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ghost bird noun

  • Show all quotations

What does the noun ghost bird mean?

There is one meaning in OED's entry for the noun ghost bird . See ‘Meaning & use’ for definition, usage, and quotation evidence.

How common is the noun ghost bird ?

Where does the noun ghost bird come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun ghost bird is in the 1850s.

OED's earliest evidence for ghost bird is from 1851, in Proceedings Zool. Society London .

ghost bird is formed within English, by compounding.

Etymons: ghost n. , bird n.

Nearby entries

  • ghoema, n. 1934–
  • ghoen, n. 1913–
  • ghoonghat, n. 1902–
  • ghoont, n. a1613–
  • ghost, n. & adj. Old English–
  • ghost, v. a1616–
  • ghost account, n. 1933–
  • ghost band, n. 1962–
  • ghost bat, n. 1914–
  • ghost bike, n. 2004–
  • ghost bird, n. 1851–
  • ghostbuster, n. 1930–
  • ghostbusting, n. & adj. 1929–
  • ghost candle, n. 1885
  • ghost car, n. 1931–
  • ghost chilli | ghost chili, n. 2007–
  • ghost-coal, n. 1824
  • ghost crab, n. 1854–
  • Ghost Dance, n. 1876–
  • Ghost Dance, v. 1897–
  • Ghost Dancer, n. 1890–

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Meaning & use

Entry history for ghost bird, n..

Originally published as part of the entry for ghost, n. & adj.

ghost, n. & adj. was revised in September 2021

oed.com is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

  • further revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations.

Earlier versions of ghost, n. & adj. were published in:

OED First Edition (1899)

  • Find out more

OED Second Edition (1989)

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Citation details

Factsheet for ghost bird, n., browse entry.

JustBirding

31 Great Potoo Facts (Yes, They’re Real!) Ultimate Guide

By: Author Drew Haines

Posted on Last updated: April 25, 2022

Categories Bird Profiles

Looking for the truth behind all the potoo memes and gifs? Here are 31 great potoo facts that you can use to counter your cousin’s next Facebook update.

Facts about great potoos

Table of Contents

31 Great Potoo Facts

With their wide eyes and even wider mouths, great potoos have become something of a meme in the digital realm.

However, these strange-looking birds have a lot more going on than their looks might suggest! Get all the facts here:

1. Is the potoo bird real?

Potoo birds are very real. They might seem like something that was created through Photoshop, but they’re a genuine bird species living in Central and South America.

Something to keep in mind is that their most famously bug-eyed pictures became famous because they caught the potoo at the silliest possible moment or the worst possible angle.

A lot of potoo birds look completely normal, but those aren’t the photos that go viral. It’s normally something a little more like this:

2. What does the great potoo look like?

The great potoo is a medium-sized bird with a stout figure and a large head. It can come in several different colors, including white, gray, brown, burgundy, and reddish-orange.

Some great potoos are completely monochrome; others look tawny with mottled spots on their feathers.

facts about great potoo

Nearly all great potoos have white bands on their tails. There are 8 – 9 bands in total. No one is quite sure why they exist, but they’re a distinctive feature of the species if you’re trying to spot one in the wild.

Its beak is short and sharp. Its mouth can stretch impossibly wide to help it catch bugs.

Its eyes are usually bright yellow or deep black, and the size of them will depend on the bird. Some of them can be comically large, bulging, or crossed, but others have normal proportions and angles.

3. How big is a great potoo?

The great potoo measures around 18 – 23 inches (45.7-58.4 cm) tall. This makes it both the largest in the potoo species and the largest in their entire genus.

4. How much does a great potoo weigh?

Great potoos usually weigh around 12 – 23 ounces (340-652 g).

5. What is the great potoos wingspan?

The average wingspan of the great potoo is around 28 inches, but this measurement can fluctuate between 27 – 33 inches (68.5-83.8 cm).

6. How can you tell the difference between a male and female great potoo?

You can’t! They look identical. This is actually a source of frustration for ornithologists since it’s hard to determine which gender is hunting, nesting or courting the other.

Researchers still haven’t figured out whether the male or female great potoo incubates their eggs. In some species, it’s purely the job of the female; in other species, the male and female will take turns.

No one knows where the distribution lies for great potoos since no one can tell mom and dad apart .

7. Are great potoos friendly?

Great potoos are too shy to be called friendly. They spend most of their time hidden away in tall tree branches, and they’re solitary creatures who don’t even live in groups with others of their own kind.

They’re also quite skittish when it comes to danger. While they aren’t afraid to swoop down with spread wings and an open beak to catch their prey, they’re also considered prey themselves, so they have built-in defense mechanisms that involve camouflaging themselves and hiding in plain sight.

8. How long do great potoos live?

No one actually knows the lifespan of the great potoo. It’s another one of their mysteries. If we go by similar bird species, it’s probably somewhere around 12 – 14 years , but this is just a guess.

9. Are great potoos nocturnal?

Yes, great potoos are nocturnal birds . Great potoos are largely inactive during the day, but they come alive around sunset. Everything about them is designed for nighttime hunting and flying.

For example, their big, glossy eyes might look strange during the day, but they provide excellent night vision . They’re so luminescent that they can reflect things like flashlights and headlights.

10. What eats a great potoo? Predators and Threats

Great potoos are vulnerable to weasels, falcons, howlers, spider monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. They can be killed as adults or snatched as eggs.

11. How do great potoos defend themselves from predators?

Rather than fighting, great potoos use camouflage to escape detection from predators.

Since their coloring is often identical to the trees that they reside in, they’ll go motionless when a dangerous animal approaches.

Some of them will even angle their beaks upwards to make themselves look like a jutting branch .

Great potoo facts

Sometimes, if great potoos have a numbers advantage, they’ll engage in “ mobbing ” behavior where they swarm the predator to drive it off. But this is quite rare.

For starters, they aren’t aggressive birds to begin with; they’re also solitary creatures , so a whole flock of great potoos in one habitat is quite uncommon.

12. Is the great potoo endangered?

No. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ), great potoos are ranked as “ least concern ” in terms of potential extinction threat.

Their population is on a downward decline, but it isn’t considered serious enough to merit any action; great potoos cover a broad range and aren’t being fragmented by habitat loss, so their overall species is a stable one even if their numbers are decreasing.

13. What do great potoos eat?

Great potoos are mostly insectivores that go after moths, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids. They’ll occasionally take down a bat or a small bird, but this is rare.

The feeding process is something to behold. While great potoos usually rest on tree branches 30 – 40 feet from the ground, they’ll hop to branches about 5 – 10 feet from the ground when it’s time to hunt. Once they see something gliding across their vision, they strike.

You see, most of their prey is flying prey, and that’s how great potoos hunt as well. They swoop through the sky and catch the bugs and bats in mid-air.

Their wide mouths are their greatest asset; they essentially use them as nets for grabbing their prey with a single snap.

They don’t usually consume their insects right away, however. They’ll fly back to their perches and enjoy their meal from the comfort of their camouflage.

14. What is the great potoos Latin name?

The scientific name of the great potoo is nyctibius grandis .

There used to be two recognized sub-species, nyctibius grandis guatemalensis and nyctibius grandis grandis , but these are outdated. You’ll only see them referenced in older books and encyclopedias.

Potoos are also known as “urutau’s” in Brazil, I believe this name is Portuguese? Let me know in the comments! This video was taken in Brazil:

15. What other names does the great potoo have?

Potoos are sometimes known as “poor-me-ones” because of their haunting nighttime calls.

This isn’t limited to the great potoo, however. It also applies to breeds like the common potoo and the long-tailed potoo.

16. Can the great potoo see with its eyes closed?

Yes. Great potoos are born with special notches on their upper eyelids that allow them to see and sense movement even when their eyes are closed.

Are great potoos real?

Can you see the slits in his eyes?

It’s thought that this might have something to do with the nocturnal nature of their vision, or it could be related to the way that they tilt their heads up whenever danger is near.

Having slits in their eyelids might allow them to see in two directions at once.

17. Do great potoos mate for life?

It’s unknown if great potoos truly mate for life , but they do seem to form monogamous pairs for the breeding season.

Males and females will stick together until their hatchling is grown.

18. How often do great potoos lay eggs?

Breeding season for the great potoo is usually February – August, but it isn’t uncommon for females to lay eggs at any time of year.

There might be some correlation to the wet season of their particular country.

For example, great potoos in Surinam lay their eggs in November, and great potoos in Columbia breed between March and April. Both of these periods are the wet seasons for their regions.

As for the frequency of the great potoo’s egg-laying, this is another area where there isn’t a lot of information, but it’s generally assumed that they only lay one egg per breeding season.

19. How many eggs does the great potoo lay? What do they look like?

Great potoos lay one egg at a time, and since they only lay one egg per breeding season, this single egg represents their whole reproductive cycle for the calendar year.

The good news is that it’s a hefty egg. It measures 1 – 2 inches and is usually white with gray, brown or dark purple spots.

Since males and females look so much alike, it isn’t known how much or how often the mated pair will share incubation duties.

All that researchers know for sure is that someone tends to the egg while their partner brings back food and looks out for predators.

The egg hatches after about a month.

20. What do great potoo babies look like? How fast do they grow?

Young hatchlings weigh around seven ounces and are covered in a white down. They mature quickly, sprouting feathers within two weeks and leaving the nest within four weeks.

By 1.5 months, they’re no longer being fed by their parents. By 2.5 months, the great potoo is fully independent and ready to live on their own.

21. Do great potoos live in groups?

No. Great potoos are solitary animals that only come together for breeding.

Mated pairs will work together to incubate, feed, shelter, and guard their young, but once their hatchling is grown, there’s no indication that they remain together permanently.

How big is a great potoo?

That said, there hasn’t been any observed aggression in great potoos that cross paths accidentally.

In fact, they’ve even been known to help each other by signaling danger or mobbing predators. This suggests that their solitary nature is a preference rather than any kind of aggressive or territorial instinct to be alone.

22. What is the great potoo’s call? Why is it so scary?

Great potoos have two distinct calls that will send shivers down your spine.

The first is a loud, human-like “wop” or “whoooap.” It sounds a lot like a moan, and it’s emitted continuously throughout the night.

The other call is a deep, throaty “baaaao.” It sounds more like a croak than a moan, and it’s rarer than the other noise, but it also has a human-like tenor.

Many people compare this call to a disgruntled teenager calling his mom. Can you hear it?

Both calls are so distinct that they’ve given the great potoo a reputation for eeriness.

Between the unique nature of the sounds and the fact that they’re produced in deep, dark forests in the dead of night, they’re considered one of the scarier calls in the animal kingdom.

23. Are great potoos loud?

Yes, great potoos can be quite loud.

Their volume and projection haven’t been officially measured, but anecdotal reports suggest that they can be heard from far distances.

24. How do great potoos groom themselves?

Great potoos clean their feathers by using their legs to scratch up and above their wings. This makes them different from other birds that bring up their legs below their wings.

It’s a subtle but significant variation that can be used to distinguish great potoos from other species while bird-watching.

25. What superstitions surround the great potoo?

Great potoos are the source of many superstitions in both ancient and modern South American culture.

One belief is that the moan of a great potoo is a sign of impending death. Another is that it signifies lost, separated, widowed, or unrequited lovers.

One notable superstition is that it is bad luck to mock a great potoo or its noises, but this one has definitely been disproved by all of the memes!

The most famous legend of the great potoo comes from the Shuar people of Ecuador.

It’s said that the great potoo originated from the spirit of a woman who transformed into a bird after falling from the sky. She was chasing her husband, the moon, but she couldn’t reach him. According to legend, the potoo’s call is the woman crying “aishirú, aishirú” (“my husband, my husband”) every night.

26. Where does the great potoo live?

The great potoo is native to Central and South America. If you look at a distribution map , you can see that its range extends from southern Mexico to southeastern Brazil.

There have been a few wild great potoos spotted in other regions, but they’re considered vagrants rather than signs of a settled population.

27. Can you eat a great potoo?

There are villages in rural South America that will eat great potoo, but since the birds are hard to locate and small in stature, they aren’t considered a viable food source.

There just isn’t enough meat on their bones to make hunting them a worthwhile pursuit.

28. Do great potoos have any other uses?

People in Brazil will use the feathers and body parts of a great potoo in cultural ceremonies.

They see great potoos as symbols of chastity, so some believe that the bird can help them ward off seduction.

29. What is the habitat of the great potoo?

Great potoos live in trees. Most of them prefer the coverage of forests and rainforests, but they’ll also strike out to grasslands, woodlands, foothills, forest edges, and even meadows.

The most important thing is that there are trees nearby. Great potoos can’t survive in open plains without branches to shelter and camouflage them.

30. Where do great potoos nest?

Great potoos don’t make true nests. Instead, they lay their eggs in the hollows and depressions of thick tree branches.

An unusual feature of these “nests” is that they’re always at least 30 feet from the ground; while most birds do this to prevent predators from stealing their eggs, great potoos are most threatened by falcons and monkeys.

Altitude won’t help with these predators at all. The best guess of researchers is that the height of the nest has something to do with its camouflaging capabilities.

31. Where can I see the great potoo?

Great potoos can be found at many different zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, and bird conservatories.

If you’re traveling to Central or South America, you can try to spot them in the wild, but it will be difficult. They blend into the trees by day, and they’re stealthy hunters by night.

Forget Meme Not

There’s a story behind every picture, and this is especially true for great potoos.

As these great potoo facts have explained, they actually hold a lot of significance in their native cultures , and they live fascinating lives deep in the rainforests of the equator!

Drew Haines

Drew Haines is an animal enthusiast and travel writer. She loves to share her passion through her writing.

She graduated high school at sixteen and started her own business, Everywhere Wild Media. And she runs Everywhere Wild and JustBirding . She also guest blogs on Storyteller.Travel

She lived in Ecuador for 6 years and explored the Galapagos Islands. Currently based in N.S., Canada.

Monday 20th of March 2023

Thanks for sharing this very interesting information, Drew. Someone posted a picture on Nextdoor and another found a link on YouTube and that's when I heard the Great Potoo's eerie sound. So I decided to find more info and I ended here. Very cool!

Linda harrington

Monday 28th of December 2020

paul cheifield

Thursday 13th of April 2023

@Linda harrington, that’s exactly what i was thinking! great observation linda alice harrington !!!!

GHOST BIRD MYTHOLOGY – Famous Ghost Birds Around the World

Ghost birds in mythology.

Birds feature heavily in multiple mythological traditions and are often portrayed as positive influences. They are also considered spiritual or elusive elements because of their ability to fly. As a result, there are many ghost birds in mythology that are fascinating and fun to understand.

Furthermore, there is also a real-life ghost bird species that has caught the attention of many people. No, it’s not actually a ghost, but it has a haunting appearance and call that makes it more than a little spooky. Let’s take a deep dive into this subject to learn more.

Ghost Bird Mythology

The sheer number of ghost bird myths worldwide can probably be attributed heavily to nocturnal birds like owls or even bats. These beautiful myths show cultures trying to explain inexplicable things using whatever means they were available at the time.

Asian Ghost Birds: A Terrifying Tradition

In China, there are many mythological birds that are worth studying. The GuhuoNiao birds are heavily connected to a woman ghost YeZingYouNv or TianDiShaoNV. This ghost is also called Ubume in modern Japanese mythological traditions and is a bird that appears late at night and which hides during the day. It was heavily featured in the book XuanZhongJi.

GuhuoNiao can change its shapes by taking off or putting on a feather coat and is something of a boogieman-type character in Chinese and Japanese mythology. It doesn’t have and cannot have children, so it will kidnap children and raise them as its own. If she sees any children’s clothes outside at night, such as if a child left clothes outside, the items were marked with blood dots.

The GuhuoNiao would then return to the clothes and steal the child to raise them as its own. It would also steal any children that it found outside during the night. Furthermore, it is also believed that this bird can suck people’s souls, with the Japanese explaining that it was because she died during labor, transformed into a bird, and now wants children of its own. Women who died during labor were often said to be victims of the GuhuoNiao , and her children were marked by it for theft.

Furthermore, Chinese mythology also connects this creature with the nine-headed birds. These birds appear as women in a field and fly away, leaving just one behind. A farmer marries her and has three daughters that later fly away from the man. These birds also drop blood and stain homes to mark them for disaster and steal souls.

Related post: Read through our collection of Owl Names in Mythology !

Other Mythological Ghost Birds

Just about every culture has some variation of a ghost bird variation. For example, the Greeks and Romans believed that all birds were messengers to the heavens, as well as death omens. Egyptian tradition particularly focused on hawks, and stories feature ghostly birds who move between spiritual realms. These traditions remain prevalent even today, as many Egyptians believe birds are an ill omen of death. Other traditions that include ghost birds include:

  • Aztec : According to ancient Aztec religious myths, the dead are reborn as birds known as “Colibris” . These birds are heavily associated with the god Huitzilopochtli . As a result, Aztecs avoided harming birds when possible and would openly communicate with them as if they were ghosts.
  • African Cultures : In West African traditions, various tribes would tie birds to corpses and kill it so that it would carry souls to the afterworld. The idea was that killing the bird would release its spirit or soul and help it perform its duty more easily.
  • South Sea Islands : While the South Sea Islands didn’t sacrifice birds with their dead, they did bury them in bird-shaped coffins. They believed that this coffin shape would invite a bird spirit to come for the souls of their dead and take them to the heavens.
  • Ireland : Ireland’s folktales are full of fantastic bird stories, particularly about seagulls. These common birds were spread wildly throughout Ireland and were believed to be the souls of drowning victims. As a result, sailors would treat seagulls with respect and dignity while fishing.
  • Greek and Roman Myths : Ancient Greece and Rome share many mythological traditions, including the Strix . This bird was one of ill omens and fed on human flesh and drank its blood. They were also connected to witches and other similar malevolent beings. They were heavily connected to spiritual matters and can be compared to modern demons.

Many cultures also believe that wild birds flying into a home is an omen of critical news, often death. Birds that fly against windows or die on impact or also considered a promise of death. Nocturnal birds are considered ghostly and frightening, such as owls. Bats, often mistaken for birds, were also considered harbingers of death, probably related to their tendency to spread rabies.

Related post: Famous Falcon Names in Mythology

What Bird is the Bringer of Death?

Ghost Bird Mythology

Many cultures believe that birds are not just spiritual messengers but harbingers of death. Let’s look at a few of the most popular of these birds to give you an idea of how widespread this belief is throughout the world:

  • Cardinals : Cardinals are often thought of as a reminder of a deceased loved one. They’re not quite the bringer of death, but they are often thought of as a loved one coming to visit you after they have passed away. Hummingbirds also have a similar connotation.
  • Crows : Crows have varying connotations in multiple traditions. For example, many societies consider them to be the bringer of death, such as the Welsh belief that a crow flying over a house predicts death in that home. Others believe that crows are good luck and should be appreciated for their intelligence.
  • Rooster : This common game bird was typically found on almost every farm throughout Europe and the Americas. When it crows at night, many cultures believe that death is coming soon. Similarly, if a rooster does not crow at daybreak, death may be close at hand.
  • Ravens : Ravens, with their large size and intensely black color, is often considered an obvious sign of death. The most obvious example is Edgar Allan Poe’s legendary poem, “The Raven.” However, other cultures connect ravens with death and consider them a messenger of the spirit realm.
  • Owls : The familiar image of the owl as a kindly and intelligent creature belies an ancient tradition associated with death and negativity. In China, India, and ancient Rome, owls were considered the bringers of death and were avoided as much as possible.
  • Vultures : As a bird of carrion, vultures have an obvious connection with death. Some look at this negatively and believe that they’re a bringer of death. Other cultures honor the vulture as a crucial transitional spirit that takes the dead to the afterlife before rebirth.

What is the Real Ghost Bird?

Several years ago, a video featuring a large and frightening bird garnered a lot of attention online. The woman who took the video captured a bird with very large eyes and an expansive mouth that sat comfortably on a fence in Chilbolo in Magdalena. As she approached the bird, it screamed in a haunting manner. Many people called the video a fake, but it is completely real.

The woman was lucky enough to have captured video of the Great Potoo , an elusive bird that is often called the “ghost bird.” They are found heavily throughout South America and look like an owl, but they are not in the same family. Often, the Great Potoo is hard to spot because its plumage blends in so well with trees, stumps, and other wooden items. The woman taking this video initially thought it was a stick or stump.

The Great Potoo may be the source of many ghost bird myths because of its startling appearance and frightening cry. Imagine living in an ancient civilization and coming upon a stick at night that suddenly transforms into a bird and flies away. Even worse, the Great Potoo has a slit in its eyelids that lets them see danger while its eyes are closed, which makes its sudden reactions even more frightening.

Related post: Hawk Names in Mythology

Wrap up- Ghost bird Mythology

ghost bird mythology

Birds can fill many roles in mythology, and different cultures view different birds in different lights. Traveling around the world, you may find that birds from seagulls to vultures, to owls, are associated with death and ghosts. And of course, there are other mythological ghost birds depending on culture.

Related post: Water and Ice Birds in Mythologies

TaleOfBirds

What Does a Ghost Bird Sound Like? (10 Interesting Facts)

Shivam Desai

  • 17 October 2023

Have you ever wondered what the  mysterious nighttime calls  in South and Central American forests might be? They could well be from the  Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo , a species famous for its  haunting vocalizations .

In this article, we’ll learn about the fascinating habits, cultural significance & interesting facts of this ghost bird. We’ll also learn how these birds use their abilities to survive in the wild. So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • The Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo, is a  nocturnal bird  native to South and Central America.
  • Its  haunting calls  have been described as a loud “wop” or “whoooap” and are believed to symbolize death, grief, and heartache.
  • The Urutau has  unique adaptations  such as camouflage, silent flight, specialized feathers, and specific diet preferences that help it survive in its tropical forest habitat.
  • In Native South American cultures, the Urutau holds  symbolic significance  and is associated with wisdom and spiritual connection to the supernatural.

Meet the Urutau: Facts and Figures

The Urutau, also known as the Potoo or Ghost Bird, is a nocturnal and camouflaged bird native to South and Central America.

Also known as the Potoo or Ghost Bird

The  Urutau is a bird with many names . Some people call it the Potoo, but others know it as the Ghost Bird. This bird likes to fly at night and  blends in well with trees during the day .

It  lives mostly in South and Central America . With its big eyes like an owl’s, this bird can look quite spooky! Lucky for us, we can hear its  unique cry  without having to go into a jungle to find one.

Native to South and Central America

The Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo, is a bird species  native to South and Central America . It can be  found in tropical forests  throughout these regions. This mysterious bird  prefers to live alone  and is  active at night , making it perfectly adapted to its nocturnal lifestyle.

With its  cryptic plumage and ghostly appearance , the Urutau blends effortlessly into its surroundings during the day, camouflaging itself from potential predators. Its unique calls echo through the darkness of the forest, adding an eerie element to the already enigmatic nature of this fascinating bird.

Nocturnal and camouflaged

The Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo, is a fascinating creature that is  nocturnal  and expertly  camouflaged . This means that it primarily  comes out at night  and spends its days  blending in with its surroundings .

With its  cryptic plumage , the Urutau can easily go unnoticed during the day, making it a  stealthy hunter  and an  elusive bird  to spot. Its ability to camouflage itself helps protect it from potential predators while it rests during daylight hours.

Haunting Calls of the Urutau

Listen to a recording of its call.

The  haunting calls  of the Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird, can send shivers down your spine. This nocturnal bird emits unique and eerie vocalizations that have been described as a loud “wop” or “whoooap.” Some people even believe that the mournful call of the Urutau  symbolizes death , grief, and heartache .

If you want to experience the ghostly sounds of this enigmatic bird for yourself, you can listen to recordings online .

Descriptions from those who have heard it

People who have heard the haunting calls of the Urutau describe it as  otherworldly and spine-chilling . They often say that the call sounds like a mournful wailing or a ghostly cry echoing through the night.

Some compare it to the  sound of a human screaming in distress , while others find it evokes  feelings of sadness and loneliness . One thing is for sure: once you hear it, you won’t forget this eerie bird’s  distinctive vocalizations .

The unique call of the Urutau has captivated many with its mysterious and haunting nature. It’s hard to put into words just how unsettling and ethereal these bird sounds can be. From descriptions of its mournful cries to comparisons with ghostly apparitions, those who have heard the Urutau are left with an  indescribable feeling that lingers long after nightfall.

Theories on the purpose of its unique call

Scientists have come up with several theories to explain the purpose of the Urutau’s unique call. One theory suggests that it helps them  establish their territory and communicate  with other individuals of the species.

Another theory proposes that it is a way for males to  attract females during breeding season . Some researchers believe that the haunting calls may  serve as a warning signal , alerting other animals to potential danger in the area.

Additionally, there are those who speculate that these calls could simply be a  form of communication among members  of their social group. While we can’t say for certain why they make these eerie sounds,  studying their behavior and vocalizations  helps us understand more about this mysterious bird species.

Ghostly Behavior: How the Urutau Survives

How the urutau survives

The Urutau survives by utilizing its camouflaged and still behavior during the day, silent flight, specialized feathers, and specific diet and habitat preferences. Discover how this mysterious bird thrives in its natural environment.

Camouflage and stillness during the day

During the day, the Urutau uses its ability to blend in with its surroundings to stay hidden from predators. Its cryptic plumage allows it to camouflage perfectly against tree branches, making it almost invisible.

The bird  remains completely still during daylight hours , resembling a part of the tree itself. This stealthy behavior ensures that the Urutau can rest undisturbed and avoid detection until nightfall when it becomes active again.

With its skillful camouflage and remarkable ability to remain motionless, the Urutau has mastered the art of survival in its tropical forest habitat.

Silent flight and specialized feathers

The Urutau, or Ghost Bird, has a unique ability to  fly silently  through the night. Unlike other birds that flap their wings loudly, the Urutau’s  specialized feathers  allow it to glide noiselessly through the air.

This  stealthy mode of flight  helps it sneak up on its prey without being detected. The Urutau also has  cryptic plumage , which blends in perfectly with its surroundings during the day.

Its  mottled brown and gray feathers  make it almost invisible against tree branches. These adaptations help the Urutau remain elusive and hidden from predators while waiting for nighttime when it becomes active.

Diet and habitat preferences

The Urutau, or Ghost Bird, has specific diet and habitat preferences. These birds are primarily insectivorous, meaning they mainly feed on insects. They have a particular  fondness for moths, beetles, and other flying insects  that are active during the night.

As for their habitat, Urutaus prefer to reside in the  tropical forests of South and Central America . These dense forests provide them with  ample camouflage and cover  during the day when they remain still and hidden amongst tree branches.

Their cryptic plumage helps them blend seamlessly into their surroundings, making it difficult to spot them even when they are in plain sight.

Cultural Significance of the Urutau

The Urutau holds a special place in Native South American cultures, where it is often revered as a symbol of wisdom and spiritual connection to the supernatural.

Folklore and legends surrounding the Urutau

The Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo, holds a significant place in folklore and legends of South America. According to native beliefs, its haunting call is said to symbolize death and heartache.

People have associated the eerie cries of the Urutau with supernatural occurrences and otherworldly beings. These tales have turned the bird into a  mysterious and mystical creature in local cultures .

The connection between the Urutau’s unique vocalizations and its symbolic meaning adds an intriguing layer to its already enigmatic nature.

Symbolism in Native South American cultures

In Native South American cultures, the Urutau holds  significant symbolism . It is often  associated with death, grief, and heartache  due to its  mournful and ghostly call . The mysterious nature of the bird’s haunting vocalizations has led many indigenous communities to believe that it carries messages from the spirit world.

In some folklore and legends, the Urutau is seen as a  messenger between this world and the afterlife . Its unique calls are believed to connect the living and the dead, making it a  powerful symbol in spiritual rituals and ceremonies .

10 Interesting Facts About the Ghost Bird Urutau

Interesting facts about the ghost bird urutau

Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about the common Potoo or the ghost bird:

  • Common Name : The Urutau is commonly referred to as the “Common Potoo” or “Ghost Bird.” These names are derived from its haunting calls and its ghostly appearance.
  • Camouflage : One of the most remarkable features of the Urutau is its ability to camouflage. When perched on a tree branch, it can stretch its body and close its eyes to a thin slit, mimicking the appearance of a broken tree branch. This helps it remain undetected by predators.
  • Nocturnal Bird : The Urutau is a nocturnal bird, which means it’s most active during the night. Its large eyes allow it to see in the dark, making it an efficient hunter of nocturnal insects.
  • Distinctive Call : The call of the Urutau is eerie and can be described as a mournful wail. Some indigenous tribes in South America believe that the call of the Urutau is the cry of a lost soul from the forest.
  • Single Egg Nesting : Unlike many birds that lay multiple eggs, the Urutau usually lays just one egg. Instead of building a conventional nest, the egg is often laid directly on a tree branch or stump.
  • Parental Care : The parent birds take turns incubating the egg. Once the chick hatches, the parent continues to stay close, camouflaging and shielding the young bird from potential dangers. The chick’s plumage also resembles that of the adult, aiding in their shared camouflage strategy.
  • Distribution : The Urutau, or Common Potoo, is found throughout Central and South America. Its habitat ranges from Mexico in the north to Argentina in the south, and it can be found in a variety of woodland habitats.
  • Unique Anatomy : The Urutau’s mouth is incredibly large in proportion to its body. This wide gape allows it to efficiently catch flying insects, its primary source of food, during its nighttime forays.
  • Cultural Significance : In various indigenous cultures of South America, the Urutau is surrounded by myths and legends. Its mournful call and ghostly appearance have made it a subject of many stories, often being associated with lost souls or spirits of the forest.
  • Threats and Conservation : Like many other species, the Urutau faces threats from habitat destruction, particularly due to deforestation. However, it remains relatively widespread and isn’t currently considered endangered. Nonetheless, conservation efforts continue to ensure the bird’s survival and to maintain the health of the ecosystems it inhabits.

The Bottom Line

The Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo, has  haunting calls  that can send shivers down your spine. Its  unique vocalizations  range from loud human-like sounds to melodic songs and guttural shrieks.

This mysterious bird’s eerie calls have captivated people and hold  cultural significance  in Native South American folklore. The Urutau remains enigmatic, blending into the night with its cryptic plumage and ghostly appearance.

What is a ghost bird?

The term “ghost bird” commonly refers to the Urutau or Common Potoo, a nocturnal bird found in Central and South America. Its nickname is derived from its eerie calls and its ghostly appearance when camouflaged against tree branches.

How would you describe the sound of a ghost bird?

The call of the ghost bird (Urutau) is often described as mournful, haunting, and eerie. It has a wailing quality that can be reminiscent of a cry or lament.

Can I listen to the ghost bird’s call online?

Yes, there are various platforms and websites dedicated to bird calls where you can listen to the unique call of the Urutau. Bird-watching forums and YouTube often have recordings of the ghost bird’s distinctive cry.

Why is the Urutau called a ghost bird?

The Urutau has earned the nickname “ghost bird” not only because of its haunting calls but also due to its remarkable camouflage abilities. When perched, it can resemble a broken tree branch, making it seem as if it’s disappearing or “ghostly.”

Shivam Desai

Shivam Desai

Shivam is the founder and author of TaleOfBirds. He is an engineer by profession with a keen interest in environmental science. He is also a former Android developer. He is very fond of nature, and you can usually find him trekking around and capturing photos of birds & animals.

Now, Shivam hopes to share his love and knowledge about birds through his full time blog TaleOfBirds. He also loves gaming, reading and playing badminton.

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What Is My Spirit Animal | Spirit, Totem, & Power Animals

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Since Birds are creatures capable of flight, they are often a symbol related to the Air Element, intellect, vision, spiritual ascension, and the flight of ideas. By exploring the behavior and characteristics of various Birds, you can learn to work with them with greater ease, especially when they show up in your life as Spirit, Totem, and Power Animals. Explore Bird symbolism and meaning now to learn more about the Wisdom and Medicine Birds share!

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Today, for the first time, I found your site and I must say it is truly the most informative I have ever encountered while at the same time, it integrates many aspects of symbolic meanings and allow the reader to sincerely ponder on the information that’s being provided! I as actually trying to find information on Magpie feathers. I have read about the Magpie symbolic meanings though it’s its the feathers I am mostly interested in right now. It’s because of this dream I had just a couple of days ago and I just cannot seem to find a clear explanation of it..Bats and magpies appear often in my dreams and have respected their meanings by trying to follow what they’re trying to tell me. They have helped increase my perceptions and have literally influenced me to accept the new ‘me’ and let go of the ‘old’ ways. I was wondering if you have any idea what my dream means and I would love to read your interpretation of it. This dream has been mind boggling me since I saw it..So, I was somewhere in the ocean observing, the waters were calm, the weather a bit cloudy and I see this woman flying down in front of me who was actually a ‘she’ magpie with a human body. She landed a few feet feet away with her back facing me and what was supposedly her closed wings full of black and white feathers. Then she came quietly and started feeding a bird-it was not a bird I recognized, (I suppose some kind of sea bird) and she was serene and quiet while feeding it. Then I went forward and stretch out my hand to caress the bird and try to feed it also but the bird all of a sudden turned and bit my index finger. It took a bite out of it and I was shocked looking at the piece missing from my finger…. Then, I woke up. This dream has been on my mind ever since I saw it. I am trying to understand if this dream concerns my love life (my mate perhaps) or an aspect of my life which I have been trying to find a solution to. Was the bird’s bite a ‘love bite’? or something indicating my fears and worries? I am not sure if the magpie bird meaning or the magpie feathers would be of the same interpretation..Any insight would really be helpful!

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Hello, Polina!

Thank you so much for the kind words about WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com! I’m so happy you are enjoying the information!

OK, I’ve thought a good deal about your dream. And, I’m not a dream analyst (but I am a professional psychic medium ), so my opinions are purely intuitive.

Perhaps you might consider some of the following:

1. My understanding of dreams is that, often times, the other “beings” in the dream can be a reflection of ourselves. So, perhaps Ms. Magpie was actually you. If so, have you turned your back on your “self” lately? Are you neglecting yourself in some manner?

2. Since water is about our deepest psychic self, our most profound spiritual self, were you in the water or on top of the water when you were “observing”? The waters were calm (yay) but the day was a bit cloudy (bummer). I don’t know if it will help but here’s an article about water symbolism and meanings from my other site BuildingBeautifulSouls.com .

3. With the bird taking a bite out of your finger – do you have a relationship with anyone who does not appreciate you? Maybe this person is “biting the hand that feeds them”?

As for the feathers vs the Magpie symbolism – in as far as I’ve ever read and been taught, finding the feathers of an animal is no different than seeing the “whole” animal (if that makes sense).

Flying women and water makes for a very powerful dream so I really hope these observations help in some way.

Let me know what you come up with!

Stay wild, Bernadette

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I actually have a question for you, a close friend of mine passed away. I saw signs of him a couple weeks after death through cardinals and dragon flies. I asked him to send me signs on something that is going on with me, the next day i saw huge amounts of birds flying out of bushes and trees when i walked up to my front door. The next night, there were a bunch of birds in a friends tree and randomly chirping at midnight. What does larger amounts of birds flying away and around symbolically mean?

Hello, Olivia;

Please accept my condolences. Losing loved ones is never easy.

Your friend must love you very much since he sent so many Birds to visit you – especially Cardinals. Birds have long been associated as messengers of the Gods. They fly to heights that human’s can’t (absent planes, of course) and, so, can reach the heavens.

The appearance of Cardinals after someone’s death is deeply symbolic:

1. Red Cardinals symbolize the Root Chakra – where life begins. This tells us that those we love will live again, that we can survive losing those we love and that we will also “live” again. Red is also the color of blood. This represents family ties – even if your friend was part of your soul family and not your “blood” family.

2. Cardinals are “year ’round” Birds. They do not migrate and they do not molt – they stay the same vibrant colors all year long and they never “leave our side”.

I believe your friend answered your prayers and sent Cardinals to let you know he’s OK and so are you.

Now, Dragonflies – that’s a sign that it’s time for you to release old habits which no longer serve you. If you were zigging, now you should be zagging. Life is meant to be a victory dance in the endzone, so don’t let anyone keep you on the sidelines (sorry, I see you’re a Vol so I had to put a football reference in here LOL).

Maybe read my Dragonfly Spirit Animal article to get more info on Dragonfly Symbolism & Meaning.

Hope that helps.

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Hello, first of all thank you for all of the informations! I have a question for you. For like a month ago a found a tame crow baby in my street and I took care of it. I could call it down to me on the very first day and the second day I took it to a reservat for wild animals and now there is a bird, I think it’s a dove in my window and it just lie there. I can open the window and it has been there for hours. It looks at me very intense. My grandmother from Greenland pasted away for to months back and do you think there is a meaning with this? – I just think it’s very stange. Love Natja.

Hello, Natja;

Please accept my apology for the delayed reply and please accept my condolences for your family’s loss.

How wonderful to have so much Bird energy around you at this time! As Birds symbolize transformation and perspective it makes sense your grandmother might send them to you.

What’s super interesting to me is the color of the birds – black and white. Completely opposite colors. This could mean it’s time to bring more peace and balance into your world (like with the yin/yang).

It could mean that it’s time for you to change your perspective. Do you need to see things as being “less” black and white or “more” black and white.

And I just remembered two weeks before my grandmother passed away, I could see a white dove every single day on the building across the street. It came everyday.

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One morning my little dog started to carry-on so I went to check and found a tiny hummingbird wrapped tightly in a cobweb and laying in a flower box…I was able to in wrap him though I am old and have moderate tremors and seizures. With unseen help I was able to carefully untangle him from beak back. It was amazing that after some time he was free. Stood on my hand then went round in a circle as if to say Thanks …then up and off into the blue yonder. Some amazing vibes went through me for sure.

Hello, Marion;

Please accept my apology for the delayed reply.

Oh my goodness! What a magical moment that must have been for you! You know, Shaman believe that Hummingbirds carry the healing energy of whatever herbs and flowers they’ve eaten. And, since you had to free the Hummingbird from it’s bindings I wonder if you’ve felt better since the bird’s visit?

Thank you for sharing such a sweet story!

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Hi I dreamed that there were birds in my house. I tried to get them out but then i stepped on an eggshell ans saw hatched baby birds on the floor i went to get a container to help them get out but there were too many birds. I may have even identified one as a pigeon. What does his dream mean?

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Hi Bernadette, Thank you so much for sharing all of this wonderful information! I’m wondering if you could give me your opinion on something. I began a meditation class 3 months ago, mostly focused on the breath and energy. We have never discussed anything about symbolism or that seeing meaningful imagery might happen. Just a few weeks ago, when we started focusing on the space between the eyebrows, suddenly I got images of all sorts of eyes, one after another, opening and closing, with blueness coming out of them, plus two human eyes at the end–a blue one looking sideways and then a dark one that rushed towards me., and I felt like I sort of pulled back and it went away. The next day I saw eyes again, but they were farther away, and mostly closed. A couple of them opened a tiny bit, but they didn’t rush at me so I wasn’t as disturbed. Since then, I’ve been seeing a giant bird at the end of each meditation. I thought it was maybe an eagle because of its size, but when it comes close, it has a series of different owl faces. It circles around and then flies forward, and looks back over its shoulder at me and I get the feeling that it wants me to follow. Anyway, do you know if there is symbolism for a bird that seems part one kind and part another kind? (Eagle/owl) Although, it seems to be quite light, so maybe it’s just a huge owl. Its eyes, when up close, are golden yellow/light brown. Any thoughts or impressions at all would be very much appreciated!

Hello, Mary!

You are most welcome and thank you for visiting WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

Wowwwwwww! That’s some intense meditation! Well, the space between the eyebrows is very close to the Third Eye Chakra and its color is Indigo which is a color between blue and violet. So, it makes perfect sense you would see blue during the mediation for that area of the body.

The eyes rushing toward you might be a sign that you are opening up your psychic awareness a bit too quickly and you might not be ready for it just yet. Maybe take that a bit slower.

The birds being a mixture of different types of birds is not unusual though I mostly hear about that experience in dreams – not during a meditation. Sounds like you go deeeeeppppp in meditation sessions so perhaps talk to your teacher about making sure that your journeying remains “safe”. If the bird wants you to follow it into the ethers that is potent stuff. Even during meditation when we are supposed to be “letting go”, we still have control so you can always ask the bird who it is and where it wants you to follow it to.

Hope that helps!

Bernadette,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, and especially for validating that my experiences were real! Since I wrote to you, I’ve been searching online for pictures similar to the bird I saw, and I found it! Ironically, it is called an eagle-owl.

I have also talked to my meditation teacher and he said what I had seen was meaningless, that it had no place in meditation, and sort of seemed to imply that perhaps I was making it up and indulging myself in fantasies. None of this resonates with me, and as you see, I now have some sorting out to do.

I am very grateful for your input, because otherwise I might just have believed what he said–for a bit, anyway–I think what I have seen is too strong to just be extinguished

Anyway, much gratitude for your words of wisdom, and best wishes to you!

Hello, Mary;

You are most welcome. So happy to help!

On the feedback from your meditation teacher – there are many forms of meditation. To the best of my understanding nothing that happens to us (whether meditating or eating ice cream) is “meaningless”. To tell a student that a vision had “no place in a meditation” devalues the student’s experience as well as potentially cuts short important messages from spirit. Perhaps it could be helpful to you to hang on to your experience and continue to explore it. Remember, no matter the teacher it is YOU who determines the “right” “way”.

Yes, that does help–thank you so much!

Again, I appreciate your validation and thoughts on what my teacher said. I will definitely hang on to my experiences. I believe they are too important to just dismiss. Thank you again for your help!

Yay! Glad to help!

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Hi. A baby minor bird landed on my shoulder yesterday afternoon. Is there a meaning to this? Thank you.

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I have a specific type of bird who seems to follow me EVERYWHERE I go. It’s gray- An Acadadian Flycatcher I THINK. For several years. They fly onto my stair railings, sit on structures outside but always in my view, flap in front of Windows or sliding doors where I am, they have flown into- hitting the glass of the window of rooms I’m in (even at work) and I once had this same type of bird land on my shoulder at an outdoor restaurant and sit for several minutes- nuzzling in my hair and gently pulling the strings of my top. It became agitated when an employee of the restaurant removed it (for sanitary reasons). I’m not a bird person- in fact, I used to say I didn’t like them. So… What’s the deal? Coincidence? Or something deeper? I think it’s definitely something. Friends think I’m losing my mind. I assure you- it’s ALL true.

Hello, Kate;

Apologies for the delayed reply.

Well, if you are losing your mind I can assure you it’s not because of your Spirit Animal! LOL 😉

There is definitely something deeper at work in your life or a Bird that you care nothing about or even like would never keep appearing to you and it CERTAINLY wouldn’t perch on your shoulder and show affection!

Generally speaking, when an animal we don’t “like” keeps appearing to us, it’s a call for us to face a fear or some component of our “Shadow Self”. Part of the Flyfisher’s symbolism is that only 16% of its young ever make it out of the nest. So, I’m wondering if you have fears surrounding the subject of having children or fears leftover from your own childhood?

Sure hope that helps.

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Bird Is My Nickname! I Love You! Thank You For Awesomeness! I Am Truly A FREEBIRD! The Sky Is High And So Am I! Have A Great Awesome Day! <3 (0: God Bless You All! I Love You All!

Please accept my apology. I normally respond much faster. I was on a mini vacation and, then, Hurricane Matthew decided to visit me in Florida. 😉

You are most welcome! And, thank you for visiting WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

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I dreamt the other night that my family and I were in the kitchen when the house help came in crying and she was carrying a bird which resembles a white chicken. I don’t know what had happened but she did something and the chickens legs were severed from its body but together still attached to flesh. There was no blood and the chicken was not in distress either. It just sat and looked at us confused about our obvious dilemma. I dismissed it as a weird dream but it has stayed with me since. What could the symbolism possibly mean?

Hi, Jennifer;

Gosh. That’s a really vivid dream. Well, dream interpretation is not my specialty but chickens represent ‘life in the womb’ (eggs). And, the color white represent purity and innocence. So, perhaps there’s something going on in your own consciousness or with your house staff that might be wrapped up in a fear surrounding beginning, incubating and giving life to something or someone new? A baby, a new business, school, relationship, job, etc?

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Hi. So starting a week ago a group of birds have been flying by my house EVERYDAY around the same time and I don’t know why. I haven’t seen the birds I only hear them and it kinda scares me. Can you explain why this is happening?

Hello, Precious;

When we see flocks of Birds it can be a sign that now is the time to join with others who share our vision and direction in life – especially if all want to fly and attain great heights in their life. There’s no reason to be afraid but, rather, rejoice that Bird energy crosses your path!

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Tonight when I was driving home in the dark, I turned a corner about a block from my house. I saw something in the road so I drove around it. There in the road was a large owl standing on the pavement facing me. My husband passed away almost eleven months ago and I feel that he has come to me in the form of a raven. I don’t think this was him. What do owls symbolize.

Hello, Margo;

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband. When someone we love transitions to the other side, it can leave a big hole in our heart. But, he’s not ‘gone’ – he’s just in another time and place. You’ll see him again.

Click to learn all about Owl Symbolism & Meaning. . Also, since your husband is coming to you in the form of Raven – click to learn all about Raven Symbolism & Meanings .

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Hi Bernadette, My husband and I own a small taco restaurant, and I travel every week an hour away to get fresh tortillas. For the last few months I see a Cooper Hawk on an electric wire looking down at me while I drive by on the same spot. I also saw it once while walking in my neighborhood. Today its back was facing me for the first time. Can you please help me understand the meaning of this. Thank you!

Hello, Letty;

Take a few minutes and read through my Hawk Symbolism and Meaning article. It’s very in-depth and can likely help you discover why you’re being visited by Hawks.

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Hi Bernedetta!

I have a question for you. What is it mean to dream of a group of doves and crows flying together in a happy way as if they were playing together?

Stay blessed.

Hello, Richard;

Without knowing what else was going on in the dream, I’ll have to go with the symbolism of each bird. What strikes me most are the predominant colors – black and white. This is balance, the Yin and Yang. Crows are much like Ravens – often associated with death but this is more superstition than anything. Crows do, however, symbolize, shape-shifting and magic. Dove, of course, represent peace and divine love. So, my interpretation of this (especially given today’s political climate in the US) is – you are seeing the world as it can be. All of us, laughing and loving together despite our differences. And, ‘flying high’ together as well! A clear sign that we can achieve great heights it we will all just relax, have a good time and work in harmony.

Stay wild, Bernadette PS – in the next couple weeks I’m putting up the Crow and Dove articles so I’ll post them here when they are published.

Yes, that does help. Thank you very much. I also dreamed that i was elected as the president of South Africa, i was crying happy in the dream and Obama together with other officials were congratulating me for becoming the president. But am a Zambian and i am still staying in Zambia. Also, i dreamed that i was with our current president here in Zambia talking to each other and other officials. What does this mean?

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President dreams are very straightforward – they are about control and lofty goals. Since you’ve dreamed about several different presidents, I would say that perhaps you have a calling to make a BIG mark on the world and help humanity in a very BIG way!

It has, thank you. Stay too wild

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I once dreamt about riding a bird across the skies, when I was a kid. The bird looks like a hawk or a raven. Mostly part of my dreams come true of some sort. But what I am wondering is that what spirit animal am I? I am sure it is a bird but I don’t know which of the bird it is, either a hawk, owl or a raven

Hello, Tee;

The best way to discover your Spirit Animal is to ask the animal kingdom to send you signs. Those signs can show up in many forms. Perhaps reading “How To Find Your Spirit Animal – The Complete Guide” can help you connect with one or more of your beautiful birds.

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I had a dream that I was pregnant and the father was my ex. My current boyfriend was there in my dream and he said he would raise the baby as his own. I never saw the baby but after I gave birth my boyfriend took me to a lake to rest and while we sat on the dock some black figures that looked like fog appeared and scared me so my boyfriend hugged me and as i sat on his lap and looked onto the lake I saw two swans next to each other with their necks together almost like they were hugging out in the lake. My fears instantly vanished and all I could focus on was the face of on of the swans. They were both looking at me but I was only making eye contact with one and it was like everything else disappeared except for that one swan. I remember telling my boyfriend how beautiful the swan was and just feeling really at peace.

Hi, Connie;

Apologies for delay in response – was on vaca! It makes complete and total sense why you would have this Swan dream. Swans are one of the most archetypal symbols of transformation, enduring love, and psychic abilities. If the Swans you saw were white – white is the color of divine love. So, it sounds to me like Swan as a Spirit Animal came to tell you that you can trust in this new relationship and boyfriend. Trust that your heart is being transformed to one that can give and receive love in a state total trust.

Finally, when our Spirit Animal looks us directly in the eye it is a powerful moment, indeed! Cherish it. Trust it. And, congrats on the new love!

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Today I had a unusual experience walking into my room, there was a small bird (Wren) sitting on my bed. This was a surprise to me because there are no windows open in my house. I believe the only way this bird could have entered into my house was while I was entering or leaving through the front door. It is still a mystery to me as to why this bird would be in my room out of all the rooms in the house, also the fact that I stumbled upon this bird at this precise moment in time. I feel as if this is some kind of sign or message. Does this experience mean anything?

Apologies for delay in response – was on vaca!

Yes! When animals show up in unusual places and/or to us but not to others, it’s definitely a sign the animal kingdom is trying to get your attention. When Wren appears as your Spirit Animal, it’s trying to let you know the time to act is NOW! Wren’s are super busy little Birds. They are quite the moves and shakers of the forest. Whatever you want to accomplish, whatever you dream of achieving, NOW is the time to get going! Wren energy is there to help you keep going and going until you get where you want to be.

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Hello Bernadette, I am not a believer of symbolism and significance but this morning as I entered my room I saw a cuckoo bird flying over my room and to be frank I had never seen a cuckoo in my town, never ever, it was unbelievable, so I quickly google to find out what does it mean , was it a spirit trying convey a message .I found the Response and here I am to know what does it signify. Your response would be much appreciated.

Well, I’m not sure how to answer your question because you state that you are not a believer in symbolism and significance yet are asking me what seeing a Cuckoo Bird signifies. That said, Cuckoos have a, well, maybe bit less than wonderful symbolism. Cuckoos are mostly known for their unusual habit of laying their eggs in other bird’s nests. Generally, the Cuckoo chick hatches before the other birds and dumps the eggs out of the nest so the Cuckoo gets all the resources. Additionally, Cuckoos are very secretive birds so ‘hiding’ is another meaning associated with these Birds.

Now, most would see the Cuckoo’s symbolism as negative. However, their actions are based on natural instinct for survival. Though their actions are parasitic, it’s not known to us why they nest the way that they do. Some see their parasitic acts as ‘evolutionary warfare’. While I am not a proponent of war, well, sometimes we must be prepared to survive. In some ways, Cuckoos must be admired for their cunning tactics.

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ever since I was born, I have had birds as pets and with my 15 years of age, I still do. I feel a strong connection with them. however, for the past year, there has been a particular bird that I have noticed that constantly follows me when I’m not home. it has appeared when I’m in school, or simply when I go out. it flies high, but I recognize that it is in fact the same bird. when I’m in school, it tends to fly high but above me. and when I’m out, I can see it in a distance flying in a big circle. I have not been able to identify what bird it is, but in my opinion I think it might be a hawk. it has large wings with a chocolate brown coloration. I would love if anyone could give me information as to what the bird could be and what this all means. oh, and also, it tends to be one bird, but sometimes I have seen two and even three.

Hello, Rae;

Apologies for delay in response – was on vaca! Well, there’s no way I can help you identify the Birds you’re seeing because I haven’t seen them and there are no other identifiers in your description. However, if you think the Birds are Hawks then I can direct you to my article about the Hawk Spirit, Totem, & Power Animal .

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What does it spiritually mean to see a kinglet bird? Ty

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Rae on Friday night at 11:30 a white bird flew right over my head very close. Kind of startled me and i usually don’t see any birds that late,and tonight Christmas Sunday i just saw a long white shooting star lasting longer than usual. Not into signs or anything but is something bad on the way or just coincidental. Just seems strange.

Hello, Tom;

Whenever we see white animal it’s a sign of divine love. White is the color of purity and peace so the white bird and shooting star were letting you know that 2017 will be a much better year for you.

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A beautiful king parrot flew into my glass apartment outside fence. It fell down, fluttered and then died. Two other larger parrots guarded the dead one and tried to lift its head also prodding softly at the body to see if it was still alive. They flew away and then repeated the process five times. When they did not return, I buried the parrot in the garden and said a prayer. So sad but so amazing to watch the other. Birds trying to help. What is the spiritual signifigace of this situation?

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A Cardinal keeps knocking at my window. Today, it showed up at my window after my meditation. But more so, it showed up at the window in front and it is usually in back! Please let me know if you can tell me what it could mean. This bird is red!

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For the past year I have had a female cardinal that has flew into, not crashed, just sat on the edges of the window sills of almost every window of my home. Sometimes she will come to the dining room window and peck on it, then sit in the peach tree beside it with her male mate and sing to me. There are days that she’s here all day long flying from one window to the other all day long, then there are days when she’s only here in the morning. Or I may not see her for a day or two. My dad passed away 3 years ago this month, a year later I became disabled at 39 years old due to multiple diseases. My family lost our home and our vehicle. I lost my job, and a lot of my self respect for a while trying to learn how to deal with being a new version of me. I know red cardinals are signs of a loved one, but this one is a beautiful Brown female. Is she trying to tell me something?

Hello, Denise;

With your permission, I’ll send tons of love and healing energy your way. Cardinals are birds with a purpose. They are aggressive about what they want to accomplish and make no apologies for it. Their fiery Red color symbolizes passion and life-blood. In this, Cardinals are associated with bringing energy and messages of self confidence. What’s awesome about your Cardinal as a Spirit Animal, is she’s letting you know an animal doesn’t have to be the showy one of the bunch to get seen. Though some see her as ‘plain’ because she’s not Red like the males, she doesn’t care. Ms. Cardinal is still coming to your window and getting your attention. She knows that Brown is the color of elegance and the Earth. It is stability and security. I think your Brown Cardinal is telling you that the new version of you is beautiful and you’re going to be OK.

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Hi Bernadette, I am wondering about the significance of king parrots? They often show up at my house – but most particularly they are known to visit on important days eg birthdays, anniversaries. Another question, (a little unrelated sorry) I recently went through a stage of having butterflies fly around me and land on me for several days, do you know if this has any meaning?

Thank you 🙂

Hello, Nicole;

Yes! I know that having King Parrots show up at your home in Australia means I’m coming to live with you! LOL I’ve always wanted to live in Oz!

Parrots and Butterflies are all about COLOR! As Spirit Animals, each tells us to show our true colors – to make no apologies for our unique way of seeing the world and living in it. Parrots are capable of speaking ‘human languages’. This is a sign from the animal spirit guides to be open to developing new skills – this is especially true because you had Butterflies (transitions) show up along with the Parrots.

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Hi Bernadette, I have a question for you, I wonder why birds chirping all night long 9pm until now 2am and still chirping.,I don’t know when it stop., I am thinking there is something he wants to tell me but I can’t catch it.,Last January 6 my sister died and buried her at the back of our house,next to it is my uncle Jordan’s house after 14 days 1yr old Son of uncle Jordan was also died./please help me to understand what is going on.

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Dear Bernadette,

I was hopping you could help me make some sense from something that happened to me. I was cleaning the windows in my front yard and suddenly I felt a swooshing of of wings flurry on the back of my head. A rainbow lorikeet had flown over to me and then perched itself on the brick wall to the right of me. We both stood looking at each other for about 2 minutes, me not moving thinking that it would fly at me again. But then something overcame me and I went up to this bird and I put my hand out, it hopped off the brick it hung to and hopped straight on to my left hand and climbed straight up to my shoulder. I walked over to my side gate and called out to my little girls who were playing in the backyard to come and see. My other girl went to get a piece of bread for the bird and also the phone so she could take some photos. For some reason I had a feeling that this was my grandmother (unsure) but I knew the bird wasn’t going to hurt us in anyway. I gave the bread to the bird and it pecked a little at it but didn’t seem interested. I introduced the bird to my two daughters and the bird hopped off and went over to my daughters. It pecked at their feet and allowed them to pat her, as if it really were my grandma and she was saying hello. It walked up the path to the backyard and I left the bird then to finish cleaning the window. During the time the bird was with us, it didn’t fly, just stayed with us for about 15mins. The gate was locked so I was unable to follow it to the backyard, but my daughter said it just flew off after that. Could you please tell me the meaning of this? I recently quit my job the week. Before to start a home business so I could have more work life balance and it was a very tough decision to make since I’ve always been unsure of myself. In the last year I’ve learnt some more skills in order to start my own business but always been afraid to go out on my own because I don’t trust I am good enough. In recent times I’ve been praying in my head to ask grandma to help me find my way. Can you help me?

My humble apology for the delayed reply. I’m working hard to personally reply to all comments on both my sites – WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com and BuildingBeautifulSouls.com. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day so I can’t get to them all as quickly as I would like. 🙂

First, thank you for sending the beautiful pictures!

Rainbow Lorikeet Spirit Animal

Next, yes! I can totally help with this message! Parrot as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal symbolize have the confidence to show our true colors and use our Throat Chakra to sing our own song! Parrot energy is happiness, abunDANCE and humor!

Now, your Rainbow Lorikeet sounds like it might have been someone’s pet. But, once a ‘pet’ bird returns to the wild it’s incredibly difficult to get them to return to humans so the Parrot must have been guided by your grandmother.

If I may, the next time you pray to grandma – imagine the prayers coming out of your heart, hopping onto a rainbow and sliding up the rainbow to wherever you believe your grandma is. As you plan your home business, try to focus on how much your product or services will help others. Visualize the looks on your customers faces when you help them solve a problem or help them get what they need. Once you shift your focus away from yourself, and concentrate on your customers you’ll find that the joy of serving others will give you wings to fly right along side your beautiful Rainbow Lorikeet Spirit Animal!

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I keep seeing crows everywhere I go ,and I also seen a red cardinal fly from right to left in a downward motion in front of me I was like ok these are messages i need to know these actual messages.

Hi, Daylaquan;

I have a new version of WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com launching next week. By the following week, Crow and Red Cardinal will be posted. In general, however, Red Cardinal is often a visit from a loved one who has passed over and Crows are about magic, trickery, fun, and intelligence.

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Thanks for Helping my brother out he really does like birds

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I was wondering what the meaning of the humming bird is. I never saw many of them until a few years ago. Then everytime I was outside they would be flying around me. Some so close I could feel the wind from their wings. It didn’t matter where in my yard I was. Then last year one flew into my porch. I talked to her calmly and quietly and she sat on the ledge and let me pick her up. I took her out to the tree that had the feeder on it and she just sat on my finger for a couple of minutes “cooing” at me and flew off. The one encounter had me in tears and I felt like a light shining right out of me. I never thought I had a spirit animal so I don’t know if the hummingbird is one or not.

Hello, Sam;

My humble apology for the delayed reply. I’m working hard to personally reply to all comments on both my sites – WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com and BuildingBeautifulSouls.com. Right now I only have 2 hands but I am working on getting surgery to become an Octopus – then I’ll have eight! 😉

What a gentle, loving soul you must be for such delicate creatures to feel safe enough to light on your hand! When we have an up close and personal interaction like that with a wild animal, there can be no doubt they are trying to get a message to us.

Intuitively, I feel like Hummingbird is telling you that you that it’s time to live joyfully! Also, that we can remain in our heart center but ‘aggressively and determinedly’ go after what we want in life. Hummers are tiny little beings but fearless. It’s like they don’t know how tiny they are because they’re completely connected to their heart chakra and it’s clearly that of a Lion!

Be bold, Sam. Be brave. You got this!

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Hi there. Today, as I was reading the article on finding my spirit animal, a huge flock of geese started to fly above my house, honking so much and so loudly that I knew I had to go outside to see what they were. I watched them for a few minutes. They were not flying in a typical V shape formation. There actually appeared to be multiple flocks and they were flying in a huge, circular cluster, with no structure to the formation. And they continued to honk constantly and loudly. They did this for a few minutes then moved on to the north. It is possible that they are just returning North after winter, but the behavior was something I had never seen before, so I was wondering if there was some sort of symbolism. Also, the fact that it happened as I was reading your article has me very intrigued. Is there any insight you can offer?

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Thank you so much for this informative article! My dad passed away unexpectedly 2 months ago. Ever since, I’ve had an encounter with white birds. From the first day, which was the after his death, I knew that it was a sign from him. Since he passed a white bird will appear when I was going through an array of emotions. Each time I became aware of the white bird, I would shift into a positive emotion. At one time there was a group of white birds. Priir to seeing the group I was angry and questioned God about my dads death. The experience with white birds has happened 5 times in the last 2 months since my dad passed. I appreciate your article for helping with confirming what I have been encountering! I hope not to loose these encounters.

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I have a story from 2003. My son, Ben, was 16 and was end-stage cancer. One early October day, I was outside with my dog when a blue heron flew in and landed close by to us. My dog chased the heron, but it would not fly away. After being chased a bit it jumped onto our picnic table, but would not fly away. I got the dog inside, got my camera and walked very close to the heron, took pictures, but it still did not fly away. I went inside to get Ben so he could see it. As Ben stepped outside and took a couple of steps toward the heron it flew away. Laying on the picnic table was a large fish, a carp I think, that was not there before I went to get Ben. The heron was the most unusual, incredible, unbelievable “thing” I have ever experienced. Later that afternoon Ben said something was terribly wrong and we needed to get him to the hospital. The doctors thought he would not survive the night, but he did. Four weeks later Ben died on Halloween, the same day my Dad had died on 2 years earlier. What are your thoughts on the heron?

Hello, Ron;

My humble apology for the delayed reply. I’m working hard to personally reply to all comments on both my sites – WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com and BuildingBeautifulSouls.com. I’m finding that having two hands is not enough and I’m looking into getting surgery to become an Octopus 😉

First, please accept my condolences for your family’s loss.

Having a Heron appear for you and Ben, especially at that time in your lives, was and is profound. See, Herons are ‘walkers between worlds’. They keep one foot in the water element and one foot on land. This makes them able to move between the mystery (water represents otherworldly matters) and life here on earth. For Ben, it was perhaps a message letting him know his transition would be smooth. For you, Heron appeared to let you know Ben will be always be able to communicate with the family even after he crosses over. I suspect you’ve already experienced this as Ben’s energy seems like that of an independent young man who was most comfortable following his own path.

Blue Herons are considered “The King of the Marsh”. Indeed, Herons have a stoic, regal way about them. To have been gifted a fish from The King is powerful. Fish are water dwellers. As such, cultures across the globe have associated Fish with the womb (live giving waters), the subconscious, and, to Buddhists – freedom. Fish are, also, associated with eternal life and rebirth. There is no way that if your dogs didn’t chase that Heron off, Ben’s approaching it scared it away. I absolutely believe with all my heart that bird took flight so Ben could see it do so. In flying there is freedom – just like the fish symbolizes, it was all about being free.

Passing on the same day as your father is, also, significant – especially given that it was Halloween, the time when the veil between worlds is thinnest. I’m thinking the men in your family are true metaphysical practitioners.

Finally, if I may – I’m a professional psychic medium. As I’m writing this, I keep wanting to laugh. Either you or Ben (or both) have an outrageous sense of humor and it’s still going strong!

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hi a elderly male friend of mine has crows and seagulls around his house he feeds them as well . however lately this new seagull has come into the crowed lets say lol but he is different as I have never seen a bird of any nature fly up to the patio land at the door and peck at the door as if he wanted to come in . I have in my life had a bald headed eagle land on a stump with a fish head for me I had taken a fish out of the river cause he was making noises at me so I flipped it out of the water and put it on the ground and walked away . but when he brought the fish head to the stump that was outside my house at the time I was able to see he had a clubbed foot it was his way of saying thank you . my question is what does it mean when a seagull purposely knocks at your front door in fact he has done it to all his doors which are three he even did the garage door yesterday .. I was thinking maybe his it was a loved one who is no longer here which I feel it may be his wife in bird forum he is 82 if you give me any idea as to what this means of a bird knocking at a persons door I would appreciate it thank you respectfully Debbie

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My husband was watering my plants in this morning when a myna flew and came and and perched on my hand. After that I saw 2 more mynas outside my house looking in. What does this mean? I am going through a tough time with someone whom we deemed as a friend. We trusted her with our money but she is denying she has anything to do with the joint venture and is shrugging responsibility and has even threaten a lawsuit against us. Is the myna coming to perch so trustingly on my husband’s ahnd a good omen?

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Hello.. I have a question regarding a Wren bird that keeps appearing @ my kitchen window for going on 2 months singing very loudly every time . No matter where I am in the house it brings me to it . In September of 2016 I lost my significant other to a farming accident since this time I have had daily encounters with cardinals in a tree in my front yard . One day a wren & cardinal both appeared at my kitchen window together. But my main questions is why the Wren keeps coming to my window over and over singing? Please any insight you may have would be greatly appreciated.

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Hello, can you tell me of Pheonix as an spirit animal. I had a vision while meditating. Was searching for my spirit animal. I saw a huge tree with green top and walked towards it. There was a nest in middle of it and a light shining on from tree top, maybe some kind of portal. As I was watching at that sight a Pheonix came out of that light. I had several changes in my perspective recently. Precisley shift from time perspective into now. Thanks!

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I am seing the same small brown bird with white chest regularly on my balcony. I don’t know the type of bird it is but it is here so so often im going through some personal turmoil at the current time and wondered if this was anything in particular interms of meaning.

Does this mean something positive for a change

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Hi there..on my way to work this morning I saw two white cranes flying beside each other. Later on that day as I was driving to pick up dinner I saw them again in a different part of town, again flying side by side. Im sure there is an important message seeing as I spotted them twice in a day. Both times I saw them they made me smile and I had a good feeling inside. Could you please shed some light on the message im sure im supposed to receive.Thanks.

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Your website has a lot of wonderful and helpful information on it. However, I was wondering if you could help me with a situation that just happened to me. I was sitting in my living room and I heard a noise. It kept happening frequently but I didn’t think anything of it. It sounded like the sound my old shed makes when it’s windy outside and a loose piece of the roof bangs against the shed. However, as I passed the guest bedroom in my house it got louder. So I opened the door and was shocked to see a bird smacking against the window over and over again. It smacked against the window, landed on the deck and then did it again. It was very upsetting to see and unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to what it looked like because I wanted to get it to stop immediately. So I smacked the window and it flew off. I think it was mainly dark colored and it had a little bit of red on its wing. I can’t be certain though. And it had a dark colored beak. Maybe black or dark brown. I just wish I knew what kind of bird it was so I could figure out if maybe it meant something. Do you have any ideas??

Thanks for your time, Caitlyn

I just thought I should make an update seeing that I was woken up today by the same noise coming from the guest bedroom. It took me a second to realize what was happening but then I got up and went to the room as fast as I could. I opened the door with the thought of paying more attention to what it looks like. However, I only caught a glimpse of it because right when I caught a glimpse of it, it flew off. I didn’t even get a chance to walk to the window. But I do know that it was the same bird that I saw yesterday.

Sorry for commenting so much but I just want to keep you updated so I can get better input. After the first time it happens today, which is the second time total, I tried going back to bed because I still felt tired. Before I went to bed I thought to myself, of this is some sort of sign, show it to me again but give me more time to see what bird it is. Well right as I was falling asleep I heard the sound again. I went to the guest room and when I walked into the doorway, there it was. But it lingered for a second. I saw that it was a robin, it looked at me and then after a few seconds it flew off. I know for a fact it was the same exact bird all three times. I don’t know if it would be significant that the bird was standing on the doghouse that we have on our deck. Or that it was outside the room that we decided would be the first room we would redo. We had just pulled out the carpet and plan to put in new flooring and repair the walls. We’re planning to redo the entire house. Or maybe because I’m a senior in high school, my parents have been going through a divorce this past year and it was finalized a few months ago. My mom just moved out and my dad moved back in with me. There’s been a lot of change in my life lately that has been really overwhelming to me. I’m probably getting my own apartment this summer and starting college and getting a job. I’ve also struggled with self-confidence my entire life. I’m extremely insecure and I’ve always had a problem with change and new things happening. I hope this helps. I just really want to know what this means. I feel like it’s really important. Especially since the bird was hurting itself against the window and it was very upsetting. I’m sorry for commenting so many times also.

Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing your input.

Hi, Caitlyn;

While birds frequently fly into windows due to seeing their reflection and thinking it’s another bird – or they see something shiny inside that they want – I do not believe in random chaos. Meaning – I believe everything happens for a reason. In your case, perhaps it’s time for you to face a foe, or your shadow self (because the bird was a dark color and ‘fighting’ with a mirror image of itself).

Energetically, if feels like the incident has really stuck with you – emotionally. Likely this is because you are an extremely sensitive person and seeing a living thing harm itself or get hurt by any means stays in your consciousness for a long while.

Maybe sit in a quiet space and ask The Great Spirit what messages that bird was trying to deliver to you. Ask your own animal spirit guides to help you understand. It might seem like I’m making a big deal out of this but this is not the same kind of encounter of simply seeing an animal cross your path – it has a greater significance.

Hope that makes sense and helps.

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The other day i was in my front yard and a robin bird landed like right next to me looked at me i said hello to it after that it flew away. dose that mean anything

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Hello, I just want to say this site is truly wonderful and very informative. I also wanted to tell you about my experience. I had a friend who passed away 2 days ago. Just this morning, while sleeping, I saw a bird flapping rapidly right in my face. It woke me up out of my sleep. I did not have a dream, only this…Please help

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From a distance I’ve seen a white bird. Distance from my front Door was carrying conversation with my siblings cought my vision my siblings headed walking​ to there viechel and left home. Does this mean anything ?

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I never leave comments or reply but something about what I’ve been reading here resonates with me. I’ve never been a bird person however recently I have been having an increasing amount of interaction with birds. I went vacationing with my husband and we had hummingbirds in and around us constantly. Every morning and evening we would have a black finch done with us. The whole week every morning this finch would come to me and come right up I even have a photo where this wild finch took oats right from my hand as if I’d raised him. They would fly into my room at night chirp as if in greeting and leave. It was odd but I put it out of my mind since we were vacationing. well after arriving home I found that I still had unusual interactions with birds. I was on the phone one afternoon with my husband and he was nearly drowned out by the sound of birds chirping in the background. When I asked he said no he didn’t hear any birds he was on the patio with our dog and perhaps the mic on his headphones amplified the sound. The next day we went shopping and I walked right up to a crane standing in the parking lot. He stood around and didn’t even flinch when I came near. I took a photo of him and was literally close enough to touch. The bird turned to me stretched it’s neck and looked me right in the eyes. It felt like this bird was so proud and wanted me to see him. I live in Florida so it’s not unusual for us to see cranes around however they are usually in a family and in a more appropriate area. Those are just some examples of the odd ways birds have become very conspicuous in my day to day life. We have started trying for a family and have been unsuccessful so far. I can’t help but wonder if there is a connection. There isn’t anything else major going on that I’m aware of. Do you think it could be a message to remain strong and proud, even if not that’s definitely what I took from the crane.

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Good morning. Today I have had a brown wren fly into my living room. I opened the front door, it came in the back door and it flew away. I then went to the store and on the way back I could here chirping from inside my vehicle! I find a baby brown wren in the backseat on the floorboards. I opened all of the doors and was on my way to open the hatch when another brown wren flew in. the adult wren flew out the back as I opened the hatch and the baby bird is still in my truck and I have been unable to help it escape. I don’t believe in quintessences and I know this is a message or a sign to come and found your site. Any insight you might have to its meaning would be appreciated!

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While at kitchen table eating with my grand daughter I heard something on floor 3 feet from me. I looked down and it was a bat. It just layed there and I put a container over it an took it outside and it flew away. No idea how it got in never had that happen before or a problem with bats. Next day while sitting on our mostly enclosed porch with grandaughter a Swallow bird flew in and circled around 4 times or so and flew out. NEVER had a bat in house or never seen Swallow so close to house before. Rarely see Swallows around my home. Is there a meaning/sign to this? Thank you so much

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Hi! I hope you can help me. One morning when i was walking towards my work, a bird ( i dont know what kind ) hits the middle part of my head by his feet ( i can feel his feet in my scalp ) when i turn around he flew in the nearby post approx. 1 meter water from me; it was a small black bird with a orange colored beak- that bird hits me twice. 3 days later, it happened to me again.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi I was at a red light and saw 2 white birds on the tree and I thought it was unusual and beautiful. So I was going to take a picture of it and for some reason my camera won’t open up. It was like someone was covering the lenses. So when I told my husband about it, he told me he had a dream of 2 white birds a month ago. Is this a coincidence? Does this mean anything ???

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Hello I’ve been having an experience with yellow bellied flycatchers. I seen them constantly especially when I visit my routine fishing area. One actually saved me last week when I turned to look at it because it landed so closely I noticed a bee on my shirt. I’m deathly allergic but thank goodness I got it off in time! My mother passed away recently and she was native American I was wondering if there is any significance? Thanks

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Aloha! Maybe you can help me figure out an animal sign’s meaning. At work (I’m a pet/house sitter) I found a downed sea bird in their courtyard (I live on Kaua’i, Hawaii) The found bird was a shearwater. It’s not that uncommon to find stunned ones that need a little rest and help. I took this one out to the hill area he surely came from and after a few false starts he flew away. I waited out in the driveway for about 15 minutes and didn’t see any more sign of him/her. I went back in the house and as I was passing the door that leads out to the enclosed courtyard from the house I glanced out and there right outside the door was the shearwater again peering right in at me (He was right in front of the door and staring into house-this is not the original spot I found him.) I feel very strongly it was some type of season and I said as much out loud. I took him back out to the driveway and he flew off again and has not returned. Do you have any thoughts or insight on this? Thanks so much.

errrr….it was some type of sign not season 🙂

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I am so happy….after read about animals

I think that its also important to make people aware of thing such as the fact that protecting your sacred space by calling the elements, otherwise known as casting a circle, is wiccan. I just feel that its important for peoples safety that they understand fully what that means. And it is not a healthy way to protect sacred space as leaving a circle open can be costly energy wise. Im not sure of your legitimacy in regards to sharing Native american knowledge therefore im not gonna call you out for cultural appropriation but i do feel that there are better methods for protecting sacred space. Such as burning incense or saying a small prayer/chant. I just feel circle casting is a little extensive and risky for people who may or may not know what the hell they are doing. Personally it offends me because its not designed to protect sacred space, its designed to create sacred space. The protection comes from the energy behind it as well as possible things used to aid, such as herbs/crystals/incense.

THERE AFTER, I WOULD TO OPEN SAME THINK IN INDIA (MY COUNTRY). I REQUESTED TO PLEASE GUIDE ME AND HOW TO START OPEN NGO IN MY COUNTRY ? WITH USING MY LITTLE POCKET MONEY.`

AGAIN, YOU ARE MY WARM RESPECTED INSPIRATION. I WILL DO DEFIANTLY UNDER YOUR GUIDANCE,

WARM REGARD MR SURAJ SHARMA INDIA

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Hello, I have a question. A Baltimore oriol flew down in front of me, plucked out a feather (which it left on the ground) and flew away. I am so thankful for the gift, but what does it mean?

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Hello, It was 5 years death anniversary for my son and in that month a Bulbul bird started coming everyday eversince knocks on my room window also goes to my car everyday and looks through the window and goes in circular movements on the glass.What does this mean

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Hi this is so informative…but im still trying to figure out something. Today a green bird walked into my house and when i saw it, it turned around and waljed towards the door and flew away. Wondering if it has any meaning ….

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I recently found that the peacock is my spirit animal guide, I cant find what it means anywhere. I need your help

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I’m house-sitting in Mount Nebo (west of Brisbane, Australia) for a month or 2, and I’m surrounded by wildlife and especially exotic birds–crimson rosellas, king parrots, cockatoos, whipbirds, and many more. The other day I “felt” a presence, turned around and saw this brown cuckoo dove watching me. Normally I watch the birds–not the other way around. 😉 I had never heard of a brown cuckoo dove before, and that made it all the more striking to me. The next day I went hiking in another location and again ran across a brown cuckoo dove, and then it flew down and landed on the path in front of me–about 12 feet away. Later that day I was up on the side of the hill–deep in the forest–and there it was again, close by in a tree. It doesn’t seem tame at all–just somehow crossing my path again and again. Does this suggest any message to you? I’ve never heard it make a sound. Just a quiet presence.

No animal or bird has ever “spoken” to me the way this one has. It is a large dove–one of the largest I’ve ever seen–with a long tail, and when it is in a nearby tree, you really know it’s there. It may have a call–I don’t know–but I have never heard it. Some doves make a sound when beginning to fly. What is most striking to me about this dove is its silence, its size, and its fearless attraction to me. It’s just present, and that presence is somehow tangible.

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Hadley says: Hello! I would love to know the symbolism of a kinglet, if you have any insight. This morning a golden crowned kinglet bumped into my window. I picked it up very gently and gave it some energy work for a few minutes before it flew off. It was a very special and tender few minutes as I was trying to honor the bird, and I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of messages it might mean for me?

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Hello,thanks for the information!

theres been a yellow and black humming bird which has always been coming at my room window since i was child. it used to knock and look through the window in circular motions. never really understood why! i recently shifted to another house, to a completely different locality but suddenly on the death anniversary of my uncles death i saw the same bird at my window again merrily chirping! i was completely taken aback! is there any meaning to this?

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Hi just the other day a blue mix with Brown little bird flys in my car window as I was taking my kids. Too school it looked as if it was trying attack my 11 year old son that was about 2 weeks ago . then just now at 1157pm me and my two sons went to throw out some boxes and a big white bird toys out. Our tree and into the sky what’s this mean need I say my old’s son passed away 3 years ago he was murded he was only 16 years old at the time

What’s all this mean

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sorry.. I never knew about this platform until this morning when I had a dream of a white pidgin.. trying to play with me by pointing on me every with is mouth.. as I keep pushing it away as he uses his mouth to hold on to the ground as result of me pushing away but he keeps flying on me refuses to go away until I had to wake up because I have never such dream in my life.. what does this means??

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Today, something strange happened which I’ve never seen in my life may be so many people out there find funny about my question but for me its strange because I’ve seen it for the first time… when i was passing through the kitchen… I’ve seen two pigeons or doves i think…grey in color so.. dove or pigeons whatever they were making love and it was looking like more of fight it was looking at first but soon i understood and i just smiled and shoo’d them :p found it really personal and just sprinkled water to fly them away.. so i don’t know what it meant but i see them everyday sitting on my window but never seen them making out or may be kissing i guess :-p all of sudden it happened today.. haha i myself finding it funny asking u this question that what is it ??? and why I’ve seen it ?? is it a coincident of my bad timing or is there anything strange meaning behind it ??

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Hi (: I keep seeing pairs of birds together, sitting on fences or poles, flying in the sky above me or swooping in front of me while I’m driving, just everywhere really. Any insights as to what this might indicate?

Love and blessings and thank you for your beautiful sight and wisdom!

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Hello Dear Bernadette, excuse me for my english, it’s not my native language. I was researching some informations about a symbolic of a bird in general on your page. Maybe you can help me to elaborate it further. I asked one card reader to tell me, if she can see in her cards, what secret my grandmother wanted to tell me before she passed. (My grandma wanted to tell me a secret but she did not finish her sentence and she died. I try to discover this since, it’s more than ten years). She told me that i’ll get a message around a full moon, it will drop right in the front of me, and I do not have to care what people will think around me but It will be a message just for me. Two days after the full moon I found a bird. He could not fly so I asked for a box in the nearest shop and took the bird to a vet. My daughter wants to become a vet so all fits perfectly. Do you think, that this was the message? Does it mean, that my grandmother received my intention to discover the secret and she sent me the bird as a messenger of freedom and eternity? Did I missed some details? Thank you for your page and for your answer. Blessings

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Hey I just saw this site! When I was younger I saw a shadow of a really gigantic bird when i look up in the sky.. And now I randomly dream or remember it often.. I don’t really know what kind of bird that was but it flew above my head and then when i looked up I saw it’s shadow blocking the sun..

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I have been reading your page so thoroughly! It is very informative, thank you for all the time an effort you put into it. This week I have been having some guy troubles, and there is a very particular spot where I live that I like to go to think. I was sitting with my friend talking about this particular guy situation and a seagull swoops down so close to my head and scares me, so badly! A couple weeks later I am sitting in the same spot taking a call with a different friend, I start walking around this spot while telling her about the same guy and asking for advice… I left some sketching things there where I sat and at that exact moment when I was talking about Michael a seagull comes again and grabs my pencil pouch from right next to me and walks off with it. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence? Or maybe an animal guide trying to tell me something..? Any suggestions?

Thank you again! Kayla

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I came home yesterday to a yellow warbler flying around my house. Can you advise the symbolism of this?

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Hi Im curious To know, above you mention that positive change is represented by the white birds – is there actually a breed called white birds or do you mean all white birds represent positive change?

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Today I went to water my flowers and stopped in my tracks. A large beautiful bird but not one I recognized was on the sidewalk looking lost and facing my house. I talked to her (or him) and she was cocking her head as if listening to me. Then I saw her listening as if she was listening for a fellow bird to call to her. I researched and found out the bird is a Chukar (a type of pheasant). It is not native to N. America let alone the SE US where I live. I’ve been hearing a different type of bird song the last few days and I now know the song of the Chukar. Is there some symbolism for seeing a pheasant or a bird on that family?

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3 days in a row I have had a Baltimore Oriole appear while I am on the phone with my daughter, who lives in Baltimore. I live in Northern Illinois, so it’s quite unusual. I only see them while I am actively speaking to her. Any ideas on a significance?

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For 4 or 5 days a starling has been flying into out dining room window. It then sits on the porch rail and looks in toward the inside of the house. My husband died Dec. 27th, 20017. I have been so distraught. I have been asking him to show me a sign that he is near. Could this be his sign?

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I recently have been seeing a picture of an owl on my crystals and I saw one also the wall in my back garden in the texture of the paint. I am wondering if this is because I now have an owl spirit guide. I have read your interpretation of owl spirit guides and this seems to fit with what is happening with my life as I have been meditating to regain my self confidence amongst other things. I am wondering if you could clarify this for me. Many thanks. Love and light

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Good Afternoon! I just came across Your Post for questions! Yesterday My Spouse, My grandson,My self went when all of the sudden a White Bird came flying from the left to right in front of Us.I look to my right,it flew to a tree branch,sat down looking at US! What Does This Mean!! Thank You, Susie

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4 birds landed on my car one by one. First on my hood than flew away. Than on my trunk and flew away. Than on my drivers side and flew away. Than on my hood again directly in front of me and flew away. All in a complete circle….what does this mean?

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I came to my apartment that I have not been to in awhile. I found a dead bird on the floor. This really upset me because my window was left slightly open one of those slanted windows and it doesn’t give out much air for ventilation. I’m like how did this bird squeeze in this tiny slanted opening of a window and couldn’t get out and died. I believe the bird was a cardinal. It had red color at the top of the head then started to turn brown. What do you think this is a symbol of?

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I had a Sea Gull Poop all over me on the right side not once but three different days last week, I was told my Spirit bird is a Sea Gull as they are always cleaning up, that I also have a Monkey on my left shoulder, that my Angel is like the Sea Gull.. And Not too be afraid, that I need too tell my Story, to keep telling it, That The Monkey helps me too smile

What does all this mean

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Hi, thank you for this post.

Today i was sitting on some steps drinking a coffee when a bird landed on my head. It happened too quickly, i am scared if birds n i i didnt look up to see what it was. My son says it was a seagull but i thought i saw a pigeon.

Can you help decipher the meaning please?

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I had a vivid symbolic dream while napping earlier today, and it has left quite an impression on me.

It was of a Totem Bird Gliding from left to right. It had a red beak with 4 seperate spiral symbols on its beak.

Could you help me explain the meaning?

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A small black and white bird fly on the top of my car and walk towards the class and fly away. What does that mean

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Comment…In my sleep,I saw a bird perched on my palm eating food in a dream,I want the meaning,significance and importance.

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I See It In My Dreams, I Hear It In The Forest, And Ones Something That I Will Never Forget Happen To Me When I Was On A Hike… I Was Bird Watching With My Mom And Dad Until I Herd That Same Call That I Always Do. I Never Saw One In Person Before And I Have Always Felt A Different Connection To This One Type Of Bird Then To Other Birds. I Looked Up And for The first Time, I Saw One Calling As It Flew So Close, That It Could Almost Touch Me. It Flew Farther Down The Hike Trail So I Followed It Running Fast. I Lost Track Of It And So I Then I just Kept Walked On The Hike trail In The Forest. The Sun Was Setting When We Were About To Go Home, I herd It Again, But This Time When I Looked Up, There I Saw 5 Of The Birds Flying In A V Shape And The Same Bird That I Saw Earlier Was Leading The 4 With 2 On Each Side. They Did That Same Call Flying To The Sun Set. When I Got Home I Searched All About The Birds That I Saw. It Said That Those Types of birds Never Fly In A V Shape. I Think I Was Just Lucky To See Them Do That. At School I Never Fit In With Everyone Else, Until I Found At That The Bird Was In Its Own Group With Only One Type In Of Bird In That Group, Like Me. I Love Eating Fish, And it does Too! Those Types Of birds Are Just Like Me…I Am Pretty Sure That The Osprey Is My True Spirit Animal!

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I need some help here I was dreaming of some ellow and orange birds who land on my face I wonder whatsvthe meaning of that

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Hi, I found your site while looking to see what the meaning of a bird in my teacup is. It is so clear, I have a photo, I think it must have some message for me. I often see things in the tea stains on the side of my cup but have never had anything as clear as this. Any ideas?

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Why am I so attracted to red cardinals? They always seem to be in my field of vision. Yesterday one tried to land on a light fixture out side my front door. Can you provide any insight? I collect red cardinal items too. So attracted to the red and the fact that the male and female are seen together.

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I have been coming across Sparrows. 2 alive, then 1dead. This has happened 3 times within in the past 3 weeks. As your article says, “it’s time to set up proper protection against wondering souls up to no good”. How do I do this?

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On the day that my parent’s shih tzu, Reggie, had passed away, I had a dream about a nut hatch that was perched up in a tree that night. I was driving or passing by and happened to see the nut hatch in a tree, possibly with other birds that are commonly part of the winter flock with chickadees and woodpeckers…but it was during the summer, and took place where I went to college (ironically my parents got Reggie when I was in college ). Well, the following day, I saw our neighborhood nut hatch who I only see every once in awhile, not daily like the house sparrows or even as often as the chickadees in our neighborhood that I feed. Either way, I found it ironic that I happened to see the nut hatch after I dreamed about it and wonder if it connected to Reggie, who I was close to…Reggie, like the nut hatch, befriended other species (cats in Reggie’s case) such as chickadees or other mixed winter flock birds… twas curious to see if there’s more to it

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Hi, I am here researching this same thing. I do believe that there is something to this. I just experienced losing my 17 year old kitty after having had a female cardinal pecking on my window for 5 days. She was fine and walking around, the minute the bird started I knew that I was going to lose someone precious, because the same thing happened to me almost 25 years ago. Same house, same window but in that case it was a brown thrasher and my dad died shortly after it began. But back to this one, the female stayed there the entire time squawking and pecking, and Libby got sicker, I had to force feed her and give her water, she died at 3:31 a.m. on Nov. 10. She was gone and I never heard from the bird again. It was about 5 days from beginning to end. While the female stayed the while time, a male kept coming and hanging out with her but would come and go. It made me wonder about my other sweet girl Sallie. Sure enough she got sick on or about Nov 22, had to have her put to sleep on Nov. 25th. It’s been difficult so far coming to grips with it so I thought that I’d do some research. Very fascinating story. Thank you for sharing it

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I love reading people’s experience with birds. Since moving into a new house (with the most unbelievably good essence) I have been blessed with day 1 – a chicken hawk came thru the kitchen window, flew around and landed on the sink. It let me pick it up and take it outside- very calm. When I opened my hands he didn’t leave until I gave him a nudge. I’ve had swallows nesting at my front door (2 rounds of chicks), a robin I could hand feed for about a month, a brown bird who sings to me while it steals the dog food, baby swallows in the house (caught and released, both calm), last night a beautiful microbat flew around inside my house into every bedroom, living room and kitchen, left when I finally climbed into bed (couldn’t catch) and today, my entire house, lawn, pond, bird batch, trees and power lines were covered in a swarm of sparrows- no other house but mine. I calmly walked through them to my front door. I am left feeling very very blessed and uplifted

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What about European Starlings. They are by my window, tons of then in a tree near my window, and they haye a nest. I sure hope this isn’t a bad sign

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This morning me and my sons found a baby coal tit just sitting in the middle of the pavement so we thought it was injured as it let us pick it up and I let me hold it in my hand, we had to walk through a country park and once we got into there properly it just flew away!! I wondered if u could tell me the meaning of it?

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What about the Magpie? (ThI mean the Magpies you get in Europe)

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WOW! What an exciting experience! They are so friendly, curious and daring birds. Thank you for sharing story.

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A brown bird not sure the species flew into my car flapped onto the door not really window chirped at me and flew away anyone know what this means

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These birds are fascinating and mysterious the same time!

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I keep seeing bald eagles when picking up or dropping off my abusive ex

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From the time my Mom came home from the nursing home rehab, until the day she died at home in hospice care, when I drive up her driveway the day she was being transported home from the nursing home I saw a Falcon. One that had never been around before. That was Jan 14th 2020 and I saw it every single day I would go to my Mom’s, I was her care giver too. Anyway, she passed away April 21 2020 and the Falcon is gone, I have not seen it at all. I believe it was there for my Mom as her spirit guide.

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Does anyone know what the meaning is for swarm of brown birds to visit your land, besides the obvious answer “feeding”?

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¡Thank you so much for sharing your work! ¡So beautiful so many wisdom! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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What is the symbolism when a long-necked and long-billed bird on the ivory coast eats toads?

I have acquired a Baule ‘mblo’ face mask from the Ivory Coast. At the top of the mask sit four long-beaked and long-necked birds that chirp in a toad. Can you tell what the symbolism is and what bird it can be?

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Gari also covers latest bikes in Pakistan 2021, bike prices in Pakistan, used bikes for sale, bike accessories. Gari also has list of commercial vehicles in Pakistan, upcoming vehicles, auto accessories, used vehicles for sale from all cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Hyderabad, Guetta, Sialkot, Bahawalpure etc.

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Below is a list of all Bird Symbolism & Meanings articles. More are added every week so check back often! Scroll down to below the articles or click to read about Bird Symbolism & Meanings.

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My spirit animal is a Robin Redbreast European Bird

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My father keeps small birds and usually this one keeps opening his mouth at me and like he is trying to tell me something(constantly) he usually starts singing when he sees me and this has been going for a while and this has happened previously(with different birds), also when i go out of the room he stops immediatelly, might be a correlation but might not, hopefully there is an answer

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to me birds are LOVE

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It was my experience on your site and im impressed with content quality.

Im gonna share your site with my friends

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Really superb sharing.

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what doe it mean when a piegon comes and landed on the balcony and speaks to me andi amtalking back to him or her, then a second pieogn fly in the the second pieogn flys nextdoor, then the first one goes and laded on the rail and looks at me, and i am speaking to him or her. Then he or she tals to the 2nd one than they both fly away. The first one was black and gray with pink on the front of his neck, the other one black gray and white.

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  • Wild Animals

The Potoo or Ghost Bird: Characteristics, Habitat and Unique Song

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Home » Birds

Great Potoo (The Ghost Bird) – All We Know About This Bird

Great Potoo is also known as Ghost Bird

More commonly known as ghost birds, the eerie call of these birds can sound like a person moaning.

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The Great Potoo ( Nyctibius grandis ), also known as the ghost bird, is a distinctive species found in Central and South America.

The species is known for its cryptic plumage, unusually large gaping mouth, and haunting calls.

They are primarily nocturnal birds and are often active during dusk and dawn, remaining camouflaged and stationary during the day on tree branches. These birds are shy so make your first introductions here!

On this page

Identification

Nesting and eggs, vocalizations, current situation, similar species, frequently asked questions.

Great Potoos have a unique appearance that aids in their camouflage. They have large heads with large, dark eyes with yellowish irises that enable them to see well in low light conditions. Their plumage is mottled with shades of gray, brown, and black, helping them blend seamlessly with tree bark.

They have a stout body which measures 18-23 inches long, a short neck, and a large mouth. Their bill is relatively short and broad, adapted for catching insects on the wing. In flight, their rounded, elliptical wings and long tails help maneuver and hunt.

Great Potoo

© Dominic Sherony

Unlike some bird species, where males and females might have different plumage colors or patterns, the Great Potoo lacks such distinctive sexual dimorphism.

Male and female Great Potoos appear identical , which makes it impossible to distinguish between the sexes based on physical traits alone.

Juvenile Great Potoos often have a slightly different appearance compared to adults. They tend to be fluffier due to their down feathers. Younglings also have paler plumage, shorter bills and tails, and a more petite build.

The Great Potoo’s diet consists primarily of nocturnal flying insects, such as moths, katydids, beetles, and other similar critters. Sometimes they even catch bats.

They hunt at night and use their ability to camouflage to their advantage. Great Potoos sit and wait on a lower and exposed branch, remaining motionless and inconspicuous thanks to their plumage.

When they spot prey, they take flight, capture it, and return to the same perch to consume it. They seem to use the same branch from night to night.

The time of the nesting season varies from location to location, but it generally coincides with the wet season. The Great Potoo nest is a deeper notch in a larger branch on a roosting tree and at least 33 feet above the ground.

These birds are monogamous breeders. The Great Potoo’s egg is 2 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, white with some dark spotting.

Great Potoo

© Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith

Females only lay one per clutch and it is unknown how long exactly the incubation period lasts. However, we do know that during that time, only one parent is present in the nest . After the eggs hatch, both parents hunt at night and bring back prey items to provide the young.

Great Potoo chicks fledge at around 55 days after hatching. About one month after hatching, the chicks begin venturing out of the nest to explore the nesting branch.

Around six weeks after hatching, adults don’t return to the nest anymore during the daytime. Instead, the parents only meet with their offspring after dark, likely to feed them and teach them to hunt.

The young potoos reach independence at around two months after hatching.

Great Potoos communicate through a range of vocalizations that are typically characterized by their eerie and haunting quality. They mostly communicate at night, presumably to announce their territories to others of their species.

The more common and haunting Great Potoo call is the eerie whoap . They can utter it both while perched and in flight, and it sounds like a person moaning.

A somewhat rarer call can be described as the croaking of a frog, a deep baaaao . They may also make clicking sounds.

Great Potoos range throughout the neotropical regions from southern Mexico through most of Central America to South America as far as Bolivia. They are solitary birds and prefer to inhabit forested habitats, such as rainforests, and dense lowland forests.

Great Potoo on a tree

© Bernard DUPONT

However, you can also meet them in grasslands, foothills, or even meadows as long as there are suitable trees nearby.

Although rather uncommon to encounter, these birds are listed as of least concern on the ICUN Red List . This is due to their wide range and high estimated number of mature individuals. Their only threat is deforestation which is why you are more likely to meet it in areas where the forest is untouched.

  • The Great Potoo’s camouflage ability also offers them protection from predators. When one is near, they freeze and angle their head upwards to resemble a branch even more.
  • In many South American cultures, the call of Great Potoo is believed to be a bad omen. If you hear it, it means a loss, separation, or even death is looming over you or your loved ones. It’s also considered bad luck if you mock them.
  • Potoos have a strange ability. Namely, they can see you with their eyes closed. The bottoms of their eyelids have narrow openings, so even when they’re sleeping, they can still detect movement.
  • There are 7 potoo species. The Great Potoo is the largest of them.

Great Potoos resemble quite many birds, including upright sitting nightjars , frogmouths, other potoo species, and even the legendary Dragon Bird . In fact, all potoos are so similar that even ornithologists find it difficult to distinguish them in the wild.

We decided to introduce three of them that can also be found in the same range as the Great Potoo, so you’ll know how to tell the difference.

Common Potoo

Common Potoo

The Common Potoo’s range extends further south, as far as Uruguay, but otherwise covers the same areas as the Great Potoo. They inhabit savannahs and open woodlands, avoiding arid regions and cooler mountainous regions.

Appearance-wise, the two look quite similar. Common Potoo’s plumage is as cryptic and camouflaging as the Great Potoo’s, but it also has some reddish-brown in it. The best way to tell them apart is by size and vocalizations. Common Potoos are much smaller than Great Potoos, only 13-15 inches long. They sing a haunting song that drops in pitch and volume. It almost sounds like a sad, eerie, and mocking laugh – HAA HAa haa haa .

Long-tailed Potoo

Long-tailed Potoo

© Nina Hale

The Long-tailed Potoo has a smaller range and is not found in Central America, only parts of South America. They inhabit lowland tropical evergreen forests.

Appearance-wise, it is easier to distinguish them from Great Potoos, even though they are about the same size. Long-tailed Potoos appear brown rather than gray overall. They have brown uppersides with dark brown streaks, pale patches on the wings, and cinnamon-brown undersides with darker streaking. Their vocalization is a soft waa-OO-uh that may sound similar to an owl’s hoot.

Northern Potoo

Northern Potoo

© Panegyrics of Granovetter

The Northern Potoo ranges throughout Central America and the Caribbean. It can be found in lowland woodlands and scrublands. It is a bit smaller than the Great Potoo, measuring 15-18 inches long.

However, the two may look quite similar. Their plumage is mostly mottled with gray and brown with some black, gray, and buff markings. Its call is a rough, rolling kwaaah, kwa-kwa-kwa .

How rare is a potoo bird?

Potoos are rather widespread and numerous. However, it can be difficult to spot one due to its camouflaging plumage.

Why are potoo mouths so big?

Potoos have big mouths to better catch flying insects.

Why are potoos scary?

Potoos look scary because of their evolutionary adaptations – they have wide gaping mouths to better catch flying insects and cryptic camouflaging plumage. Their calls are also notoriously haunting and eerie.

How long do potoo birds live?

Potoos live for 12-14 years on average, but this is only an assumption based on similar species. There is no recorded data on the subject.

Are potoos carnivores?

Potoos are carnivores, mainly insectivores. They hunt nocturnal flying insects, and the Great Potoo sometimes even goes for bats.

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What is a ghost bird?

Answered by Willie Powers

The Ghost Bird, also known as the Great Potoo, is a fascinating nocturnal bird that bears a striking resemblance to an owl. However, it is important to note that the Great Potoo does not belong to the same family as owls. This unique bird can be found in various parts of South America, with Colombia being a particularly common habitat.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Ghost Bird is its feeding habits. It primarily sustains itself by consuming large insects and small vertebrates. This diet sets it apart from many other birds, as it has adapted to specialize in hunting and capturing these specific prey items. This specialization allows the Ghost Bird to thrive in its environment, as it has developed the necessary skills and physical adaptations to effectively hunt and capture its preferred food sources.

The Great Potoo’s appearance is another aspect that makes it a truly captivating creature. With its large, round eyes and cryptic plumage, it possesses an air of mystery and elegance. Although often mistaken for an owl due to its similar facial structure and nocturnal habits, the Ghost Bird has distinct physical characteristics that differentiate it from owls. Its body is relatively compact, and it lacks the characteristic ear tufts that are commonly associated with owls.

While the Ghost Bird is primarily active during the night, it is not uncommon to spot it during the day as well. During daylight hours, it can often be found perched motionless on tree branches, camouflaging itself with its intricate plumage. This behavior serves as a defense mechanism, allowing the bird to blend seamlessly into its surroundings and avoid detection from potential predators.

Personal experiences with the Ghost Bird have provided me with a deeper appreciation for its unique characteristics. I vividly remember an encounter with a Great Potoo during a trip to Colombia. As night fell and darkness enveloped the forest, the eerie calls of the Ghost Bird echoed through the trees. It was a spine-chilling experience to witness this bird in its natural habitat, perfectly adapted to its nocturnal lifestyle.

The Ghost Bird, or Great Potoo, is a captivating creature that captivates with its owl-like appearance and nocturnal habits. Its specialized diet and physical adaptations make it a remarkable species. Found primarily in South America, particularly in Colombia, the Ghost Bird’s unique characteristics and behaviors make it a truly fascinating bird to observe and study.

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The Ghost Birds

By Karen Russell

People climbing up a shadowed staircase into a purple sky next to white birds that have lost two feathers

Audio: Karen Russell reads.

I led the way through the woods because I didn’t want my daughter to have her first encounter with the ghost flock alone. We were trespassing, but it seemed highly unlikely we’d be caught—the school had been abandoned since the previous century, when ash from the Great Western Fires made most of the region unlivable. My daughter had never set foot inside an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar school, and seemed more intrigued by the idea of seeing a chalkboard than by the birds. The school was on the outskirts of a Red Zone in our family’s ancestral breeding grounds—“Oregon” on the older maps, the ones from my boyhood. An evocative name, a name I loved and mispronounced with reverence at age eleven. I grew up in a town called Eugene, in the shadow of mountains that were unreachable by my third birthday. Ore-gone.

We were going in heavy, geared up. The blood kept jamming in my head. My daughter, Starling, looked so small in my viewfinder, struggling under the weight of her spectrograph. She is turning fourteen in November, and she has never seen a bird offscreen. Two milestones for me that dusk: my first visit to the world’s largest known roost of Vaux’s swifts, and my first trip with my daughter post-divorce.

As we pushed on toward the chimney, I wished that I had invited Orrine. I hadn’t wanted my new girlfriend to intrude on my time with Starling, but now that our trip was under way I regretted the decision. I could have used the extra set of muscles. Another paranormal birder’s expertise. Orrine has the most extraordinary eyes, the burst purple of a calliope hummingbird’s throat feathers. We’ve been dating for three months now, if you define dating as sleeping under bridges hoping to glimpse a colony of ghost swallows; I do, and, fortunately for me, so does Orrine.

Karen Russell on ecological crisis.

The school’s eighty-foot brick chimney was the tallest man-made structure for miles. It would be difficult to escape if the Surveillers took an interest. Orrine was shot in the former Okefenokee Swamp, while searching for traces of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Another birder in our network, Suzy, had been held for ransom after being caught by Surveillers in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve while mapping the migration of the resplendent quetzal, a bird that’s lineage dates back forty-nine million years and that has been extinct for the past twenty. Popple lost his pinky to a Surveiller’s laser while taking speed photographs of the ghost of a cedar waxwing.

The Surveillers aren’t much for small talk. They won’t hesitate to put a trespasser in a bag. Orrine was lucky that day in the swamp—she clung to a branch on one of the few living cypress trees, pulling herself up into its saving arms. The A.Q.I. was such a nightmare that the Surveillers left her behind.

Once the sky became deeded property, Surveillers started patrolling the hazy air above the lonely scrublands and evaporated lakes. Their employers are paranoid in proportion to the suffering that surrounds them; they seem to feel that anyone who casts a shadow in a Red Zone is an “ecoterrorist.” We joke that they must want to keep the escape routes to the moon clear. “You’d think they’d look the other way,” Popple huffed to me during our spring count. “What’s it to them if a pair of paunchy loners are out here collecting songs? It’s nothing they can profit from.”

My daughter mercifully missed the land grabs and the water wars fought above the rasping aquifers. The sky is what has been colonized in her lifetime—a private highway system branching out of Earth’s shallows into outer space, its imaginary lines conjured into legal reality and policed with blood-red force. A single human being now claims to own all the sky that lifts from the Andes to Mars.

I’d had a recent run-in with a Surveiller myself. I had not mentioned this to Yesenia, my daughter’s mother. She is a worrier by nature, and I did not want to kindle that fire. I did not want to be consumed by it, either. My pilot friend, Stu, a cheerful alcoholic with a Humming Jet license, had flown me to the Red Zone south of Mt. Hood, where I’d spent three weeks camping out and listening to the fuzzy music of a dead vesper sparrow. I escaped the Surveiller in the conventional way, via a blood bribe. Cash is not a resource I have much of, but my blood type is rare and beautifully oxygenated.

To be a kid requires difficult detective work. You have to piece together the entire universe from scratch. I tried to remember this when Starling turned three and her questions evolved from “Who that!?” and “When snack?” to that developmental rocket booster “Why?” No adult is ever more than three “why”s away from the abyss.

Children wake up to the knowledge that they have missed almost everything—millennia of life on Earth, and the blank blooming that preceded us. All children are haunted, I’m sure, by the irretrievably lost worlds behind them. My generation felt this vertigo keenly. By the time I was born, half the world’s ten thousand species of birds had gone extinct.

I was the kid who loved baseball cards and antique globes. Vintage newspapers and paperback novels, the arterial reds and blues of old surveyors’ maps. At Don’s Pawn, I bought a partial encyclopedia set that on my shelf looked like a boxer’s toothless grin—I left hopeful spaces for the missing volumes. My father called my bedroom “Jasper’s library of rags.” Well, I was ten. I could not explain why it was thrilling to spelunk backward through time. I became aware of the past as a vast and mostly unmapped space, still shimmering with the inlaid mineral of the unknown possible. The cooled magma of a finalized reality. When I became a teen-ager, real lava was flowing in our streets. Phreatic eruptions had become commonplace, along with food shortages, tsunamis, hurricanes, and wildfires. History was my sanctuary throughout the whirling and burning of the twenty-forties and fifties.

By the time I discovered the Paranormal Birding Society, extinct bird species outnumbered living ones. I should have been collecting feathers in 2040, not Orioles baseball cards and rotary telephones. I never suspected that every bird would disappear in my lifetime. Wavelengths of color and song. Ice pigeons. Yellow-eyed penguins. Great blue herons. Purple gallinules. Red-throated sunbirds. Somali ostriches. Rock doves. Day-old chicks, accumulating damage with each smoky breath. There was a last nestling of every species. On the nightly news, and outside our sealed windows, we watched birds dying from the smoke waves and the fast-moving plagues, from habitat destruction and hunger, from triple-digit temperatures and neurotoxic metals powdering the air. When I was Starling’s age, I did not understand, somehow—even as I lifted the greening copper of a twentieth-century telephone to my ear—that our time would end as well.

The fires spread to every continent. The air turned a peppery orange, making each unfiltered breath a harrowing event. A straightforward solution, for any winged creature, would seem obvious: climb higher.

But many birds that headed for the cleaner, thinner air responded to extreme hypoxia just as their human counterparts did when moving from sea level to the Rockies and the Himalayas. Millions died from clotting blood. They fell from the skies in trickles, then torrents. The variegated laughing thrush. The blue-fronted redstart. Obituary writers for Nature could not keep up. Human beings, with our infernal ingenuity, adapted. We found ways to survive the death sentence we’d delivered to our gasping cohabitants of this planet.

Nobody I know is travelling to the future anymore. Not Earth’s future. Some diehard optimists enlist as sailors on the trillionaires’ intergalactic fleets. My sister Dolores signed her twins up for eight-year terms as indentured servants on the floating starships. Of course, they call it something else, you know: “Emi and Luna are joining the Star Guild!” Air has become damn expensive in the past decade. I hug my daughter tighter to me, flooding her respirator. I want Starling to stay on Earth with me. I worry that she is losing her dreaming eye—the conjuring eye that is hers alone, the one that can see beyond appearances, into the ultraviolet.

It meant a lot to me that Starling had agreed to come on this trip. Now that she’s a teen-ager, it’s hard to get her unhooked from her Hololite, and even harder to get her to take an interest in nature. We’ve had a version of the same argument for years now:

“Dad. I’m fine with a world without birds. Anyhow, if I want to see one, I just ask the Hololite to show me a flame-go, or whatever I’m into.”

“A flamingo.”

“Exactly. Show me a flame-go, I say, and then one appears with its weird pink candy-cane neck in our living room. And you can program it to fly, or have sex with another flame-go, or eat shrimp cocktail, or whatever you want to see.”

I swallowed. “It is not the same. These are real birds that have gone on swimming and singing beyond extinction. They are independent spirits.”

Two weeks before our trip, I’d learned on the Ghost Bird Alert Network that the tiny, intrepid ghosts of Vaux’s swifts appeared to be following their old migration route down the Pacific Flyway, using the decommissioned chimneys of churches, military bases, and mental asylums as truck stops on the sky-road to Venezuela. In late August, Wanda had counted five thousand ghosts rippling like a single wing and dropping into the chimney of Old Northern State Hospital. Thermal readings suggested that eleven thousand spirits would soon be haunting the chimney of Chapman Elementary School, their numbers peaking in mid-September and declining until the last stragglers left in early October.

I told Yesenia that we’d be visiting my mother in La Grande; I told Starling to get familiar with her early birthday presents, an E.M.F. detector and a pair of Nighthawk binoculars.

“Oh my God, Mom is going to give you so much shit if she finds out. What if Mom keeps calling Grandma and we’re not there? What if Grandma breaks?”

“Oh, she’ll make it to Tuesday, at least. Your Grandma is an excellent liar.”

Cats think human's garden is his litter box.

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Yesenia refuses to let me take Starling on my bird-watching excursions. She barely lets me take her out on our balcony in full protective gear. When we first fell in love, Yesenia saw ghosts of golden-winged warblers and tundra swans, but gradually it seemed as though the power left her. Sometimes I wondered if Yesenia was afraid to see the ghost birds, and had passed that fear down to our daughter. Certainly she resented the time I spent away from home, waiting for the birds to materialize.

Here is the beautiful thing, the maddening thing, about paranormal bird-watching: you can make your eye available to them, but they have to choose that sky.

People assume that to haunt means to stay rooted to one coördinate, like a star in heaven, or a murdered gangster pacing around his last Chicago hotel room. But, if there is one myth the ghost birds have exposed, it’s that death means stasis. The flocks we track continue to cross oceans and continents, and the Paranormal Birding Society has been collecting fresh data on their distribution patterns, undead coloration, and evolving calls and songs.

The Paranormal Birding Society sounds awfully official for what amounts to a rumor mill of several hundred people in four hemispheres. We are working to recruit new members. It’s a challenge to convince people that the study of ghosts is worthwhile. Why collect data on the dead? A haunting is an opportunity, as Orrine likes to say. Who could watch a murmuration of ghost starlings iridesce across the city skyline without wanting to know where the birds are going, and why? We have so much more to learn from them. How to pierce the smoke wall of our dulled senses and lift into the unknown. How to navigate the world to come.

The very first paranormal bird-watchers rarely understood what they were seeing and hearing, naïvely believing they’d spotted the last surviving snowy owl in a car-wash rainbow, or heard the call of a living whip-poor-will. In the years following the Great Death, grief-mad humans reported sightings of extinct birds on every continent. A bar-headed goose was allegedly seen by a spaceship captain eighty kilometres above the Indian Ocean.

Gradually, as people accepted that the birds were gone for good, the Paranormal Birding Society took flight. But so many questions remain. The most profound of these is the one a child would ask: Why are the ghosts still here with us?

If you want to find birds in 2081, you need to befriend the mechanical ones. Humming Jets are the slender, solar-powered daughters of the helicopters I grew up with. Stu took us over the Cascades. He can turn all the water in his body into red wine and still fly straight—it’s his Bible magic.

“Nobody lives down there anymore, right, Dad?” Starling asked reluctantly, when we were about an hour away from the collapsed bridges that bracket the still-burning fires around the ruins of what was once Portland. I wondered what she was seeing with her inner eye. I’m sure they show the kids holo-reels of the Great Western Fires, no doubt heavily edited.

“Nobody is alive in that city,” I confirmed.

She nodded, doing her best impression of the blank mountains below us. Maybe she’d decided to feel her grief and horror when she returned home. Starling, like me, is a master procrastinator. I can put off feeling things for years at a time. She looks like me, too, with that face like a blasting cap. When we do erupt, watch out. Yesenia told me as I was packing my things that she’d had an epiphany: “I used to think that you were crazy about me, Jasper. But now I understand that I made a grammatical error. I am not the object here. When I delete myself from the sentence, guess what? You’re just crazy.”

When Yesenia suggested that I look for a new place to sleep, I felt an avian calm come over me. I used old coördinates to navigate through the blinding storm.

“Do you remember,” I asked her, “when I opened the bedroom window in our first apartment, in subzero temperatures, to let in the ghost of a female nightingale?” It was one of our touchstone memories. Her gasp of joy had been as beautiful as the night song.

“I was always pretending,” she said. “But you make it so we have to pretend. You’re like a little boy that way, Jasper. I’d rather smash my own thumb with a hammer than see the face you make when I tell you I don’t see the ghost birds in the eaves of the St. Francis cathedral.” I’d never heard a sadder laugh in my life. “Not one dead pigeon, Jasper.”

On one of our last nights together, Yesenia and I had it out; she refused to let me take Starling to hear the ghost of a hermit thrush which had been singing late into the evening in the sunken multiplex.

“She is happier than you and I will ever be in this world we made, and you resent her for it! Jasper, what kind of father wants to turn his daughter’s body into a haunted house?”

“Your bird-watching crew is totally unhinged,” Starling once told me approvingly.

Her mother said a version of the same thing in a different key.

Two weeks after the Surveillers released Suzy, she killed herself. All the hundreds of readings she’d taken, and risked her life to smuggle home from the cloud forest, had come back bone-white. Nobody knew if there had been a problem with the exposure or if the Trogonidae family of birds was leaving us for a second time.

One song had survived—Suzy’s recording of a violaceous trogon. Twelve down-slurred notes, repeated with a plaintive intensity. An ancient song forged in Eocene sunlight.

I played the ghost-audio recording for Starling and her mom. Both listened patiently for the first twenty-two minutes, and then Yesenia stood up and pantomimed a scream.

“Jasper,” she said. We would be separated in three months, although I did not know it at the time. “To me, this sounds like a horny Chihuahua.”

“I like it,” Starling said from the sofa. She tends to side with whichever of her parents seems the most downtrodden on that particular day. Even knowing this, I felt my heart lift.

“I knew you would, honey,” I said, beaming at her.

“What did you like about it?” her mother said. “To me it sounded like, cow-cow-cow .”

Starling looked from Yesenia to me, and I was struck once more by the mature sadness in her dark, enormous eyes.

“I like watching Dad’s face while he listens.”

To be safe, I’d had Stu take us in three hours before sunset. We had seen the domed compounds of some of the wealthiest people alive, glinting on the bald slopes of the eastern Cascades, spaced with desolate evenness above the scalded valley. “They covered these mountains in bubble wrap,” Stu said, an analogy that was lost on my daughter. A new fire was burning in the Great Scar, formerly Southwest Portland. Wind turbines turned below us like huge flaming dandelions. None of this surprised my daughter. What raised her from her stupor was a flash of green. “Are those real trees, Dad?” More mysterious than the choking dust storms and orange skies, harder to comprehend than the Great Scar or the Red Zones, these pockets of inexplicable green health baffle us all. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,” Stu said, hovering over a small hilltop clearing half a mile from the school and tossing out the rope ladder.

After Stu flew off, we made camp, “we” being a touch generous; Starling kept jumping from rock to rock, staring into the canopy of leaves. The plan was that we’d spend the night here and get picked up by Stu at dawn. I felt almost giddy—we were far from the sweep of her mother’s monitoring eye and the blue sinkhole of the Hololite. The toppled firs and pines had made a path for us—a raised walkway through the undergrowth. I watched with a rush of pride as Starling stretched out her arms to balance on the wild red trapeze of a quake-felled ponderosa.

When the carbon sinks of the world’s forests began to burn—exhaling centuries’ worth of carbon, in a protracted death rattle that continues to this day—millions of birds were dispossessed. Now the ghosts return to nest in their old homes. With the right equipment, you can sometimes hear them, even in the domed cities. Often a ghost sings for months and never materializes, and a paranormal birder must make the identification from sound alone. This is a skill that I hope to teach Starling. Not just the waiting and the listening but the openness to revelation. Which is another way of saying, to being wrong about what is possible and true.

We began our descent down the low hill toward the pale-brick ruins of Chapman Elementary. The front entrance appeared to have caved in a long time ago, the once white columns leaning like green dominoes, but I was reasonably confident that we could get in through the gymnasium. The building was constructed in the Classical Revival style, I told my daughter, America’s loose interpretation of Europe’s severe ideals. I pointed out the broken pediment over the entry door, the double-hung rectangular windows through which we could see shining leaves in the second-story classrooms.

“Geez,” Starling said. “Who went to school here? Future senators? Fern-eating dinosaurs?”

Chapman Elementary had not been destroyed, and this had everything to do with humans’ love of Vaux’s swifts. Birds were the reason the chimney still grazed the clouds, a factory-style smokestack with a Dickensian vibe, far better preserved than the ruins of downtown Portland. Thick silver cables made a triangle around the smokestack—the seismic-stabilization system that had saved the school when Quake 7 flattened the city.

“Why do these ghosts like chimneys?” Starling asked me, and I explained that the swifts had been forced into the arrangement by humans, who clear-cut the woods and encroached on their homes. When the birds were unable to locate old-growth snags, they adapted to a stone forest of millworks and smokestacks. Later, small bands of humans worked to protect the “chimney corridor.” Layering their feathery bodies over one another, the swifts huddled together on cold nights, revived at daybreak by the sun-warmed bricks.

“You turn that boiler on, and you’re going to kill fifteen thousand swifts,” a biologist from Portland Audubon told the Chapman Elementary schoolchildren. So they voted to retire their furnace, piling on parkas and shivering at their desks until the last birds left. The children changed their plumage to save the swifts.

Starling yawned at me, theatrically unmoved by this fable. Before leaving on our trip, we had sat on Starling’s bed and watched footage of the swifts from the early two-thousands. A gift from Portland Audubon, transferred to holo-reel by someone’s great-granddaughter. In the clip, thousands of Oregonians gathered on this hillside to tailgate the Vaux’s swifts’ descent. Everyone gasped and applauded when the flock first appeared on the purple horizon line, materializing in twos and threes, then tens of hundreds, around the slender brick tree of the chimney. We heard people shouting encouragement to the balletic, evasive swifts, while others cheered on the hungry raptors that chased them—a whirlwind that was part Tom and Jerry, part sky horror.

An hour before sunset, in the late-September light, the tiny swifts began to congregate, diffuse as autumn leaves and seemingly directionless; at some inscrutable signal, they sped into a dark-blue cyclone and began to drop in an orderly frenzy into the open chimney. Even on the grainy holo-reel, it was clear that we were witnessing a miracle of coördination. The Vaux’s swifts turned from leaves to muscle. From fog to rope. A lasso formed in the sky, made of ten thousand rotating bodies. By the time the moon had risen, the final swifts had been inhaled into the chimney.

“How do they decide who goes in first?” my daughter asked. “And last?” Vaux’s swifts were mysterious aerialists of the Western woods; they had died out before researchers could answer that question. Perhaps she would be the one to make the discovery, I’d said, maybe a little too eagerly. Starling had rolled her eyes. “I have enough homework, Dad.”

We reached the school with a golden hour to spare. Our silence changed color a dozen times. Arrival. Elation. Anticipation. Nervousness. Itchiness. Impatience. Dismay. The red sun that would have cued the living swifts to descend made nothing happen. The ghosts failed to materialize. The evening blue was fringed with a deep maroon, and we stared at the trees inside the school windows. Nothing called to us from the surrounding foliage or the jungle of rust. Nothing came here to roost.

Stars were beginning to appear in the sky, blessedly smokeless tonight. On such evenings it’s hard for me to stay suited up with my mouth glued to my respirator, even though my gauge assured me that toxins were hiding in this air.

“What if we missed it, Dad? What if they funnelled in while we were standing here and never showed themselves to us?”

It was possible, of course. Backlit ghosts don’t show up in my scope, and the sunset had seemed to follow me and my spectrograph to every new angle. Could eleven thousand ghosts hide from us? What a silly question. How many billions are hiding from us now?

“You might be right, Starling. Do you want to have a look?”

I hadn’t set foot in a school in three decades, and the child in me shuddered. It took us a long time to reach the hollow shell of the gymnasium at the base of the hill. There was a stretch of exposed blacktop with faint yellow markings which might have been an ancient basketball court; this was where we’d be apprehended, I thought, if there were indeed Surveillers. Starling followed me, zipped into her white Tyvek suit with the dull-red face shield that made her look like an astronaut on our own planet; whatever she might be thinking about, it was not the fresh-pencil-shavings smell of September, bound books and bullies and locker codes.

Starling started ninth grade last month. She exists for her teachers as a lollipop-headed projection in the make-believe agora of the virtual high school, a flickery publicly funded arts magnet. Only the wealthiest kids can afford private in-home tutors; my daughter and her moody, multiply pierced friends recite Neruda sonnets into their EduHelmet microphones. Snow days have been replaced by electrical storms at the server farms. Starling’s log-in seems to fail every other week, to her great relief.

“Did you like school?” Starling asked me. I was scanning the windows, wondering what might cause the plants to sway on a windless indoor night. It was a subtle, unmistakable movement.

“I can’t say I did. I was more of an autodidact. I made my teachers nuts.”

My daughter smiled inside her mask.

“That doesn’t surprise me.”

Sometimes I think I should have left Yesenia years earlier. Sometimes I know I should have fought harder to stay. No scenario seems fair to Starling. Even though the verdict is in and the papers are signed, I still run with the hypothesis that we could patch things up. I love being a full-time dad to Starling. Loved, past tense—that can’t be right.

Starling claims not to mind “splitting time.” It sounds so violent. I picture her in safety goggles, bringing the axe down on a block of hours. She says she wants us all to be happy. Happiness for all three of us? None of my experiments has yielded any insight as to how this might be accomplished.

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The rubble was daunting. We had to crawl on our hands and knees around the broken columns, and it was my daughter who found the hole in the eastern wall that we half-wormed, half-sledded through to get inside, to the ground floor, rousing decades of dust; just when I decided that we ought to turn back, the ceiling abruptly soared away from our heads. “Wow. It feels like someone took the lid off a box,” Starling said. We stood and spun our headlamps through what must have been the school auditorium—I had the exciting, upsetting sensation that we were being swallowed by the school, transported from the building’s throat into its belly via a kind of architectural peristalsis. Above us, the hallways crimped and straightened. I had always intended to call off our expedition at the first sign of danger, but in the putty-gray lighting of our headlamps nothing felt quite real, and it became harder and harder to imagine crawling backward in defeat when the swifts might be glowing just around the next bend in the elementary-school labyrinth. It took effort to imagine that generations of children’s laughter once echoed here. Or birds’ chirping, for that matter.

“Do you want to keep going, Starling?” I asked, and she grunted yes, or possibly the school itself did. The pipes seemed to be running, somehow. Or to be alive with a watery echo. The light was almost nonexistent, and I helped Starling to switch her headlamp to night vision.

“Starling?” I called into the spandrel under the school stairwell where she’d been standing only a heartbeat earlier. “Stay where I can see you. . . .”

Starling decided not to listen. Even as a small girl she had a maddening talent for tuning us out. She’d stare into the sky-blue glow of her Hololite with the lidless focus of a fighter pilot and ignore a hundred repetitions of her name. “Why can’t you be a good listener?” her mother would warble. Once, around age seven, she’d turned our voices back on us: “When you say listen, what you really mean is obey.”

I hope that you’ll believe me, even if Starling’s mother one day tells the story of this night as if I were a criminal, using a verb like “kidnapped,” a noun like “danger.” I never imagined our trip could torque like this.

First, my headlamp went out. I still have no idea why—I’ve used it on half a dozen counts, and I’ve never had any issues. The pink perigee moon was visible through the windows, floating beside us like a loyal owl. But Starling was by this point a little freaked out. I could understand that, of course. She didn’t want to give me her headlamp, and so reluctantly I let her take the lead. “Look, Dad,” she called, fixing her low beam on two heavy doors. “Seems like something you’d be into.” The doors were bracketed by a beautiful W.P.A. marquetry mural, with two human figures cast as guardians of the portal. A young barefoot girl stood under the tree of life with a dove on one arm, and I swear she looked just like Starling. The wood grain turned an undersea green and mauve as she spun her light over the doors’ engraving: “Send Us Forth to Be Builders of a Better World.”

We reached a stairwell filled with four inches of gray ash; Starling autographed it with her sneaker toe. “Look up, honey,” I said, tipping her chin until the lantern beam reached the far wall. A replica of the chimney rose out of the shadows, and dozens of kiln-baked birds hugged puffy clouds. Of all the things to survive. Ash had buried half the staircase, but some fifth-grade classroom’s ancient mosaic still clung to the wall, sweetly misshapen swifts that retained the doughy imprint of their ten-year-old creators’ fingers.

Next we made our way through the silent museum of the gymnasium, the scoreboard still legible:

SWIFTS 36– LIONS 28

“An unlikely win for the swifts,” Starling mumbled. We paused to take a water break. Most of our supplies were back on the hilltop. I hadn’t imagined we’d spend so much time in the school; had I known, we could have spent the night here, and waited to see if the ghost swifts would leave the chimney at daybreak. Starling wanted to take her mask off—so did I, to be honest—but I thought of Yesenia’s horrified face and said no, better to be safe. We sat on the bleachers and drank through our straws; I started to tell her about the desalination glands that once extracted salt from albatrosses’ blood. “Don’t gulp,” I said, but of course she did not listen, and now her water was gone.

“Oh my God, Dad. You know the difference between a Buller’s albatross and a Salvin’s albatross but I bet you can’t name three of my friends.”

“Sure I can. Diego.”

“He was my best friend in kindergarten . He joined the Star Guild years ago.”

“Dead,” she said, with a gloomy satisfaction.

“O.K. I’m not playing this game.”

Starling stood up from the bleachers, wheeling on the court. “Well, I hope we can find at least one swift tonight. Do you know how bad it’s going to feel if we get stood up by eleven thousand ghosts?” She made a face.

“Oh, believe me,” I told her. “I know.”

Her goofy, real laugh was a gift to me. One of the rarest sounds in the galaxy.

We searched the ground floor for another hour. I’d expected an entrance to the boiler room, access to the chimney; instead I found a two-by-two panel in the wall beside the old janitor’s closet, which opened outward like an oven door, and fed into a terrifyingly narrow chute with a ninety-degree bend. The old dinosaur of a steam boiler waited after the bend. Were we going to cram ourselves inside the chute, like a letter through an old mail slot? I couldn’t settle on the best order of operations—if I went first, I might get stuck, leaving Starling alone. But if she went first worse might happen. Only now do I wonder that I did not consider a third option: leaving the building. I swore I could hear a chirping, dim and repeated. “Do you hear them, Starling?” She cocked her head, staring at me illegibly under the headlamp’s halo. “Maybe,” she said at last. “Maybe I do. Should I go in, Dad?”

“I’ll go. I might need you to pull me out if it gets any tighter—”

Decades of dried bird shit filled the chute. We scooped out guano with our gloved hands, watching it crack and plume apart; at last I was able to wedge myself in up to my waist and shove myself forward, holding my breath out of habit, as all humans instinctively do when entering an unknown element. Now I was grateful for the bulky Tyvek suit, which I ordinarily despise. Starling was right behind me. “Wait, honey,” I called uselessly. She grunted as she pulled herself through the chute, and then we each turned a slow circle in the closet-size room. Two hulking steam boilers, unused for almost a century or more, glowered at us. Ancient red-and-green pipes. But then we looked up. Rising for what felt like miles and miles above our heads was the chimney, like an eighty-foot telescope.

“Dad! Dad!” Starling reached both arms into the chimney and closed her fingers around the lowest rung of a rusted maintenance ladder. Our eyes flew up the tunnel together, a heavy dark where no ghosts roosted, hemmed in by blank brick, out the top of which we could see the deep-black sky and the rippling light of stars.

I smiled tightly, trying to conceal my disappointment, because what I saw was only what anyone would expect to see in a decaying chimney: exposed rebar, calcium-eaten brick. Not a single feather in sight. Nothing opaque or glowing, dead or living. The outrageously thick paste of excrement was the only proof that Vaux’s swifts had ever roosted here. The chirping had ceased as abruptly as it had begun. No bodies, no spirits.

“O.K., Dad,” Starling was saying behind me. “I’m feeling a little claustro. Sorry we didn’t find any ghosts. I’m ready to go back now.”

I gave the ladder an inquisitive shake. I thought I might climb a little way up, to investigate—sometimes a ghost bird is camouflaged in dense shadow, waiting for living eyes to strike it like a match head and send it leaping into view.

“Dad?” my daughter called from the shadows. “Can you help me? The chute won’t open.”

Panic had already infiltrated her voice by the time I reached her.

“Let me try, honey,” I said, and together we failed for a quarter of an hour. The chute that led back into the wider hallway wouldn’t budge. I made a bad mistake then, hurling my full weight against it like a linebacker, hoping I might force it inward and instead sealing it completely.

“Is something holding the door shut?” Starling cried. “Are the ghost swifts blocking it?”

And I told her no, the ghost birds were not responsible. It was her father who was the warm-blooded dummy to blame.

“So we can’t get out?” She was breathing too rapidly through her respirator, although I did not mention this, because I was matching her breath for breath.

“For the moment. Only for the moment,” I said, a lie that did nothing to slow my own heart.

We were trapped in an oven. My headlamp battery was well and truly dead. Starling’s had begun to flicker. We were out of water. We could survive a few nights of dirty air, but water was going to be a problem.

Mrs. Adwoa had assigned “The Cask of Amontillado” to Starling’s freshman English class. Starling was writing a pretty terrible paper on it, the thesis statement of which seemed to be that friends should not let friends brick up one another while drunk. I’d made the mistake of sharing some reservations with her after reading a draft. I’d offered my help several times. Then Starling, for some reason, had started crying, and Yesenia had accused me of “crushing her spirit.”

I worried now that Starling was thinking about the terrifying scene in Poe: the live burial behind the wall. “Baby,” I promised her, “we’re not going to die in a chimney.”

Perhaps this was the wrong choice of words. I’d meant to reassure her, but as often happens with Starling and her mother I seemed to accomplish the opposite.

“Goddammit, honey. Please don’t cry.”

“Fuck you, Dad,” she screamed, swinging her headlamp around like a bull in a pen. She was moving away from me, her voice pawing the walls. “Fuck you. Fuck you. I want to go home now.”

I reached out and spun her around to face me; she was trying to squeeze between the boilers, looking for some secret exit concealed behind the pipes.

“Dad? Why did we risk our lives to see a bunch of dead birds?”

I struggled to formulate a true answer that would not push her farther away from me. I couldn’t tell her: You are growing up numb to the universe, numb even to your numbness. You don’t know the difference between a screen and a portal. Your eyes cannot distinguish between a digital hallucination and a real ghost. A critical window is closing, Starling. I am trying to hold it open for you, so that you can enter the night.

Instead, I put the question back to her: “Why did you come tonight? Why did you board the Humming Jet with me?”

Her shoulders shook so rhythmically that at first I thought she had a bad case of the hiccups. A moment later, she was still. Distantly it occurred to me that I was very proud of my daughter for budgeting her air. A crying jag was a conflagration we could not afford.

“I came because you asked me to come. I came because I’m sick of you leaving us.” She did a funny thing then—she pushed her face shield right against mine. We were as close as the bumper cars of two hooded faces can come.

“Because I don’t want you to be crazy, Dad. I’d rather be wrong. But I don’t see them—” Her voice snagged on some inner hook. “I can’t see what you see.”

Her eyes regarded me opaquely behind the red screen. I embraced Starling, but I came no closer to guessing what was in her heart. While we were holding each other, aware of each breath depleting our tanks, I wished, if I’m honest, for the Surveillers to come. I would have given them a gallon of blood, whatever they wanted, to fly us out of this dungeon.

“Can you radio Stu? Can you call for help now, please?”

Stu and I do things the old-fashioned way—we pick a meeting time and place. I’ve never wanted to risk any devices; I don’t want to be tracked by satellite. The plan was that he’d return at first light to pick us up from our hilltop campsite. But I had no way to contact him, I admitted. Starling stared at me, her eyes ruby-tinted.

“Great. Well, I guess your swifts can always fly him a message, maybe do a little glow-in-the-dark skywriting. ‘S.O.S. Dumbasses Trapped in School.’ ”

Two men in suits talking to each other.

Starling’s laughter had a hysterical edge that scared me more than what she was saying.

There is no Plan B, I did not tell my daughter. No backup to the backup, nothing to save you but our rickety arrangement.

“Listen,” I said. “I need you to wait here. I am going to climb out and get us help.”

The pitiful gurgling I heard I first tried to assign to a bird. Brown-headed cowbird. Gunnison sage grouse. Pain came to inform me that these were my own calls. Blood-bubbled speech. Starling was on her knees beside me, trying to give me water.

I’m not sure what caused my fall. Starling said I’d climbed less than halfway up the ladder when I lost my footing. She watched my palms open and shut as I plummeted, grasping at the railing. She heard the bone break and screamed for me, she said, because I wasn’t moving or speaking. Another night had enveloped me, more vibrant than anything in the dark boiler room.

“Wake up,” I heard a voice calling down to me from the roof of the world.

Let me dream , I groaned inwardly, but she would not give up.

“Daddy! Dad! Jasper!” Jingling the key ring, trying all my names. “Don’t leave me alone!”

She began shaking me angrily. Her pitch rose and broke, and I remembered that this stern nurse was in fact my frightened daughter.

When I tried to stand, it felt like walking on stilts of bone. My left leg had become a torture device, built from my own flesh and wired to my screaming brain. Nothing had ever made less sense to me than the sight of the white knob jumping out of my thigh, blood hiccuping around it.

“Starling. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“Stop apologizing, please . It’s better when you’re screaming.”

Starling had abandoned all restraint, huge phlegmy sobs rocking her back on her heels. As frightening as any of this night’s evil surprises was the speed with which my worst fear became, in a heartbeat, our best and only hope.

“You’ll have to go alone,” I said. “I’m so sorry, Starling. I can’t move.”

Paddling in lakes. Seizing prey. Climbing trees. Digging holes. Bird’s feet are adapted to so many marvellous purposes. Vaux’s swifts are ideally adapted for life in the air—so lightweight they can’t perch like most songbirds, or even walk. Instead they hang down, down, down. I closed my eyes and saw the swifts getting sucked into the chimney. Faster and faster they spiralled inward. Spinning on a vortical current of their own creation and vanishing into a dark hole. Stop dying! I commanded my leg angrily, which was pumping out a shocking quantity of my lucrative blood onto the boiler-room floor. Stop dying and I swear I’ll do a better job at living.

“Dad? What should I do? Tell me what to do.”

I could not remember the last time Starling had solicited my advice on any subject. Ordinarily she saved her urgent queries for the Hololite.

“Go,” I said. “Climb out of here. Morning is coming. Stu will see you on the rooftop at dawn.”

Would he? No better plan suggested itself.

For what seemed like a very long time, Starling stood staring up the flue. Holding onto the “H” of the maintenance ladder. Waiting, deliberating. I confess that I saw how small she was against that epic climb and I did not think, My daughter is as bright and fleet and brave as a bird. Of course she’ll make it out. I thought something inarticulably sadder.

But then she looked back at me, and I struggled against the headwinds of the terrible pain, my killing fear, and tried to steer my thinking in another direction: I imagined the Humming Jet rising over the hilltop on a tide of sun, a silver bird coming to carry Starling home.

“You can make it, Starling,” I said.

She started to climb. The beam from her headlamp travelled away from me, pushing up the chimney. “Be careful,” I called after her stupidly.

Then came the lacerating light. It was as if someone had switched on the moon.

Two ghost swifts were lighting the passage out of Chapman Elementary School, back to the upper air. Feathers came dazzling down around them. I stared up the flue and watched as they illuminated the rungs for Starling, their bodies burning so much more brightly than the dimming bulb of her headlamp. When I looked again, the chimney was shaking apart. Bricks began to lift and dizzy around the cylindrical walls. Blue and gray in the moonlight, course after course of glowing bricks growing wings before my eyes. The bricks were swifts, I realized. More swifts began to awaken and rise from the rough masonry, as if a single bolt of shining cloth were unscrolling itself, a bunched and unbelievably long dark-blue scarf with thousands of knots, the tiny beaky faces of Vaux’s swifts pointing upward at the low enormous moon. So many sleek wings opened at the same instant. One brain coördinated it: the shared mind of the ghost flock.

Could Starling see them? Her face was invisible to me, but I saw her pause on the ladder. I watched my daughter watching the ghost birds. She was still forty feet below the open concrete cap, gripping the rails, her suit crosshatched in a wild ricochet of beating blue light. More incandescent swifts gusted up around her, chirping at an ultrasonic octave. She began to climb after them. Their light was guiding her out. A held breath of swifts exhaled skyward in a rush, and my daughter was among them, pulling herself onto the school’s roof. Stencilled against the stars, she knelt and waved down at me; and then even her shadow was gone.

The spectrograph and the electromagnetic field detector and the ghost-box recorder are still, as far as I know, sitting on a collapsed desk in a classroom in the ruins of Chapman Elementary. We’d abandoned them all, ballast that we could not carry into the chimney. So the only devices on hand to record the transformation were my squinting eyes.

A paler light spilled around the swifts’ cobalt wings as they exited the chimney, the same otherworldly sapphire hue you could once see shining through crampon holes in glaciers. A light that opened up not only my field of vision but my mind itself. The blackout I feared did not come. So much remains to be seen. ♦

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Chasing the ghost bird

Lucas DeGroote

LINKED PAPER Citizen science data reveals the cryptic migration of the Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus in Brazil . DeGroote, L.W., Hingst-Zaher, E., Moreira-Lima, L., Whitacre, J.V., Slyder, J.B., Wenzel, J.W. 2020. IBIS . DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12904 VIEW

what does ghost bird mean

I can think of few birds as charismatic as a Potoo. Their plumage, structure and posture allow them to masquerade as broken branches or stumps; a feat they sometimes attempt in the open, bold as brass on fenceposts and bottles (Cestari et al. 2018). Notches in their eyelids allow them to watch intruders with eyes closed or nearly so. When open, these eyes are large, bright yellow with pupils that are often asymmetrically dilated. Paired with their large mouth, Potoos are the posterchild of derpy bird memes. The mournful descending cry of the Common Potoo, Nyctibius griseus , is the subject of poetry and lore. Alexander Skutch (1970) described the Common Potoo’s voice as “the most melancholy utterance I had ever heard from bird or beast. Although plaintive, the Potoo’s soft, soprano notes were so beautifully modulated that they brought to mind a phrase from Shelley’s Adonais, ‘most musical of mourners’”. In folklore Potoos are similarly anthropomorphized as mourning the loss of a loved one. A child crying for their mother who abandoned them, a chieftain’s daughter mourning her suitor murdered by her father, or a wife crying for her husband who left and became the moon because she didn’t prepare enough pumpkin for dinner (Hernandez 2016, WikiAves 2020). These legends and others form the root of their name in Brazil where they are called Mãe-da-lua “Mother of the Moon” or by the Tupi of the Amazon as Urutau “ghost bird”. For all these reasons, Common Potoos are highly sought after by birders and photographers. Could we perhaps use data collected by this community to follow up on Belton’s (1984) observation that the “migratory status [is] not certain because most records [are] based on voice and it could be here undetected in winter if silent then”?

We used data from WikiAves and eBird to determine whether the Common Potoo migrates from the southern portion of its range (eBird 2020, WikiAves 2020). WikiAves is a citizen science dataset unique to Brazil and, like iNaturalist, is primarily comprised of photographic records verified by the WikiAves community (WikiAves 2020). We tallied observations into 1-degree latitude bins and plotted cumulative distribution curves for Potoos observed October to February (during the southern region’s austral Summer) and May to August (Winter) from the equator south. Think of it as if you were walking south, counting Potoos as you go and later plotting the cumulative ratio seen at each latitudinal benchmark. We tested if these cumulative distribution curves were different from one another using a non-parametric Kolmogorov–Smirnov (KS) test.

But how do we address Belton’s (1984) conundrum of silence vs absence? First, we conducted the same tests on daytime records only. Because Common Potoos primarily vocalize at night, we presume that most of the birds were found visually (though some could have been heard at night and later found during the day). Second, we conducted the same tests on two other nocturnal species, the Common Pauraque and Tropical Screech Owl.

what does ghost bird mean

Figure 1 Cumulative percentage of Common Potoos observed from the Equator to 36°S latitude from eBird (left column) and WikiAves (right column) data for all observations (top row) and daytime observations (bottom row) by season (Summer, black line and solid circles; Winter, dashed line and open circles).

We found that Common Potoos were distributed further north during the austral Winter than Summer for diurnal and all observations together. Neither Common Pauraques or Tropical Screech Owls shifted their range latitudinally between seasons. In addition, MaxEnt models demonstrated that Common Potoos departed the southern colder regions for locations with warmer and wetter winters, a partial migration that mirrors that of many long-distant migrant flycatchers (Chesser 2005).

what does ghost bird mean

Figure 2 Distribution of Common Potoos using data from WikiAves (A, B), eBird (C, D) and both datasets (E, F) during the austral Summer (October–February) and Winter (May–August).

Our study is the first to provide evidence of migration for any member of the family Nyctibiidae. Until now, the partial migration of the Common Potoo, charismatic as it is, has been masked by its diurnal camouflage and nocturnal foraging. Citizen science (i.e. community science) datasets including and beyond eBird, may offer a means to study the migratory status of South American birds without relying on patchy historical records or expensive, individualized tracking technology. Moreover, because these datasets are rapidly expanding, and the utility of these datasets grows with increasing observations, researchers may soon be able to model the status and trends of South American birds and habitat requirements of many varied South American migrants throughout their annual life cycle. Data from the community within South America, therefore, could lead us to a better understanding of austral migration and, eventually, the ecology and preservation of South American birds.

Belton, W. 1984. Birds of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Part 1. Rheidae through Furnariidae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 178: 369-636. VIEW

Cestari, C., Gonçalves, C.S. & Saxima, A. 2018. Use flexibility of perch types by the branch-camoulfaged Common Potoo ( Nyctibius griseus ): why this bird may occasionally dare to perch on artificial substrates. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130: 191-199. VIEW

eBird. 2020. An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. Ithaca, NY: eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. VIEW

Hernandez, L. 2016. Tell me the legend of the singing bird “Potoo”! VIEW

Skutch, A.F. 1970. Life history of the Common Potoo. Living Bird 9: 265-280. VIEW

WikiAves. 2020. WikiAves – A enciclopedia das aves do Brasil. VIEW

Image credit

Top right: Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus © Fernando Cipriani

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About the Author: Lucas DeGroote

Lucas DeGroote

Since 2012, DeGroote has overseen Carnegie Museum of Natural History ’s avian research programs including the operation of Powdermill’s Avian Research Center where he studies songbird migration, molt, avian disease, breeding phenology, and avian perception of glass. Luke DeGroote received his MSc. in Natural Resources and is a PhD student at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science in Dr. Emily Cohen’s lab studying the ecology of migrant landbirds. DeGroote aims to promote avian conservation through research, partnerships, and outreach.

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what does ghost bird mean

What Is A Ghost Bird?

Are you curious to know what is a ghost bird ? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about  a ghost bird  in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a ghost bird ?

In the realm of ornithology and birdwatching, the term “ghost bird” conjures images of enigmatic and elusive avian species that are rarely seen or encountered by even the most avid bird enthusiasts. These birds, often shrouded in mystery and folklore, have captured the imaginations of many. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to discover what ghost birds are, explore some of the most famous examples, and unveil the secrets that surround these elusive feathered creatures.

The term “ghost bird” is not a scientific classification but rather a colloquial expression used to describe avian species that are exceptionally difficult to spot or study in the wild due to their elusive nature, cryptic behavior, or remote habitats. Ghost birds are known for their remarkable ability to evade human observation, making them legendary figures among birdwatchers and researchers.

Key Characteristics Of Ghost Birds:

  • Elusive Behavior : Ghost birds are masters of concealment and often possess cryptic plumage or behavior that allows them to blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings.
  • Remote Habitats : Many ghost birds inhabit remote or inaccessible habitats, such as dense forests, remote islands, or high-altitude mountain ranges, making them challenging to observe.
  • Nocturnal Activity : Some ghost birds are primarily nocturnal, coming to life under the cover of darkness and making daytime sightings extremely rare.
  • Limited Geographic Range : Certain ghost bird species have a limited geographic range, which further restricts opportunities for observation.
  • Rare or Endangered : In some cases, ghost birds are so rare or endangered that only a handful of individuals exist, making encounters extremely rare.

Famous Examples Of Ghost Birds

  • Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis):  The night parrot is one of the most iconic ghost birds. This small, ground-dwelling parrot is native to Australia and is renowned for its secretive and nocturnal habits. It was once considered extinct but was rediscovered in 2013.
  • Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis):  The ivory-billed woodpecker is a large woodpecker native to the southeastern United States. It was thought to be extinct for decades until unconfirmed sightings in the early 2000s rekindled hope for its existence.
  • Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus):  The kakapo, also known as the night parrot of New Zealand, is a critically endangered flightless parrot. It is primarily nocturnal and known for its distinctive, owl-like appearance.
  • Javan Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi):  The Javan hawk-eagle is a raptor species endemic to the island of Java, Indonesia. Its elusive behavior and restricted range have earned it a reputation as a ghost bird among ornithologists.

The Significance Of Ghost Birds

Ghost birds hold a special place in the world of ornithology and birdwatching for several reasons:

  • Scientific Interest : The rarity and elusiveness of ghost birds make them intriguing subjects for scientific study. Researchers are eager to learn more about their behavior, habitat requirements, and conservation needs.
  • Conservation : Many ghost bird species are endangered or critically endangered, emphasizing the importance of protecting their habitats and populations.
  • Mystique : Ghost birds have a certain mystique and allure, drawing bird enthusiasts and adventurers to remote and challenging locations in pursuit of a sighting.
  • Cultural and Folkloric Significance : Some ghost birds have cultural or folkloric significance in the regions where they are found, adding to their allure and intrigue.

Ghost birds, with their elusive nature and remote habitats, continue to captivate the imaginations of birdwatchers, researchers, and nature enthusiasts around the world. These enigmatic avian species remind us of the vast diversity of life on our planet and the importance of conservation efforts to protect and preserve these elusive and mysterious creatures for future generations to admire and study.

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Is The Ghost Bird Real?

The Great Potoo or the Ghost Bird is a nocturnal bird that looks like an owl but does not belong to the same family.

What Type Of Bird Is Ghost Bird?

The Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis), also known as the ghost bird, is a distinctive species found in Central and South America. The species is known for its cryptic plumage, unusually large gaping mouth, and haunting calls.

How Big Is A Ghost Bird?

The largest potoo at nearly two feet long, the Great Potoo can also be recognized by its reverberating roar. Ranging throughout much of Central and northern South America, this potoo is so big that it’s been known to catch and eat bats and smaller birds, in addition to insects.

What Is The Scariest Bird Alive?

The southern cassowary is often called the world’s most dangerous bird. While shy and secretive in the forests of its native New Guinea and Northern Australia, it can be aggressive in captivity.

I Have Covered All The Following Queries And Topics In The Above Article

What Is A South American Ghost Bird

What Is A Ghost Bird Look Like

Ghost Bird Sound

What Is A Ghost Bird Spiritual Meaning

What Is A Ghost Bird Spiritual

What Is A Ghost Bird Called

Where Do Ghost Birds Live

Are Ghost Birds Dangerous

Ghost Bird Mythology

Potoo Ghost Bird

What Is A Ghost Bird

Why are they called Ghost Bird

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'Ghost Bird' aka Great Potoo's large eyes and haunting scream can give you goosebumps | VIDEO

The great potoo or the ghost bird is a nocturnal bird that looks like an owl but does not belong to the same family. it feasts on large insects and small vertebrates. they are said to be commonly found in south america, mostly in columbia..

India TV Trending Desk

'Ghost Bird' aka 'Great Potoo' scares woman 

At first, the woman thought that the camouflaged bird is a part of the fence in Chibolo, in the northern region of Magdalena. However, when she approached, it spooked her with its haunting scream. The video shared on the Viral Hog YouTube channel has been going viral since then. In the video, the ghost bird is seen seated still at first but then opens its large mouth to scream. 

Watch the video here-

Talking about the encounter, the woman said, "The first time I saw him I thought it was a stick, but he moved and I approached him. The bird opened its eyes and mouth and scared me a lot, but being so strange I decided to take pictures and record videos. When I got closer I raised my hand, and he opened his mouth in reply. I've been to that farm about five times, neighbors in the sector say they've heard it before, but whoever saw was more than 15 years ago."

Meanwhile, the Great Potoo is a nocturnal bird that looks like an owl but does not belong to the same family. It feasts on large insects and small vertebrates. They are said to be commonly found in South America, mostly in Columbia.

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“The Ghost Birds” a Short Story by Karen Russell

Whenever I read a short story, I read it with students in mind, with myself as a student in mind. I read Karen Russell’s “The Ghost Birds”* as a student who majored in dystopian fiction, is obsessed with the specter of apocalyptic climate change, and who has a penchant for stories that don’t quite end at the end.  

We are all lucky students of literature when we encounter a story like this. Karen Russell , author of Swamplandia! and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, is a storytelling genius with special powers of imagination. Still, there is something unexpected, wonderful, and yes, haunting, about “The Ghost Birds.”  

The story is told in the voice of a father who is excited to be bringing his daughter, Starling, on an excursion into the once beautiful wilds of a place formerly known as Oregon. He is a true believer, convinced that birds still flock and fly, albeit in their ghostly forms, even after they have officially gone extinct.  

The story begins in medias res . Father and daughter are trespassing on property once occupied by a school from the time before the Great Western Fires rendered the region uninhabitable. Starling has gamely geared up for some paranormal birdwatching with her father despite not knowing the first thing about life outside of the Red Zone, and for his part her father is intent on bringing her to see the ghost birds even if it means risking her life and defying the directive of his ex-wife who left him, I’m sure, for his obsession with tracking winged specters.  

In this world, the sky has been colonized, “a private highway system branching out of Earth’s shallows into outer space, its imaginary lines conjured into legal reality and policed with blood-red force.” A single person owns the sky from the Andes to Mars. Blood is currency, and to pay off corrupt officials, the narrator literally exchanges his “rare and beautifully oxygenated” vitality for his freedom.  

But “The Ghost Birds” is about much more than a dystopian world of echoes and memories–it is a story about the constant aspects of humanity regardless of their surroundings. Just as is the case today in our world, in her world Starling contends with a confounding reality that she doesn’t understand. “All children are haunted by the irretrievably lost worlds behind them,” says her father with love, regret, and wisdom nearly choking him.

Although it makes no good sense, in the end it does make some sense why the narrator of “The Ghost Birds” believes so fiercely in his ability to see ghost flocks of birds. He was “the kid who loved baseball cards and antique globes. Vintage newspapers and paperback novels, the arterial reds and blues of old surveyors’ maps.” He was born into the world that we still know, was raised as we were to aspire, adventure, and discover. In his lifetime, though, lava flowed through the streets, bringing with it food shortages, tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires. Birds went extinct. If this were to happen to us, wouldn’t we also feel compelled to search the wilds for birdsong?

A great short story can’t really be done justice in summary – it has to be experienced. “The Ghost Birds” will take you under an hour to read, I promise. It may not do for you what it did for me, but I believe you will not be able to keep yourself from scanning the sky for the assurance of winged creatures in flight telling you that, for now, everything is all right.  

*You can read this story in the October 4th issue of The New Yorker

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Jessica Flaxman

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Jessica Flaxman created bookclique in 2018 with English teaching colleagues, writerly friends, and former English students. An avid reader and supporter of literary arts, Jessica is delighted to see bookclique continue to grow in its fifth year under Laura Dickerman's gimlet editorial eye.

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Silhouette of a bird watcher with a telescopic camera lens and geese flying overhead.

What makes a good bird name?

what does ghost bird mean

Professor of Ethno-ornithology, University of Oxford

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Andrew Gosler has received funding from the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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I remember my first close encounter with birds. I must have been about three years old and had discovered a blackbird nest unusually accessible in our garden hedge. Still naked and blind, the chicks had not long hatched and I discovered that if I poked the nest, four little heads shot up – gapes open wide for feeding.

Discovering a natural jack-in-the-box was a delight and gave me hours of fun – so much so that I may have caused the parents’ desertion, since I found the chicks dead the next day. I take some small consolation from the likelihood that this encounter helped forge a lifetime of fascination and involvement with birds . It may also have contributed to my sense of responsibility to birds and other creatures.

Birds point us to the existence of another world which, unlike the human one, makes no demands of us but to enjoy it and see that it has a future. It is a world that existed before us, into which humans evolved and on which we all depend .

While not common to all cultures or languages, the distinction between the human and “natural” worlds is deeply embedded in the Anglophone psyche. The importance of birds as a bridge between these worlds is reflected in the names we give them. In the hope of opening that bridge to all, the American Ornithological Society recently announced it would replace all bird species named after people in North America.

The decision was spurred by a widely perceived need to distance ornithology from its history of colonial oppression. Several species names, including McCown’s Longspur , Townsend’s Solitaire and Audubon’s Warbler , evoke men who were involved in slavery and the oppression of the native people of North America.

So, how should these birds be renamed? The history of bird naming in the British Isles offers some solutions.

It takes a village to name a bird

Few common names of British birds are eponymous. Only two breeding species, Montague’s Harrier and Cetti’s Warbler , are named for notable people – the first is rare and the latter a recent colonist to the British Isles.

This indicates that the process of naming was a more organic, “bottom-up” and even democratic process than elsewhere in the British empire. We know of more than 7,000 folk names in English for about 150 species of British bird. Mostly recorded during the 19th century, these names indicate a widespread local naming of birds, such that names might not only be regional but specific to particular villages. For example, the grey heron has 180 recorded English folk names, and the wren 164.

A grey heron stood next to a stream.

Nevertheless, a strong national connection to a species, such as might be created by a reference in Shakespeare, could override local perceptions. Hence, the nightingale – a common presence in Shakespearean plays and poems – has only two recorded names including nightingale itself, which derives from its Saxon roots meaning “night singer” (from the German nachtigall ).

Bird names evoke strong emotional connections – potentially linking us not only with specific encounters with birds, but with the context and people who experienced them. These links can last a lifetime , and English folk names reveal the depth of knowledge of those who coined them.

For example, the name “English mockingbird” for the marsh warbler refers to the fact that its song consists almost entirely of the mimicry of other species . It indicates that whoever coined this name recognised that the bird was singing the songs of other, more familiar species – and the namer knew these songs.

The marsh warbler’s tendency to sing at night – referenced in another name, “fisherman’s nightingale” – may have focused the listener on its song in the stillness of a summer’s evening long ago.

Passed down with care

Many of the folk names given to other species were probably coined by or for children. A strong tendency to include a first name in such names as “ Katie wren ”, “ Fanny redtail ” and “ Bessy-brantail ”, suggests an effort to teach a child the common birds around them.

Names like “ scribble-lark ” and “ scribbling schoolmaster ” for bunting species, whose eggs appear to have been written on, suggests (as do many more such names) a fascination with nests and eggs.

Five white eggs with black ink-like markings.

The preoccupation with collecting eggs (birdnesting) among country children led to a minor rural economy that stocked the mahogany cabinets of Victorian drawing rooms. We know, however, that despite the plethora of local names, they were handed down from generation to generation with great precision.

As ornithologist G.G. Little noted in an 1878 article entitled Provincial Names of British Birds in The Zoologist magazine:

Has it struck any philologist that names of animals, particularly of birds, whose names are under the protection of the… birdnesting generation, are more likely to be handed down correctly than perhaps any other words…?

These names were largely collected by ornithologists like Little, who wanted to know what birds were present throughout the British Isles. But the superfluity of names posed a problem. Their solution was to select from among the diverse regional names those which they would agree to hold in common for ornithological discourse.

These became the “common” names, now regarded as the standard names. But they were agreed through consent with no intention, as evidenced through numerous bird books of the time, of these superseding or replacing the local names.

That they generally have done reflects not the imposition of names by committee, but the success of ornithology as a democratised volunteer activity in the UK – a process in keeping with the spirit of recent developments in North America.

However subtly, naming has always reflected a cultural context – and renaming can make a positive contribution. It can only be hoped that renaming birds after their own qualities will help to open the wonder and love of birds to all people.

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what does ghost bird mean

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Ghost Emoji Meaning

Emoji 101: 👻 Ghost Emoji Meaning (From Girl Or Guy In Texting, Snapchat, Or Tiktok)

Here’s what we’ll cover:

👻 ghost emoji meaning

How do you reply to 👻 ghost emoji, what does 👻 ghost emoji mean from a girl, what does 👻 ghost emoji mean from a guy or boy, what does 👻 ghost emoji mean on snapchat, what does 👻 ghost mean in texting or chat, what does 👻 ghost emoji mean on instagram, what does 👻 ghost emoji mean on tiktok, what does 👻 ghost emoji mean in slang, cultural differences in 👻 emoji interpretation, emoji etiquettes, possible combination, misinterpretations to avoid.

The 👻 ghost emoji means ghostly fun and mischief! As one of the spookiest and most recognizable emojis, this spectral symbol has a range of meanings that go way beyond Halloween.

1. Playful and lighthearted:

This emoji can represent a sense of playfulness or lightheartedness, like when you’re up to some harmless mischief with friends or playfully teasing someone.

  • “I’m thinking of surprising my friends by hiding behind a door and sending them a 👻 emoji to let them know a prank’s coming!”
  • “When my sister tries to scare me, I always send her a 👻 emoji to let her know I’m onto her tricks!”

2. Halloween and spooky themes:

Being closely associated with Halloween, the ghost emoji is often used to convey the festive spirit of the holiday or anything related to ghosts and the supernatural.

  • “I can’t wait for Halloween! Going to dress up as a ghost and use the 👻 emoji in all my texting to set the spooky mood!”
  • “Watching a scary movie tonight. Let’s get in the spirit and send each other spooky 👻 emojis!”

3. Symbolic of the afterlife or death:

On a deeper level, the ghost emoji can also be used to represent the concept of the afterlife or death. It can evoke feelings of nostalgia, remembrance, or the idea that there is more to existence than meets the eye.

  • “Just visited my grandparent’s grave. Feeling a bit melancholic, so I sent my siblings a 👻 emoji to express how much I miss them.”
  • “Reflecting on the mysteries of life after watching a thought-provoking documentary. Sharing my contemplation with friends using a 👻 emoji.”

To reply to the ghost emoji, you can say something like “Hey there, spooky friend!” or “Boo! What’s haunting you today?” or “Ah, the friendly ghost emoji! How can I help you?”.

  • “Hey there, spooky friend!”
  • “Boo! What’s haunting you today?”
  • “Ah, the friendly ghost emoji! How can I help you?”

The 👻 ghost emoji from a girl means she’s haunting your dreams with her charm and wit! This spirited emoji can have multiple interpretations, depending on the context. Here are a few real-world examples to guide you through the mystifying realm of ghostly emojis:

  • “Hey, had an amazing time last night, you were a total 👻!” – Congratulations, buddy, it seems like she’s labeling you as a super fun and unforgettable party pal.
  • “I won’t be able to text you for a while, exams are haunting me like a 👻” – In this case, she’s comparing her academic stress to the persistent and bothersome nature of a ghost.
  • “Haha, you’re always disappearing like a 👻!” – If you have the tendency to vanish mysteriously or frequently go AWOL, she might be playfully teasing you with this emoji.

So, don’t be scared by the ghost emoji! Embrace its whimsical nature and appreciate the playful way she’s expressing herself. Just take it with a pinch of humor and remember, deciphering emojis is like solving a riddle, and the answer is always open to interpretation!

The 👻 ghost emoji from a guy or boy means he’s trying to be playful or make a joke.

  • “Hey, remember that hilarious GIF you sent me? Well, I’m the ghost of laughter past! 👻”
  • “I couldn’t resist, your scary story gave me chills! 👻”
  • “I’m feeling mischievous today, just like my favorite phantom friend! 👻”

This little apparition is often used by guys to add a touch of humor or light-heartedness to a conversation. It’s their way of saying they’re in a whimsical or playful mood. Sometimes, they might even use the ghost emoji to tease or flirt, showing that they’re not taking themselves too seriously and want to keep things fun. So, don’t be surprised if you receive a ghost emoji from a guy – it’s his way of saying, “Expect some mischievousness!” 👻

The 👻 ghost emoji on Snapchat means that a person is trying to spook you in the virtual realm! It’s like Halloween in your phone. You might see it when someone sends you a creepy story or asks if you believe in ghosts. So, keep your eyes peeled for any paranormal activity in your Snapchats!

  • “Hey, do you believe in ghosts? 👻”
  • “I just saw a ghost in my house! Check out the video. 👻”
  • “Hey, did you see that new horror movie? It gave me major 👻 vibes!”
  • “I can’t believe I went on that roller coaster, I was like a terrified little 👻!”
  • “I almost fainted when I saw my crush liking my tweet from 2010. 😱 I turned into a 😨👻!”

The 👻 ghost emoji on Instagram means that something is spooky or scary. It can be used to add a playful and lighthearted touch to a post. So, if you spot this little ghostly figure popping up on your Instagram feed, beware!

  • “Just watched a horror movie and now I can’t sleep at night! 👻”
  • “Halloween is coming up and I can’t wait to dress up as a spooky ghost! 👻”
  • “That jump scare in the haunted house got me like 👻”

The 👻 ghost emoji on TikTok means that something is spooky or scary. It is often used to add a touch of Halloween vibes or to create a mysterious atmosphere in a video.

  • “When you see the ghost emoji in a TikTok video, get ready for some spooky surprises!”
  • “The ghost emoji is like the perfect accessory when you want to give your TikTok video a creepy twist. Boo!”
  • “Adding the ghost emoji to your TikTok caption gives it an eerie flavor. It’s like a haunted sprinkle on your content!”

The 👻 ghost emoji in slang means being scared or something spooky.

  • “That horror movie was so scary, it gave me the ghost emoji vibes!”
  • “Uh-oh, I just saw my ex’s text. Talk about ghost emoji haunting.”
  • “When I realized I had a huge test tomorrow, I had a major ghost emoji moment.”

Cultural differences in ghost emoji interpretation can lead to comical misunderstandings and confusion. For example:

  • In Japan, the ghost emoji is often associated with spirits and the supernatural, while in the US, it’s more commonly used to depict Halloween or spooky experiences. “When I sent my Japanese friend a ghost emoji during Halloween, they thought I was seeking advice from a paranormal expert!”
  • In Mexico, the ghost emoji can symbolize playful mischief, whereas in France, it may suggest a sense of fashion, as “French friends often comment ‘I see you’re dressed in a trendy ghost outfit today’ when I use the emoji.”
  • In Australia, the ghost emoji might be misinterpreted as a representation of Casper, the friendly ghost. “When I texted my Australian colleague that I saw a ghost, they replied, ‘Did you make a new friend?'”

When using the 👻 ghost emoji, it’s important to remember to use it playfully and in a light-hearted manner. Avoid using it to scare people or convey serious messages. 😄

  • “I’ll be dressed up as a 👻 ghost for Halloween, but don’t worry, I won’t haunt your house!”
  • “Going to bed after watching a horror movie like 👻💤 – hopefully, I won’t have any spooky dreams!”
  • “Just encountered a wardrobe malfunction, walked around with my dress tucked into my underwear, feeling like a 👻 ghost unaware of its presence!”

Possible emoji combinations that go with the 👻 ghost emoji include 👻🌲 (spooky forest), 👻🏰 (haunted castle), and 👻🎃 (ghostly Halloween pumpkin).

  • “👻🌲” (when you’re lost in a forest and feeling eerie)
  • “👻🏰” (touring a medieval castle with a supernatural twist)
  • “👻🎃” (channeling your inner ghostly spirit during Halloween)

Misinterpretations to avoid for the ghost emoji include mistaking it for a Halloween decoration or assuming someone is in a spooky mood.

  • “When I texted my friend about ghosting her, she thought I was talking about the ghost emoji and got really confused!”
  • “I sent the ghost emoji to my boss after a deadline, hoping for a raise, but all I got was a confused emoji in return.”
  • “My grandma thought the ghost emoji was a new way of saying ‘boo,’ so she started using it randomly.”
  • “I mistakenly sent the ghost emoji to my crush, and now I’m scared they think I’m a ghost enthusiast.”

More Emojis to Explore!

Share article:, emily mckinley, emoji 101: 😬 😊 grimacing face and smiling face with smiling eyes emoji meaning (from girl or guy in texting, snapchat, or tiktok).

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9 White Bird Meanings: What does it mean when you see one?

Jorge Silva

The symbolism of birds has been prevalent for a long time now. White birds, to be precise, usually hold a consistent meaning, and their appearance should make you wonder what they are trying to tell you.

If you see a white bird such as a dove, think of a spiritual message it is trying to pass.

There is so much that a white bird holds, mainly because you will find them on various occasions such as weddings, funerals, and political congregations. So, this article explains to you what does it mean spiritually when you see a white bird .

You will also understand better the spiritual meanings that they carry.

What does it mean when you see a white bird?

What does it mean when you see a white bird

If you see a white bird, many things should cross your mind. For so long, seeing a white bird such as a white dove has been linked to spiritual forces.

Also, people believe that seeing the white bird must have a meaning behind it, which is something you cannot dispute.

White bird brings out different means from different cultures. But one most common thing is that people believe in a spiritual connection that the birds bring between heaven and earth. They build a relationship between people and God .

You will see white birds in almost all celebrations and ceremonies. Others may appear as you walk and cross your paths. So what does it mean when you come across one?

Presence of Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

One major thing that white birds signify, especially when they are white doves, is the presence of the Holy Spirit .

Whether you are seated somewhere, or the white bird appears in your sleep, then it shows that the Holy Spirit is present at that particular moment. The Holy Spirit brings some calmness in your life, and you can always feel his presence.

If you see a white dove, it is trying to pass a message to your soul from the higher realms.

During the Baptism of Jesus, there Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove. So, if the dove was present, then the Holy Spirit was there and was trying to pass a message to Jesus , and it’s the same thing that happens when it appears to us.

Sign of peace and hope

Spiritual peace

White birds may appear when we are facing storms. For instance, there have been several cases where white doves appear during political gatherings. White doves are also pretty common during burials.

Their presence is a sign that one should be hopeful and peace will prevail . If you are going through a tough time and the white birds appear, then it means that there is hope even though the times are hard. When you see them at such a time when you are sick or grieving, they make you feel comforted and uplifted.

If you see a white bird, know you were meant to see it. It is a gift to have it around you at a particular time and therefore focus on the peace it brings to your heart.

Good news will locate you

White dove bringing good news

If you see white birds, it may be a sign of blessings and prosperity . Also, they are a sign that you will find joy and harmony. In short, that little thing that you have always prayed for will see you.

White birds may also signify new beginnings, luck, and prosperity. If you feel anxious and maybe things are not going the right way, white doves may bring some balance to your life, and you will start feeling better .

When the white bird is present around you, it reminds you not to lose yourself. It will help you reconnect with yourself and help in reducing the worries you have. It will remind you that God controls your things and will make your path right.

Sign of Love

Love

Seeing a white bird, especially the dove, means love . White birds are equated to gentleness, kindness, and love and bring positive things in your life. For this reason, you will find white doves in many events that involve love.

In most traditions, the couples will release white doves as a sign of love and fidelity during wedding ceremonies.

Also, the white doves may naturally appear during this time .

Such indicates that the couples will have a long-lasting love and will be happy in their home. The white doves invite the Holy Spirit to intervene amongst the newlyweds and thrive in love, prosperity, hope, and honesty.

White Bird Symbolism

White dove

White birds are a symbol of so much than what you can imagine. Some may appear in real life, while others will come to you in a dream. The different kinds that may occur to you will hold a different meaning that you ought to know.

From long ago, you always know that birds symbolize heaven. They tend to create a connection between heaven and earth. White birds are known to bring good news from heaven.

Typically, the white color in birds symbolizes light from the myths of creations . According to fairy tales, the white color represents the light that appears during the day and indicates the intervention of a kind-hearted force. Therefore, if you see the white bird, it means that you will receive light and good things.

For instance, if you see a white dove, it is a symbol that something good will happen . This bird is generally gentle and kind.

So if you see it, it is a sign of peace , kindness , and forgiveness . You will often see people of different cultures releasing it during various ceremonies.They do so to symbolize new beginnings, prosperity, and forgiveness.

They are also a sign of purity and fidelity in other cultures. Internationally, seeing a white dove is a sign of hope and peace will prevail.

Therefore, if you were living in fear about the future or were not at peace, white birds show that peace is about to find you.

White birds may be a sign that the Holy Spirit is present. They tend to create a strong connection between us and the spirits. Their presence helps assure one that no matter the circumstance, things will be okay.

For this reason, you will find them in areas where people are grieving. Or maybe where people are trying to find peace. Also, they also a sign that change is vital in that particular circumstance.

Therefore if life brings you a new situation, you should not hesitate but live according to the change. Also, if you know that the white birds are present, they bring so much calmness and the ability to live in confidence that the future is bright.

White Bird Spiritual Meaning: 9 Messages

White bird meaning in spiritual world

Birds are close to heaven , and when you see a white one, then there is a spiritual meaning that comes with it. White birds tend to have a significant effect on our lives. They are what most cultures and religions believe helps connect us with the spirits.

White birds bring many spiritual messages to us. They help pass a message from God to people on earth, and most show communion with God. Also, such birds try to send some communication between your soul and the universe.

They act as your guidance in doing things and what you do. The white birds also impact the various happenings of your lives but mainly positively. Here are some of the messages that white birds send:

1) The universe is communicating with you

Seeing a white bird is usually a spiritual message that the universe is trying to tell you . For this reason, you should pay close attention to the things that are going around you. Maybe there are things not going in the right way in your life.

Your response here should listen to what the bird is trying to say. The bird will not speak to you directly, but you can pay keen attention to your thoughts and adjust to the message.

2) There is purity

The primary spiritual meaning that the white doves carry is a sign of purity . From the Bible, the dove was used as an offering during the birth of a child. It was, in particular, an offering for purification. There were also two white pigeons during the presentation of Christ.

The presence of these white birds is a spiritual sign of purity. It appears to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit during various occasions, such as the appointment leaders. In such a case, the white birds prove that that person is the anointed one.

A white dove appeared during the Baptism of Jesus, the Annunciation of Mary, and on Joseph’s rod. On all these occasions, it was an indication that the Holy Spirit chose them to fulfill something .

3) The Holy Spirit is prevailing

White birds will indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit on different occasions . You will see that in the Bible, for instance, the white doves appear at various events. It also happens in real life.

It will appear during weddings, funerals, political gatherings, and other special occasions. In any case, it does; it is a sign that the Holy Spirit is around and gracing the occasion.

4) They show that peace will prevail

Most people internationally use white doves to symbolize peace .

This is the most common narrative that people believe in when they see it. If there is a war going on between maybe tribes or due to political issues, the appearance of white doves shows that there will be peace in the end.

The use of white birds as a symbol of peace has been in practice for most cultures and religions.

It is a sign that many people share globally and brings about love where there are fights. In other cases, white birds will appear to show that you will receive God’s protection.

5) They show enduring love

If white birds appear during weddings, it is a sign of love that will last forever .

Some couples will release them into the air during the wedding, and in other cases, the white birds will appear naturally. No matter the case, they show enduring, slow, and honest love among them. 

6) Let go of some things in life

White birds also come to send a message of hope and leave certain things . If you are going through a tough time, you need to let it go and find your peace. So, make a pause of all the bad happenings in your life. Take a deep breath and move on with life.

7) A change is coming

If you see a white bird and face so many issues in your life, you might be receiving a message that your life is going to change .

It shows that the problems in your life are soon coming to an end. So be ready for new beginnings.

8) Purify your thoughts

Another spiritual message that white birds will send to you is to purify your thoughts .

Maybe you are focusing on negative things in your life. So, you end up attracting what you think, and perhaps you did not want that. 

9) You need to surrender

White birds may signify that you have abandoned the highest in your life . You are doing things your way without putting God first. So, you need to surrender to Him and let Him guide your path.

Are White Birds Good Luck or Bad Luck?

White birds and good luck

White birds are always a sign of good luck . Therefore if you were expecting some news or hoping that things would go right, seeing a white bird is proof that things will indeed turn out well.

If you see a dove or a white seagull around your home, then it is a sign that you will be safe and have peace. They also show that good things will come in your way.

Final Words

White birds will appear randomly in your life, whether on an occasion, a dream, or just around your house. If it does, it always brings some good news to it, and they often try to pass a spiritual message to you .

Therefore, it is essential to look around your surroundings and check the happenings and try to connect to the news that the universe is sending you through the white birds.

So, do you already know what does it mean when you see a white bird or dove? Please, feel free to leave your comment below!

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Jorge Silva

Passionate about spirituality, numerology and spiritual accounts. I write about my spiritual experiences to help all those who go through the same.

5 thoughts on “9 White Bird Meanings: What does it mean when you see one?”

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Spiritual meaning of eating the head of white dove in dream

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Thanks for the spiritual white bird showing up

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Thank you for the meaning of the white birds.

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I just saw 3 white birds in one night at different times which never happens. Seeing a bird at night is not normal for me so to see 3 at different times I can’t help but think there’s some significance to that.

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what does it mean when seeing a white small bird working in front of you

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What is "ghostbird".

Ghostbird is the second album from singer Zee Avi. The album's first single "The Book of Morris Johnson" was released on iTunes on 28 June 2011.

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Jeffrey Epstein: documents linking associates to sex offender unsealed

Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, David Copperfield and Prince Andrew among names contained in court documents

  • Explainer: who was Epstein and what are court documents about?
  • Read unsealed documents in full

Numerous court documents identifying associates of notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were made public on Wednesday.

Some of the high-profile names in the court documents include Prince Andrew, the former US president Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, and David Copperfield.

These associates’ just-unsealed names were contained in court documents filed as part of Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell ; the documents include excerpts of depositions and motions in this case. The British socialite was convicted in December 2021 of sex trafficking and similar charges for procuring teen girls for disgraced financier Epstein.

Prior to the unsealing, the names were listed in court papers as variants of J Doe. Many of the names are people who had been publicly identified as Epstein associates prior to this unsealing.

The inclusion of a name in this list does not mean that said associate has been accused of wrongdoing in relation to Epstein. Among the names are people mentioned in passing at legal proceedings

In a deposition, Maxwell appears to say that Andrew visited Epstein’s Island in the US Virgin Islands. Epstein has been accused of abusing numerous girls on this island.

“Were you present on the island when Prince Andrew visited?” Maxwell was asked.

She responded in the affirmative and, when asked how many times, she said: “I can only remember once.” When asked if there were any girls on the island at that time, Maxwell insisted: “There were no girls on the island at all. No girls, no women, other than the staff who work at the house.”

One document included a deposition given by Johanna Sjoberg, whom Maxwell allegedly procured for the purpose of performing sex acts on Epstein.

Sjoberg said in her deposition that Epstein “said one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls”.

In 2019, Clinton’s spokesperson Angel Ureña denied claims made about Clinton’s involvement with Epstein and wrote in a statement on Twitter that “President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York.”

Clinton notably had an 18-month long affair with Monica Lewinsky, his then 22-year-old intern, during his first term as president. He was 49 years old.

Sjoberg also said that the late musician Michael Jackson was at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, and that she met the famed magician David Copperfield.

“Did you ever meet anybody famous when you were with Jeffrey? she was asked. “I met Michael Jackson … at [Epstein’s] house in Palm Beach.”

Asked whether she massaged Jackson, Sjoberg said: “I did not.”

As for Copperfield, Sjoberg said that he attended dinner at one of Epstein’s homes and “he did some magic tricks”.

“Did you observe David Copperfield to be a friend of Jeffrey Epstein’s?” she was asked. Sjoberg replied in the affirmative.

“Did Copperfield ever discuss Jeffrey’s involvement with young girls with you?” she was also asked. “He questioned me if I was aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls.”

Copperfield, she said in the deposition, didn’t tell her any specifics of that question. “Did he say whether they were teenagers or anything along those lines?” she was also asked. “He did not.”

Donald Trump, whose association with Epstein has been widely reported, was also mentioned in the documents; the former US president is not accused of wrongdoing. In Sjoberg’s deposition, she said that they went to one of Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City when a storm prevented Epstein’s plane from landing in New York City.

“Jeffrey said, Great, we’ll call up Trump and we’ll go to – I don’t recall the name of the casino, but – we’ll go to the casino.” Asked at one point whether she ever gave Trump a massage, Sjoberg said “no”.

The deposition also includes Sjoberg’s account of allegedly meeting Prince Andrew at Epstein’s New York home. “Ghislaine asked me to come to a closet. She just said, Come with me. We went to a closet and grabbed the puppet, the puppet of Prince Andrew,” she said in the deposition.

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“And I knew it was Prince Andrew because I had recognized him as a person. I didn’t know who he was. And so when I saw the tag that said Prince Andrew, then it clicked. I’m like, that’s who it is.”

Sjoberg and Maxwell then returned to the living room with the puppet. “I just remember someone suggesting a photo, and they told us to go get on the couch. And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap,” Sjoberg recalled. “And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”

Sjoberg said she went to bed shortly thereafter. “Did you hear Ghislaine Maxwell tell Virginia to do anything while you were in that room?” she was asked. Sjoberg replied: “No.”

Giuffre, who claimed that Epstein and Maxwell forced her into a sexual encounter with Britain’s Prince Andrew at age 17, had sued the publishing heiress for defamation after claiming the accuser lied. Giuffre settled her lawsuit against Maxwell in 2017.

In 2021, Giuffre sued Prince Andrew over the alleged sexual abuse. The suit settled in early 2022. Andrew has always strenuously denied any wrongdoing. As part of the settlement, he agreed to donate to Giuffre’s victims’ rights charity.

The documents’ release is among several tranches of filings in Giuffre’s civil case that were unsealed following the Miami Herald’s years-long effort to make them public. Giuffre did not make allegations of wrongdoing against Clinton.

In one set of documents released in July 2020, Giuffre claimed that Maxwell participated in Epstein’s sexual abuse of teen girls. These documents were released several weeks after Maxwell’s arrest for her involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking.

Giuffre claimed that Maxwell lured her into Epstein’s perverse orbit under the false pretense of work as a professional masseuse. Instead, Giuffre said, Maxwell “trained me as a sex slave”, according to a filing in that set of unsealed court papers.

The documents released in July 2020 also provided insight into Maxwell and Epstein’s relationship.

In a January 2015 email exchange, Epstein told Maxwell: “You have done nothing wrong and i woudl [sic] urge you to start acting like it … go outside, head high, not as an esacping [sic] convict. go to parties. deal with it.”

In another 2015 email, Epstein tells Maxwell she “can issue a reward” to any of Giuffre’s friends to “prove her allegations are false”, including what Epstein said was a “new version” of a claim that the renowned English theoretical physicist Steven Hawking had participated in an “underage orgy” in the Virgin Islands. Hawking, who died in 2018 , has not been accused of a crime related to Epstein.

A large collection of documents in Giuffre’s civil case were also unsealed in August 2019. Those papers included accusations, since denied, that global leaders were participants in Epstein’s trafficking ring.

Epstein was arrested on 6 July 2019 for sex trafficking. He was found dead in his jail cell on 10 August of that year; authorities determined that he hanged himself.

Maxwell was sentenced in June 2022 to 20 years imprisonment. She has maintained her innocence and is appealing her conviction.

Asked for comment on the documents’ unsealing, Maxwell’s attorneys, Arthur L Aidala and Diana Fabi Samson, said: “Ghislaine Maxwell took no position on the court’s recent decision to unseal documents in Giuffre v Maxwell as these disclosures have no bearing on her or her pending appeal.”

“Ghislaine’s focus is on the upcoming appellate argument asking for her entire case to dismissed,” they also said. “She is confident that she will obtain justice in the second circuit court of appeals. She has consistently and vehemently maintained her innocence.”

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  • Ghislaine Maxwell

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These Classic Characters Are Losing Copyright Protection. They May Never Be the Same.

What could happen to the original version of Mickey Mouse and others after they entered the public domain on Jan. 1? Hint: think Winnie the Pooh wielding a sledgehammer.

A black-and-white image of Mickey Mouse as “Steamboat Willie.” He is smiling and holding the steering wheel of a steamboat.

By Sopan Deb

If you’re the creative type and you’re struggling to come up with your next idea, do not fear: Some big works, including the original version of Mickey Mouse, are entering the public domain on Jan. 1 in the United States.

And if, on the other hand, you prefer your Disney characters to be cute, cuddly and never-changing, well … you might want to stop reading.

In 2024, thousands of copyrighted works published in 1928 are entering the public domain, after their 95-year term expires.

This means that those characters and stories can be remade — on the page, stage or screen — without permission. (Finally, I can make that Peter Pan musical where a middle-aged Peter laments unexplained back pains at the end of Act I.)

“It’s important for the preservation of our cultural record, for meaningful access to older works for inspiring future creativity,” Jennifer Jenkins, the director for the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School, said.

The crème de la crème of this year’s public domain class are Mickey Mouse and, of course, Minnie, or at least black-and-white versions of our favorite squeaky rodents that appeared in “Steamboat Willie.” Disney is famously litigious , and this copyright covers only the original versions of the character.

The New York Times reached out to some writers, producers and directors to give you a taste of what might be unleashed in this strange new world.

Wilhelm II and Tigger Too?

Tigger will also be liberated on Jan. 1 and could soon be reunited with Winnie the Pooh in the reborn character’s next slasher film. Yes, you read that right. In a preview of what could be awaiting other 95-year-old icons, the silly old bear became a sledgehammer-wielding monster in “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.” The sequel is slated for February.

“The original ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ was OK, but the horror of modern warfare will be much better illustrated with a crossover remake where Mickey and Tigger trick the Kaiser into getting his head stuck in a mop bucket,” said Zhubin Parang, a co-executive producer for “The Daily Show.” (“All Quiet on the Western Front” — at least the original German version of the novel — is also entering public domain, though later translations are not … yet.)

Hey, 1928 called. It wants all of these back:

Then there’s J.M. Barrie’s stage version of “Peter Pan; or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up,” the D.H. Lawrence novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando: A Biography,” Wanda Gág’s picture book, “Millions of Cats,” and many more. (For a full list, see here .)

“I’m pretty annoyed to see that we’ll probably be getting more Peter Pan material now,” Josh Lieb, a comedy writer and producer, said. “Nobody likes Peter Pan. In fact, I think I speak for all humanity when I say that we hate Peter Pan and we hate people who make movies about him.”

Not everyone hates Peter Pan — sorry, Josh. Bob Greenblatt, a producer of the Broadway-bound musical “Smash,” called for a new stage adaptation with Daniel Radcliffe as Peter, Lindsay Mendez as Wendy, and Jonathan Groff as Captain Hook.

Nik Dodani, the actor, had a Peter Pan film idea too.

“When Wendy meets Peter, a charismatic and seemingly ageless young man, she is drawn into a nightmarish journey of obsession, unveiling the sinister truth behind his eternal youth,” Dodani said. (We couldn’t print the sinister truth. You’ll have to wait for the movie.)

Can I kick it with music, too?

Yes you can! Musical compositions, like the original version of “Mack the Knife,” which was written in German for an opera by Bertolt Brecht called “The Threepenny Opera,” and musical recordings, like “Dippermouth Blues,” featuring Louis Armstrong, will also be freed Jan. 1.

“I often fantasize about the golden age of sampling where you could ostensibly lift the greatest riffs of all time with impunity. I’m looking at you, ‘Can I Kick It? ’” Ryan Miller, a founding member of the band Guster, said, referring to the A Tribe Called Quest song. “Jan. 1, aka Emancipation Day, is now an annual ritual to dig into the mines with minimal guilt. I mean, who doesn’t need a new spin on ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’? Don’t answer that.” (The recording of “Yes! We Have No Bananas” by Billy Jones will be available.)

I still don’t have any ideas. Help!

Not to worry. It’s public domain! Freedom! Steal away! Gordon Greenberg, who is directing a Huey Lewis-inspired Broadway musical this spring, said this was an opportunity to “reimagine some classics from new points of view.”

The playwright Lindsey Ferrentino proposed a mash-up of titles.

“Maybe a production of ‘Threepenny Opera’ with the character of Mackie Messer recast as Mickey Mouse. Very Brechtian,” Ferrentino said. “Don’t ask me to write it though.”

The steamy “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” sparked a lot of interest. Neil Meron, a producer of the Broadway musical “Some Like It Hot,” suggested “a gender fluid immersive” musical adaptation with a score from Sam Smith.

Karen Chee, a writer for “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” pitched “Lady Chatterley’s Millions of Cats.” Ah, but let’s flesh this out! Chee added: “A lonely wife who forgoes sexy times to instead adopt millions of cats.” (Of course.)

From Bob Gale, co-writer of both the film and musical versions of “Back To The Future”: “Is Mickey the new lover of Lady Chatterley, or is he only a voyeur?”

E.M. Tran, a novelist, was intrigued by a “Millions of Cats” musical.

“Just dozens — or millions — of puppet cats onstage with a singing and dancing elderly couple,” Tran said. (Kristoffer Diaz, the playwright, agreed, saying the musical “kind of writes itself.”)

The comedian Gabby Bryan demanded an update to the recording of “The Charleston,” but with Mark Ronson sampling the James P. Johnson version.

“He’s done disco, he’s done dance, he’s done blues, he’s done country, he’s done Ken ,” Bryan said, referring to Ronson. “So I challenge you this Mark, if that even is your real name.”

And if that still isn’t enough to get you started, just wait. Over the next decade, freedom awaits all of these characters: Popeye; Pluto; Donald Duck; King Kong (the original film version); Superman; Daffy Duck; Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and others from the Hobbit; James Bond; Batman; Captain Marvel.

Get to work, people. And remember, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”*

*This song lyric is still under copyright until 2064.

Sopan Deb is a general assignment reporter for The New York Times. Before joining The Times, he covered Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign for CBS News. More about Sopan Deb

IMAGES

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  5. See close-up video of this incredibly camouflaged "ghost bird"

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  6. Terrifying ‘ghost bird’ with giant eyes and humongous mouth spooks

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COMMENTS

  1. ghost bird, n. meanings, etymology and more

    What does the noun ghost bird mean? There is one meaning in OED's entry for the noun ghost bird. See 'Meaning & use' for definition, usage, and quotation evidence. See meaning & use. How common is the noun ghost bird? Fewer than 0.01 occurrences per million words in modern written English . 1850: 0.0002: 1860: 0.0002: 1870:

  2. Potoo

    Potoos ( family Nyctibiidae) are a group of birds related to the nightjars and frogmouths. They are sometimes called poor-me-ones, after their haunting calls. The family Nyctibiidae was formerly included with the nightjars in the order Caprimulgiformes but is now placed in a separate order, Nyctibiiformes.

  3. 31 Great Potoo Facts (Yes, They're Real!) Ultimate Guide

    | 2. What does the great potoo look like? The great potoo is a medium-sized bird with a stout figure and a large head. It can come in several different colors, including white, gray, brown, burgundy, and reddish-orange. Some great potoos are completely monochrome; others look tawny with mottled spots on their feathers.

  4. GHOST BIRD MYTHOLOGY

    Ghost Birds in Mythology The sheer number of ghost bird myths worldwide can probably be attributed heavily to nocturnal birds like owls or even bats. These beautiful myths show cultures trying to explain inexplicable things using whatever means they were available at the time. Asian Ghost Birds: A Terrifying Tradition

  5. What Does a Ghost Bird Sound Like? (10 Interesting Facts)

    Key Takeaways The Urutau, also known as the Ghost Bird or Potoo, is a nocturnal bird native to South and Central America. Its haunting calls have been described as a loud "wop" or "whoooap" and are believed to symbolize death, grief, and heartache.

  6. Bird Symbolism & Meaning

    Blackbird Symbolism & Meaning The coloring of the Blackbird makes the creature a symbol of death, change, magic, and mystery. Often, Blackbirds represent or are sacred to Tricksters, demi-gods, or Gods and Goddesses in myth, and Shamans consider these creatures Spirit messengers. Read on ... Read More Blue Footed Booby Symbolism & Meaning

  7. Urutaú or ghost bird: characteristics, habitat and singular song

    The name potoo, urutaú or "ghost bird" refers not only to one species of bird, but to several with similar characteristics. The name comes from its peculiar appearance and behavior, which allows it to camouflage itself very well with its environment, as well as to go unnoticed. ... Potoos are insectivorous birds, meaning they eat insects ...

  8. Great Potoo (The Ghost Bird)

    The Great Potoo ( Nyctibius grandis ), also known as the ghost bird, is a distinctive species found in Central and South America. The species is known for its cryptic plumage, unusually large gaping mouth, and haunting calls. They are primarily nocturnal birds and are often active during dusk and dawn, remaining camouflaged and stationary ...

  9. What is a ghost bird?

    The Ghost Bird, also known as the Great Potoo, is a fascinating nocturnal bird that bears a striking resemblance to an owl. However, it is important to note that the Great Potoo does not belong to the same family as owls. This unique bird can be found in various parts of South America, with Colombia being a particularly common habitat.

  10. "The Ghost Birds" by Karen Russell

    Ore-gone. We were going in heavy, geared up. The blood kept jamming in my head. My daughter, Starling, looked so small in my viewfinder, struggling under the weight of her spectrograph. She is...

  11. See close-up video of this incredibly camouflaged "ghost bird"

    David Pescovitz 9:02 am Wed Mar 10, 2021. This astonishing creature is Nyctibius griseus, aka the Nictibio Urutaú aka the Common Potoo aka Poor-Me-Ones (because of their creepy call you can hear ...

  12. Chasing the ghost bird

    An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. Ithaca, NY: eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. VIEW. Hernandez, L. 2016. Tell me the legend of the singing bird "Potoo"! VIEW. Skutch, A.F. 1970. Life history of the Common Potoo. Living Bird 9: 265-280. VIEW. WikiAves. 2020. WikiAves - A enciclopedia das aves do ...

  13. What Is A Ghost Bird?

    The Great Potoo or the Ghost Bird is a nocturnal bird that looks like an owl but does not belong to the same family. What Type Of Bird Is Ghost Bird? The Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis), also known as the ghost bird, is a distinctive species found in Central and South America.

  14. 'Ghost Bird' aka Great Potoo's large eyes and haunting scream can give

    The Great Potoo or the Ghost Bird is a nocturnal bird that looks like an owl but does not belong to the same family. It feasts on large insects and small vertebrates. They are said to be commonly ...

  15. 10 Bird In The House Meanings: When A Bird Flies In Your House

    What os the spiritual meaning of a bird inside your house? Let's find out! If you are a late-riser, the incessant chirping of birds could be an irritant. However, if you belong to the 5 a.m. club, the same sound could be the music that opens your mind's eyes to a fresh day.

  16. "The Ghost Birds" a Short Story by Karen Russell

    He is a true believer, convinced that birds still flock and fly, albeit in their ghostly forms, even after they have officially gone extinct. The story begins in medias res. Father and daughter are trespassing on property once occupied by a school from the time before the Great Western Fires rendered the region uninhabitable.

  17. Bird Spirit Animals

    It symbolizes freedom and strength, as well as harmony with fellow creatures. The bird meaning can apply to different areas of your life. Most of the time, the meaning of the bird signifies your ability to remain in control of your emotions, and your ability to bear hardships as time goes by.

  18. Cardinal Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism

    They have been viewed as a sign of hope and a reminder that you can do hard things, because hard things do not last forever. And many believe that the Cardinal's spiritual meaning is a good...

  19. How to Read Birds as Omens and Signs

    It might represent a rough transition, a trap, or a hidden pitfall. It could represent the end of one reality, relationship, or belief system, and the start of something new. Or it might just mean that the poor bird didn't see the glass. Consider putting up tape strips so it doesn't happen again. What does it mean if a bird flies into my house?

  20. What makes a good bird name?

    Birds point us to the existence of another world which, unlike the human one, makes no demands of us but to enjoy it and see that it has a future. It is a world that existed before us, into which ...

  21. Emoji 101: Ghost Emoji Meaning (From Girl Or Guy In Texting, Snapchat

    This emoji can represent a sense of playfulness or lightheartedness, like when you're up to some harmless mischief with friends or playfully teasing someone. "I'm thinking of surprising my friends by hiding behind a door and sending them a emoji to let them know a prank's coming!"

  22. 9 White Bird Meanings: What does it mean when you see one?

    Sign of peace and hope White birds may appear when we are facing storms. For instance, there have been several cases where white doves appear during political gatherings. White doves are also pretty common during burials. Their presence is a sign that one should be hopeful and peace will prevail.

  23. Ghost Bird Sounds (great potoo)

    Hope you enjoyed the Ghost Bird (great potoo) animal sound effect. Check out the other animal sounds from Sound Wizard!Photo credit by Allissondias, Wikiped...

  24. What does ghostbird mean

    Word definitions in dictionaries Wikipedia. Ghostbird is the second album from singer Zee Avi. The album's first single "The Book of Morris Johnson" was released on iTunes on 28 June 2011.

  25. Jeffrey Epstein: documents linking associates to sex offender unsealed

    The inclusion of a name in this list does not mean that said associate has been accused of wrongdoing in relation to Epstein. Among the names are people mentioned in passing at legal proceedings.

  26. Mickey Mouse, Other Characters Lose Copyright Protection

    The playwright Lindsey Ferrentino proposed a mash-up of titles. "Maybe a production of 'Threepenny Opera' with the character of Mackie Messer recast as Mickey Mouse. Very Brechtian ...

  27. Las Vegas judge attacked by felon during sentencing

    A Nevada man convicted of attempted assault vaulted over a judge's bench in a Las Vegas courtroom and attacked her as she was about to sentence him to prison, in chaotic scenes captured on ...