Heralds, augurs

For four years, I receive dead birds. At my door, at my feet, in my exact path. I have no cats. There are no cats around. Cats are not bringing me the birds. The birds exhibit. Show me they’ve perished, roll forth a narrative in last action and symbol.

CW: Images- dead birds 

Those who study symbology, patterns, cycles, concur that encountering dead birds functions as a sign of: the total ending of an old way or old pattern. Shedding the past; people, functions, ways of being. Relentlessly worked for and pursued change and growth, manifesting. The old passing, and resulting newness.*

The image that comes to mind is: In one move, my arm sweeping a table clear.

I think of all the things I’ve been working to end or shed for so long. And while the death of the birds has been a sadness, they had lived exactly as long as they were supposed to.

The first, a falcon on the porch at the door. Juvenile and likely female (Merlin?). Neck snapped, still warm, beak bashed & bloodied. Walking out and discovering it was shocking, and felt tragic–like costly loss. I was equal parts fretting and honoring. Bearing witness. Finding a rarer bird, one I had never seen living, dead on the step, was stunning.

It was buried beneath the Linden.


Next, the small Warbler. Or maybe Nuthatch. At dusk, on campus. No photo because I was deep in my thesis and related depression; equally numb and candescent. Fully dissociated. Barely aware of striding the walk when a soft thud off a window, and the bird inches from my shoes. I felt distress, and rising sadness through the numb. I rummaged a napkin and scooped it up. Warm, snapped neck. I set it behind a bush, near a building. During class, I fretted that a cat would find it and went back after to dig it down.

Then, the crow. On a stranded stretch of recreational path, everyone avoiding morning heat, except me.

I generally scan the ground ahead to check for ailing bees, but regular surveying revealed none, nor anything else. Until the crow seemingly apparated, at my feet. Less freshly dead. Settled. It felt worrisome. Like something impending and in motion. This was an ache.

I walked over it and away. IMG_20150704_082949688

I chronically look for patterns, and therefore chaos. Pieces of systems. Indicators. The birds had become a pattern. A being told, and shown. Three instances of this made it a trend.

And next, the hummingbird. A complete sorrow. In our warehouse, presumably trapped, it must have quickly starved. I showed H-. Explained death to him as facts, as science, because the value will set itself later. But the hummingbird was at a time of change and newer loss; in the midst of grief and growth. I felt responsible, guilty. I carried it, praying, somber to outside and under a bush, near a handsome old train engine.


I’ve tried not to impose specific meaning on these, but broadly view what I’m being urged to address or consider. The hummingbird, an important pollinator, was clear. It was a great sadness, and so certain. From finding a bee in the kitchen and rescuing it, to finding a dead hummingbird in the warehouse and burying it. Bookends. A grief. An end of an old way.

Later that day I took H- to our retail space. While walking around, he found a plush stuffed toy–a green hummingbird. I walked around a corner to find him holding it and kissing it over and over and over.

Then this week, the fledgling. (A poor picture below, due to haste.) At home in Chicago, fallen from a nest above. At first, it felt brutal. But also like something very specific. From a falcon to a fledgling–a reversal of order. A reset. From majestic, to common, to specialized, to only potential. Moving back to before a creation; before something(s). Being an egg state, dissolving entire systems of functioning and themes, ending narratives.

All hope & possible, and newness.





* The “something” that is ending in ones life can be a number of things, from a relationship that is coming to an end to a bad habit that is ready to be broken. Similar to the death tarot card, a dead bird is a symbol of a fresh start from an end and not simply an end. Overall, a dead bird symbolizes a new beginning.

-pathwayconnection.com, via reference.com