Bonis avibus

Bonis Avibus
Under favorable signs.

This isn't the standard post for the religious phrases section. It's about Roman religion rather than Christianity. Literally, the phrase translates as "under good birds". The Romans relied heavily on augury, the practice of interpreting the flight, entrails and other bird behavior to look for omens.

Funnily enough, this practice isn't as esoteric as it may seem, as many cultures still use birds for omens or signs (consider the allusion of ravens or crows to death).

Several other cultures have their own superstitions and auguries (in the Philippines we have one about how if a hen keeps scratching behind your bedroom, somebody in your house in pregnant. It has happened to me although me without being pregnant but only people gossiping that I was because of course chickens never lie).

And there are also many incidents in Roman and later literature where augury occurs besides the one starring the drowning chickens (if you know what I mean).

Etaoin Shrdlu

Funny thing, superstition. You'd think that the gossips would conclude that hens weren't a reliable indication of pregnancy after a few instances when it failed to work. But if there are enough scratching hens, and there probably are, they're bound to coincide with pregnancy on some occasions, and the superstitious person just remembers those instances and forgets the others.
Haha, very true! Do there happen to be any bird behaviors that are considered as omens in your culture?

Etaoin Shrdlu

There's the old rhyme about magpies: 'One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy'. Traditionally, if you saw a magpie on its own, you'd say 'Hello, Mr Magpie, and where's your wife?' which was supposed to counter the bad luck inherent in seeing a single one.

I don't think many people seriously believe it, though. It's hard to tell with superstitions.