Hawaiian Superstition: Sea-Frigate Birds

Type: Superstition/Folk Belief

  1. “In Hawaii, there was a large population of sea-frigate birds. They had black feathers and a red belly almost (laughter). They would fly around, above people, in both city areas and in the forest. They also had strange shaped wings, like swallow kind of wings. The birds would fly overhead and apparently, if you saw them fly above, you couldn’t stare, you had to just ignore them. You could NEVER point at them, if you did, then something bad would happen to you. Something really bad, but no one ever knew what. Just that one, really bad thing would happen, and you couldn’t avoid it.
  2. I obtained this piece of folklore from a family member, Jeff. Jeff is in his late 40’s, and he spent eleven years of his life in Hawaii, where he was born and raised. Living on an island, Jeff had lots of freedom, as you could never really get lost. When he was living there, him and his friends would explore around the island, but it was superstition that you could never physically point at this specific type of bird. Jeff and his friends spent a lot of time outside, and within his school friends and neighborhood friends, this superstition went around.
  3. Hawaii is known to be a tropical and natural place. There are all typed of birds, plants, and other natural life forms on all islands. Moreover, the amount of wildlife has been a source of folklore, especially in tropical places. The sea-frigate bird is not rare or becoming extinct, actually it is quite a common bird. However, the unique shape of their wings became a source of folklore. This superstition is passed around friend groups and family members.
  4. I personally do not understand this superstition. If the bird was rare or uncommon then I would understand a bit more as to why it could be a source of folklore, but again, currently, it does not quite make any sense to me. It seems like another silly superstition among children, not necessarily adults. Jeff does not believe in this anymore, and will point and stare at the bird.