Birds of omen dark and foul,
Night-crow, raven, bat, and owl,
Leave the sick man to his dream—
All night long he heard your scream.
— Sir Walter Scott
Throughout many cultural traditions, Owls have been considered harbingers of bad luck, ill health, or death.
In most Native American tribes, Owls signify death. The call of the Owl is considered an unlucky omen. Some tribes believe the hoot of an Owl indicates that someone is going to die. Owls are known as messengers and companions for the gods of death. As a messenger of death, the Owl is not evil, but it can be foreboding. They carry messages from beyond the grave and when tribal taboos are broken, Owls deliver a supernatural warning. Owls are associated with ghosts among some Native American tribes because it is understood that the bony circles around an Owl’s eyes are made from the fingernails of ghosts.