Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Christmas

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Chitter’s Bird

My Life In Appalachia - Chitter's Bird

Chitter nabbed this bird photo out our porch window. I made the pine cone Christmas tree when the girls were little. I picked up the tiny pine cones from under Granny’s trees-then hot glued them to a tree form.

Over the years the tree started falling apart, not wanting to throw it away me and the girls spread peanut butter on it and rolled it in birdseed. The girls made a similar craft back in their girl scout days.

Since I was thinking of birds-I couldn’t resist checking out what the Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore had to say on the subject. Here’s a few I found:

~When birds fly close to the ground expect rain.

~If a bird sings while sitting on a chimney there will be rain before dark.

~If a bird flies into the house it is a sign of death.

~Birds singing in the morning is a sign of rain. (seriously?? wonder who came up with that one)

~If birds come close about the house you can expect bad weather.

~If birds fly south earlier than usual in the fall-you can expect a bad winter.

As always-if you know any additional bird folklore I hope you’ll leave a comment!


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    December 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Funnily enough, birds singing in the morning is a sign of blue skies and sunny weather. More often than not, I wake up to the singing of birds. Before I open the window , I know it’s going to be a sunny day. In the mountains of Troodos nightingales sing only between June and July – the warmest months up there.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Love that picture, Chitter!!

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    December 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve heard mourning doves called rain crows.
    Around here, the piliated woodpecker is called a wood hen or Indian hen. I’ve twice had the pleasure of watching two or three males courting the female.
    I’ve also heard that a whippoorwill singing in the daytime is a sign that someone is going to die.
    When I was about seven or eight years old, the air would sometimes be full of bull-bats. I threw a rock up one day, and a bull-bat fell. I was so scared that I tried to hide it from God. I’ve not seen a bull-bat since I was a child in the 1940’s.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    December 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Like most everyone else, I’ve always heard that if a bird flies in your house, it is a sign of death.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    December 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    and Ed and Belva…..How could I forget the Rain Crow and the Salt on the tail of a bird…I remember my Grandmother telling me about the salt deal…We ran around with the salt shaker while she watched probably laughing herself silly….
    Ed we have many Rain Crows here…They are very secretive and you have to wait with the binoculars until you hear the Ka ka ka kow kow kow but look quick….’cause if they catch you move they hide deeper in the leaves of the trees…and always a rain or storm follows their calls…The first time I heard one my Dad was visiting…It literally scared me to death..I thought some jungle bird was loose until he said..”I hear the rain crow so you better get those beans planted!” I had heard of the cuckoo here but never heard it called a rain crow and had never seen one…The bird I miss is the Whip-poor-will..we have Chuck Wills-Widows…but haven’t heard a Whip-poor-will here on our place in two years…Also the Quail are not as abundant…I think the Coyotes are hunting them…We have Grouse and are still seeing them on occasion…
    Let me get off of my Birdhouse…LOL
    Thanks Tipper, I love Birds!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I too have heard that a bird flying into your home means a death in the family. Also I have heard about them going south early means a hard winter. The rest were new to me.
    Love the picture, great eye.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I remember our one Gran really believed one that said if a bird flew into your window pane and died, someone close to you would die too. I remember one flew into our window when our Great Gran died, but I also remember many birds flying into our big picture window when no one died.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I have to say that I love all birds. They are beautiful. But until we moved into our house by the lake I never thought much about Buzzards. We have a flock of probably close to 100 that roost in the woods next to our house. On occasion a Blue Herring will roost with them. It takes him a couple of time trying to land successfully with his long legs, (he knocks a couple of buzzrds off their perch in the process) but he is finally successful. I love the comments from people that visit, it is like a chapter Alfred Hitchcock book. I now love to watch them as much as I do the other beautiful birds that come to our feeder.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    First of all let me be quick to say that I can offer no proof. Call it coincidence or what ever but, that saying that if a bird flies up to your window and begins pecking rapidly someone in the family will die is something I’ve seen twice in my lifetime and twice someone died. Now when I see a bird flying close to my window, I cringe.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    When seagulls fly inland/over neighborhoods, it means a storm is coming.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    December 3, 2011 at 11:35 am

    i love watching the birds… in every season.. spring when gathering twigs and string for nests.. and in winter here.. sitting on a green christmas tree with the snow falling.. and seeing such bright color amongst. im glad that you and the girls have so many things you share together… and enjoy nature as you do.. thanks so much as usual for brightening my day.
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    December 3, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I grew up always hearing that if a bird flew into your house that someone would soon die.
    I have also read that if you hear a screech owl that someone would die. Well, where I used to live, I would hear owls every night . . . of course, someone somewhere dies every night! So I guess this one would be accurate!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 3, 2011 at 10:52 am

    My mother always said that if you heard a Rain Crow it would rain before morning. I’ve heard ’em but never seen ’em. They sound like and may be a mourning dove. I’ve never seen a dove when if made its call. It could be a mystery bird like the wood hen that I’ve heard plenty but never seen. Maybe one of your readers can ‘splain these creatures.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

    That’s a nice photo, and what a lovely treat for the birds!
    I have heard the one about birds flying south early forecasting a harsh winter, but none of the others.
    I hate to mention it on such a pretty morning, but I have also heard that if a bird gets into the house, someone in the house will soon die.
    Of course, this was proven wrong the day my golden retriever greeted me in the bathroom doorway with a baby bird in his mouth! Bless his gentle soul, the bird was unharmed and he willingly gave it to me when I told him to. There were five of them, they had come from the attic through the ventilation fan. Thankfully, we have a local person who rehabs wildlings and releases them back into nature!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

    A bird getting in the house is sign of death. Many old timers in this area strongly believe this,

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 10:05 am

    So pretty much… no matter what birds do we can expect rain. LOL
    Birds singing in tree near porch means, expect poop on deck. I just made that one up.
    I love birds and their lovely sounds.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I know the birds appreciate the girls treat. I love to feed the birds too and have out feeders during the winter. When I was little my uncle told me if you sprinkle salt on a bird’s tail that you could catch it. Silly me got the salt shaker and set out to catch me a bird. LOL.
    The old saying that I remember about birds was if a bird got into the house it meant that there would be a death in the family.
    Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    December 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Tipper: Your post is delightful. I am so ‘in tune’ with all the birds in my back yard. Everytime I look out the windows there is a bird coming into land on one the many feeders that I have placed under the ‘overhang’ of our house! Now if I could just make the neighbor’s cats go away I would in a perfect world!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I can’t say that I have ever heard any of the bird folklores. Very interesting!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Good picture, Chitter!
    I can’t think of any bird lore but, really, most of those don’t sound plausible except the last one.
    I do believe the animals/birds know instinctively what the weather will do.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

    great idea for the bird tree and i like the photo. these are all news to me and i can say that birds singing in the morning does NOT mean rain, because ours sing every morning and we go weeks without rain..

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    December 3, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Tipper, your post makes me think of one of my favorite Jean Ritchie songs – The Blue Bird Song. I would love to hear your girls sing it. I heard her tell this story years ago at the Folk School. When she was a little girl a whole flock of bluebirds landed above her and it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. When her boys were little she would tell them the story and as many good stories do, it ended up becoming a song – one of my favorites. Here is the story in her own words (text borrowed from the Kentucky teacher’s guide: Old Music for New Ears):
    “I was about 4 going on 5, I think, and sitting kind of humming and dreaming under our old June-apple tree, the first one to bloom in spring. It was a nice day, sun shining, white clouds in a blue sky, when I heard a buzzy noise, and I looked up to see maybe a hundred bluebirds lighting on my tree, settling in among the blossoms. I held my breath, but they saw me in a few seconds, and they all rose and flew away as one bird.
    I ran to tell Mama what I had seen, and she said, “Did you count them?” “No,” I said, “there were too many and I can only count to 10.” She laughed and said, “Well, here’s a little rhyme to count them with whenever you see them again. As long as the birds are lit, say it over and over, and when they rise and fly, that part of the poem will be your fortune.”
    Well, I learned the little rhyme and ran back out and sat under the tree every day for two weeks, but the birds never came back. My boys said, “That’s a terrible story; it has no ending.” But the next night they said, “Tell us that story again about the bluebirds,” and the next night, and in a week or two we had a tune and worked it out to be a song.”
    The Blue Bird Song – Jean Ritchie
    When I was a young thing, once on a day, Dreaming under my apple tree,
    A great flock of bluebirds sailing through the sky Espied my tree as they passed by
    And Oh! it was a wonderful sight to see
    When they settled down to rest in my apple tree. Count them, said my mother; “How?” said I, And out of the window came this reply:
    “One, you’ll have sorrow. Two, you’ll have joy. Three, get a present. Four, get a boy.
    Five, receive silver. Six, receive gold.
    Seven’s a secret that’s never been told.
    Eight, a love letter with promises three.
    Nine means your true love’s as true as can be!”
    Only once in a lifetime, the old folks say,
    The vision of the bluebirds will come your way. But only if you’re dreaming, only if you’re still, Only in an apple tree on a green hill.
    So stop all your hurrying and worrying away
    And take time for dreaming on a sunny day.
    Wait for the bluebirds, and when they come along, Tell your fortune with the bluebird song.
    Refrain for boys:
    One, you’ll have gladness. Two, you’ll have strife. Three, get a present. Four, get a wife.
    Five, receive silver. etc.

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    December 3, 2011 at 8:31 am

    That was interesting but they all seem on the bad side, is there any good folklore.
    Tell Chitter she took a nice picture.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    December 3, 2011 at 7:35 am

    My grandmother and aunt used to say.. a bird pecking at the window would be a sign of death..
    Well I am sure, as many spiders die at the hands (errr, beaks) of wrens in the corners of windows as well as those little beatles trying to rest from a night of crawling around…LOL
    I didn’t realize this until I was older and began to observe birds, but until then I worried over the old saying…Another old saying…
    A bird in the house is bad luck!..
    Yep, sure is bad luck for the bird if the cat is also in the house…and the terrific stress of someone trying to shoo it outside with a broom…LOL
    What I know for a fact….
    Snowbirds (Juncos) arrive in flocks under our feeders before a skif of snow or snow in the early Fall or winter….
    Our big old Blue Jay imitates the Red Tail Hawk to clear the platform feeder of birds so he can have it to himself…LOL
    Our Mocking birds guard their Poke Salet plant loaded with purple berries in the late summer and practically get drunk on them….LOL
    These are all signs of smart birds..
    Thanks Tipper, That little Titmouse will eat you out of house and home and peanut butter!

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