“A raven tapped on Edgar Allen Poe’s door and window, but in Western North Carolina it has been owls, doves and turkey buzzards that have presaged death. As the story goes, the buzzard even tolls a bell.
“Gary Carden, noted Sylva storyteller and folklorist, has noted that the last recorded sighting of the messenger vulture was on the evening of Aug. 13, 1926, in Leicester. Ed Rhymer, a farmer, followed the sound of a tolling bell to a buzzard, which had flown off, taking the sound with it.
“It had been a Friday the 13th, which suggests a twist, perhaps a prank. In fact, there is evidence of such pranks….”
— From “Visiting Our Past: Buzzard pranks, Holy Ghost Doves and other bird lore” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Dec. 16, 2008)
And of course there’s….