with a long-lasting outcome.

Is it a bad omen to see a dead bird?

When you see a dead bird, it means that a particular person you know or someone close to you has passed away. Evidently, this is an ominous way of symbolizing a dead person. But, on the other hand, I can guarantee that it is not entirely wrong. I have several experiences in the past that have shown that this interpretation is true.

However, others believe that seeing a dead bird actually brings good luck. As a result, the vision indicates that a difficult or painful situation is about to end. For example, if you are in financial trouble, seeing a dead bird could mean the situation will end soon.

As an interpreter, I tend to lean on the positive connotations of this meeting. In the end, everything works out for good. This is a guarantee.

Also, let me point out that seeing a dead bird doesn’t always mean physical death. In fact, most of the time, it refers to the metaphorical type of death.

All these difficulties are painful. They can make you feel that some parts of you are already “dead”. Basically, it’s similar to when you pick the death tarot card. It’s not a death omen but it’s more about change, a circle closing, and a new one opening while getting rid of what no longer serves us!

Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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