Did My Father-In-Law Visit Me As A Bird?

by Nikki Mark

If you are rolling your eyes at the title of this article, bear with me. If scientists are now taking UFO’s somewhat seriously, maybe the possibilities of birds serving as messengers for our ancestors will be next on their list….

A few years ago, a friend recommended a diviner who facilitates “Ancestral Cleansing” rituals.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Other cultures conduct rituals to cleanse the spirits of family members who pass on,” she told me. “The purpose is not only to help the spirits of loved ones heal and transition, but also to wash away negative and unresolved energies in the entire family line and prevent them from getting passed down in the future.”

As ludicrous as this concept may sound to many Western minds, it somehow made perfect sense to me. I would do anything to help my son’s spirit heal and soar, so why not this?

The effort on my part was somewhat minimal. Throughout the three or four day ritual, depending on the ancestor, I had to sleep in all white clothing and sheets, take a few different kinds of baths, and make a daily non-religious offering under a tree. At night while I slept, the diviner and her shamanic elders got to work, talking with the spirits of my ancestors and cleaning them up.

I thought it all might be wishful thinking and simply a fun exploration into the unknown but when my dog started shaking, the electricity in our house began glitching, and my dreams at night became so vivid that I felt like I was working alongside the diviner and communicating between worlds, I couldn’t deny that something mystical was happening.

By that point in my journey, I had learned something about myself that was positively impacting my healing process, which is that I’m a very disciplined and goal-oriented person. With that said, it may not surprise you to learn that I proceeded to cleanse my entire ancestral line – including my great-great grandparents who also lost a son at the same age that I lost mine.

But I realized my efforts only addressed half my family and decided that wasn’t enough.

So, I turned to my husband, who had no idea what I was up to, and I asked him to cleanse his ancestral line too.

You can only imagine the look on his face.

Still, I persisted.

“This is typical for ancient and certain non-western civilizations,” I told him. “If you don’t care about doing it for your ancestors of the past, do it for our family’s future. If there’s even the slightest most minuscule chance doing this will protect our youngest son and his children from ever losing a child, it’s worth it.”

To close the deal, I told him that because we were married it was deemed acceptable under spiritual law if I did most of the ritual for him.

He acquiesced, and a week or so later, we (or rather, “I”) got started. His father’s line was first.

The first morning of the ritual, I was organizing our home office and found a picture of my father-in-law and old-time actress Ann Sheridan stuffed in an old box. For whatever reason, I put the photo on the top shelf of a bookcase behind my husband’s desk and didn’t think much of it.

On the second morning of the ritual, however, I heard a knocking sound. I followed it into our office and saw a bird perched outside on our windowsill with a gray head, orange chest and yellow beak poking on our French windows. The bird looked at me through the window, jerked his head from side to side, and then continued knocking.

For the next several hours, I went about my day and periodically peeked into the office to see if the bird was still there. It was. Each time, its movements were the same.

First it sat on the ledge and knocked. Then it flew up to the highest French window pane and peered inside our office. Then it flew off to the closest tree where it rested for a bit before starting the cycle all over again. Not knowing much about birds, I left it to do its thing and figured if it didn’t hurt itself or break a window, it was just a random phenomenon of nature.

The next morning, however, on the third and final day of the ritual, I heard the knocking sound again. The bird was back. I took a short video of it so I could later show my husband. Then I paused to consider what the bird wanted.

As the bird flew up again to the top window pane, I tracked its height and followed its gaze to the photo of my father-in-law behind me on the bookshelf. Something clicked and I got the chills.

Maybe this bird is my father-in-law and he’s come to visit during his ritual, I heard myself think. After all, we are cleaning up his spirit!

The following morning, when the ritual was over and my husband’s paternal line was bright and shiny (according to the diviner), the bird was gone. I hadn’t seen or thought much of it again until a year later, when I texted one of my closest friends and former roommates from business school.

“Whatcha doing on your bday????!!!!” I asked. It was 9:00 p.m. and I thought she might be out celebrating.

“Fighting with a robin,” she responded. “I gave in and bought it food so it would stop bumping the window.”

Her mother had passed away the same year my son did, and she was still grieving her loss and missing her mom every day.

“Maybe the robin is your mom’s spirit wishing you a happy birthday 🥰,” I texted back, trying to keep it light.

“I was kind of thinking that,” she responded. “That’s why I went and bought it mealworms.”

Mealworms, huh? Clearly, she knew a lot more about birds than I did.

“Seriously,” her text continued, “the bird has been knocking all day since 7 am until 7 pm, and when I went to buy her food, she was sitting on the fence next to the window.”

She immediately sent me a video and I noticed her windows looked exactly like my windows, and her bird looked like my bird!

We compared stories and I could tell her spirit got a little birthday boost.

That was that, until last week when I started questioning whether this story was worth repeating and suddenly got the urge to Google the spiritual meaning of robins.

The first words that jumped off the screen were, “When robins appear, loved ones are near.

That old saying was all I needed to hear.

Still, I continued searching, and I learned from a variety of sources that robins have not only symbolized rebirth in certain cultures for centuries, but they are also considered messengers for lost loved ones.

I texted my friend, shared this limited research, and felt increasingly giddy about the possibilities.

“Maybe the robin who visited really was your mom!” I exclaimed. And maybe the robin that visited me was actually a messenger for my father-in-law. The possibilities filled me with hope and convinced me to write this article.

Before I sat down and started typing, I made plans to meet a new friend for coffee. At the end of our conversation when we were about to get up and leave, she put her hand on her chest and said with enthusiasm, “Oh, there’s one more thing I have to tell you!”

“What?” I asked, sensing a spiritual moment coming on.

“I have a bird story,” she said.

I froze for a second and then silently said to the powers that be, Alright! I get it! I’ll write the bird article. And I knew that her story was about to make mine even better.

This friend went on to explain that when she was a teenager, she went through a rebellious stage and started smoking cigarettes. Her father, whom she deeply loved, always wanted her to stop. When he passed away while she was still young, she rebelled even more. First, she smoked up to a pack a day. Then she stuffed her grief as far down as she could until year after year it started spilling out in a variety of ways she could no longer control.

When she was in her twenties and hit one of her lowest points, she sat on her front porch and began questioning the meaning of life. Suddenly, a bird landed on the chair next to her. It sat by her side for forty minutes until a friend of hers showed up to take her out for some clean old-fashioned fun.

“I just knew the bird was my dad telling me to stop smoking,” she told me. “Right then and there I did.”

I walked away that morning realizing that plenty of us have bird stories, probably more than we’ll ever know. When we are brave enough to exchange them, we lighten up with wonder, grow with curiosity, and potentially even help make an ancestor’s day!

So…Do you have a bird story? If so, I would LOVE to know. Please share it with me and our growing community in the comments below.

P.S. To learn more about “Ancestral Cleansing” I created a special gift for you HERE. And if you want to see the bird that visited me during the ritual, aka my father-in-law, see below. 😊

7 thoughts on “Did My Father-In-Law Visit Me As A Bird?”

  1. When my grandmother was passing, my sister was with her and I was home in another state. We had been very close and my sister called me in the middle of the night to tell me when she went. I was in a 2 story house and sat looking out the window and a cardinal hopped onto the window sill and just rested there looking at me until I finally went back to bed and slept. My mid-western grandmother had loved cardinals and collected cardinal momentos (to a fault!). I didn’t know until the next day when I told my mom that we don’t have cardinals in Los Angeles.

  2. Loved this Nikki! ❤️ Your words comfort me and have helped me so much. You are my role model for trying to heal, which I am no where near accomplishing. Thank you for sharing all the tools you have used. I wouldn’t know where to start. Love you!

  3. Dear Nikki,
    Thank you for sharing your bird story. Several years ago when my daughter was 14, her boyfriend died by suicide. Her grief was intense. In those first days when she was struggling to live, she asked her boyfriend to send her a sign. Sitting outside her bedroom on the patio in a lawn chair, a precious bird landed right next to her shoulder and simply stared into her eyes. She told me at the time that the bird sat there for 5 minutes or so just looking at her. She took solace that her boyfriend heard her cry for help and comforted her in her darkest hour. This little glimmer of wonder helped her make it through that day. She is healing slowly but surely. The signs have helped her along the way. Thank you for reminding us to look for the signs.

  4. My husband and I were vacationing with my parents in Chatham at Cape Cod. Full disclosure, my father is Nikki’s father-in-law. A bird hit the window of our room and my husband and I got a box and put it inside and gave it drops of water to drink. After around 30 minutes the bird recovered and flew away. I then went on an outing with my parents while T stayed at the hotel with some friends who were visiting the area. Suddenly, a yellow finch landed on Tim’s hat. Our friends asked him why there was a bird perched on top his head. He asked if it was a yellow finch and said we had rescued the bird earlier that day. They took a photo to show me when I returned. The bird sat there for almost 30 minutes and no one could believe it!! Twenty five years later we are still amazed at this occurrence

  5. I was going through some memories. While doing so I recalled a great friend of mine. It was one of these friendships that we didn’t have to always be in contact with each other,…we had a felt sense of each other throughout the day and week. We would touch base when needed or when we wanted to speak. It was not a romantic relationship ,..purely platonic and it was a wonderful friendship.
    She and her husband moved away to another city and their business took off and eventually we lost contact.

    The memories I was entertaining was one about my friend Toni Heartsong. For the heck of it I decided to look her up and see if I could reconnect with her. As the information came up on the internet about Toni I was shocked to my core. She was dead. She was brutally murdered.

    I was gob smacked. I thought of her for several days and many times cried for her and my own loss. A few days went by and she again would drift into my mind’s eye. Maybe I was subconsciously wanting to see her again. I think the shock that she was no longer alive I was still healing from.
    I walked outside and stood under the large live oak in the back yard overhanging on the roof. All a sudden I hear this “tweet, tweet, tweet.” I look up and look around and see a blackbird sitting on the branch of to the left. I walked around to get a better view and I see a red crest on its chest area.

    A little black bird with a red crest. This bird was perched on a lower branch and looked at me and I at them,…I have no idea what was going on. It didn’t seem intimidated by a human’s presence at all. I thanked the little blackbird for stopping by. I noticed the next morning the bird was still there. Did it stay all night ?

    This blackbird was perched on that limb, and probably found a cuddly place to sleep, and was there for three days. Three days. Then,..it dawned on me.

    My friends name is Toni Heartsong. This blackbird had a red crest on the breast area,…aka the heart.

    Toni came to visit via this blackbird with the obvious symbol of a heart to let me know she has received my caring thoughts.

    I was inspired and amazed realizing how nature is always in sync with all that is going on. Someone I hadn’t thought of in years past shows up in the form of a part of nature that expresses itself with loving energy.

    I am so thankful for this experience. It has opened many other observations regarding nature and how to work with this universal force.


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