The following is from line 25 of Amarna letter 35:
ú 1 LUsa-í-li A.MUŠEN.MEŠ (= erû) uš-še-ia-ab-ni
And send me one eagle/vulture(?) augur.
In the context of this letter from the King of Alašiya (Cyprus) to the King of Egypt, this is a very weird request. The King of Alašiya addresses the Pharaoh as an equal. Citing some apparently divinely induced calamity, he apologizes for the meager nature of his greeting gift of copper and the length of time (3 years) he has held up the return of Pharaoh’s messenger. He then promises to send more copper at the Pharaoh’s request in the future. At this point the King of Alašiya lunches into his own request to the Pharaoh: send silver, the “very best silver.” Oh and by the way, please send an ox, 2 containers of “sweet oil” and a bird auger. Following this and blaming his complaint on “men of my country,” he inquires about a past due payment for timber. He is also concerned that the Pharaoh handover the belongings of a messenger from Alašiya who died in Egypt. And after a few addition apologies and concerns he again asks for a “very great quantity of silver.” He closes out the letter by saying that the Pharaoh is, in his estimation, higher than the king of the Hittites or the king of Shanchar (following Moren’s interpretation); that in the future he will double up on greeting gifts; and requesting that they exchange messengers as they had in the past.
William Moran’s, 109, says of this line:
Or “eagle-augury.” The sudden request for a very specialized diviner, along with an ox and “sweet oil,” is surprising, the more so since nothing is known of such a form of divination in Egypt. Ornithomancy, as Artzi, has stressed, is of western origin; for the Mari evidence, see Durand. McEwan suggested that erû refers here to the Neophron percnopterus (Egyptian Vulture), which files over Cyprus (Alašia) on migration to and from Egypt. He sees the request as reflecting the cosmopolitan character of the Egyptian court, not as evidence of a native tradition. [references deleted]
By “western origin” Moran doesn’t mean west of Egypt or Cyprus but west of Mesopotamia. Annelies Kammenhuber, 20, 204, argues for a Hurrian origin for ornithomancy but, in my view, a Hittite or even a Mesopotamian origin should not be ruled out.
Moran, William, The Amarna Letters, (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1987)