What Is the Legend Behind a Bird Hitting a Windshield?

The belief that a bird flying into a house is an omen of death is reinforced by a bird hitting a windshield. Because cars have only been widespread since the second half of the twentieth century, the superstition involving birds hitting car windshields is likely a recent derivation of this prejudice.

Birds are frequently depicted in folklore as otherworldly creatures capable of travelling between planets. This idea is most likely based on the fact that birds can fly, making them celestial beings who encourage people to believe they have a direct link to the culture’s God or gods.

This is also the reason why many gods have been represented as birds. Horace and Isis, two Egyptian gods, were both represented as birds. Odin, the Norse god, is also shown as a bird.

This and other superstitions are ways of explaining unusual or weird happenings that developed when science was unable to explain them. However, advances in scientific knowledge suggest that birds are more likely to smash into car windows because they see a reflection and mistake it for another bird.

As a result, a bird attack on the glass is more likely to be a bird’s technique of getting another bird to leave its territory than a sign of impending death.

Read More: Why can porcelain spark plugs shatter glass?

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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