How Do You Know An Omen When You See One?

Or, as I found myself asking this morning, when is a dead dove on your doorstep just a dead dove on your doorstep?

The day started quietly enough: coffee, email, shower. Then I stepped out to get the paper, and that's when I saw it: a bird, stiff and dead, feet up, staring me in the face. Far from any tree. I gasped and slammed the door. Needless to say I have not been out since. Immediately, horrible scenarios ran through my head. "Why is there a dead bird on my doorstep?" I asked the Twitter universe. "Maybe it's some kind of good omen," a friend responded optimistically. I quickly Google'd "dead bird, omen." This being the Internet, someone had posed my exact query to Answers.com! Here was the "best answer:"

"you are in for a terrible experience. sorry"

Here are the various explanations:

1. Bad Omen.
Probably death. Or so the Internet tells me. But my grandfather died last week! This seems unfair.

2. Sign from beyond the grave.
A dead bird just doesn't seem like Grandpa's style. But I guess it's plausible.

3. Sicilian warning.
Trying to remember if I squealed on anyone recently.

4. Sinister escalation of feud by hippie neighbors.
Currently most likely scenario after "bad omen."

5. Random Halloween hijinx.
And if so, why? We put out Snickers AND Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

6. A cat.
And does this cat hate me...or love me?

Either way, it seems wrong to just wrap the bird in newspaper and toss it in the garbage — bad omen or not. Call me superstitious, but even if it is just a poor bird who made a spectacularly wrong turn, the fact that he's loaded with this much symbolism seems like grounds for a respectful burial. Or at least for my boyfriend to handle it when he gets home. Birds, whatever else they are, are filthy.