Bluebirds have various meanings and symbolism depending on the culture, context, and circumstances. This guide explains all of it for both current and ancient times.
No matter where you live, you’ve likely heard the chirp of a bluebird, stories about bluebirds, or seen beautiful photos of them. These magnificent creatures are not only striking in their color scheme and alluringly haunting in their song, but they also have multiple meanings.
Bluebirds mean different things in different cultures. However, most cultures around the world have similar meanings for bluebirds despite identifying different species of birds as their “blue” bird. Context can change the symbolism and indicate anything from happiness and luck to signs about the weather.
There are three species of bluebirds in North America: Eastern, Western, and Mountain Bluebirds. Eastern bluebirds stick to the east of the Rocky Mountains, while western bluebirds remain west. Mountain bluebirds are all entirely blue, while their cousins have a reddish and brownish tinge.
However, in other parts of the world, bluebird symbolism relates to birds with blue coloring.
Regardless, of location, bluebirds tend to symbolize:
- Luck and prosperity
- Happiness and positivity
- Spring, renewal, and hope
However, there are a few anomalies as well, such as bluebirds meaning th
at sailors are near land, being associated with the sun or the son of the sun, or meaning a life of poverty if encountered on the wrong day.
Several cultures also have legends and myths about bluebirds or blue-colored birds.
Cultural Bluebird Symbolism
Various cultures ascribe different meanings to bluebirds and blue-colored birds. As time has passed, the original messages and meanings associated with bluebirds have transformed. However, present-day bluebird symbolism still includes remnants of how our ancestors regarded bluebirds.
Native Americans have many myths and legends about bluebirds. In many Native American cultures, the bluebird had many associations with the weather and represented hope and spring.
Cherokees associated bluebirds with the wind and thought bluebirds could predict or control the weather.
The Hopis saw the bluebird as a directional guardian that they associated with the West.
In Iroquois mythology, the bluebird fights against Tawiscaron, the evil demigod of winter.
Navajos associated bluebirds with the sun.
The Pima tribe has a legend that tells how the bluebird got its color. The legend says that the bluebird was originally an ugly color but started bathing in a lake every morning singing a magical song about turning blue. On the fourth morning, he came out of the lake without feathers, and on the fifth morning, he came out of the lake with blue feathers.
The Pueblo associated bluebirds with the sun, too. However, for them, the bluebird is the son of the sun.
Russia views the bluebird (or any blue-feathered bird) as a sign of hope and renewal. In times of war between the 1600s to the 1800s, many tales circulated about looking for blue-feathered birds in the field as a symbol of hope. They did not mean they were looking for actual birds on the grass but instead, hope where it seemed bleak.
Additionally, many stories and tales were written during bleak times and published later in Russia, many equating bluebirds to the optimism they wanted to feel.
Since bluebirds don’t live in the British Isles, any Celtic symbolism related to bluebirds tends to refer to the blue tit.
Because the blue tit doesn’t fly far from home, Celtic sailors would see blue-colored birds as a sign that they weren’t far from land. Blue tits were also thought to carry the souls of sailors who have died at sea to heaven.
The Celts also have a superstition concerning a girl’s future based on the first bird a girl sees on St. Valentine’s day. If it’s a blue tit, she will live in poverty.
Asia and the Far East
Qingniao are blue-colored birds (and sometimes green- or black-colored birds) that appear in popular stories, religion, poetry, and art. One myth about bluebirds identifies quingniao as three-legged or one-legged messengers and servants for the Queen Mother of the West, Xi Wangu. They are often depicted as being from the mythical Kunlun Mountain.
By the Tang Dynasty, artwork featuring quingniao showed the birds in a circle, often with three legs, and they often symbolized the sun.
Bluebirds and Spirituality
The symbolism of bluebirds extends to the spiritual for some people. Bluebird’s prophetic meaning relates to the concepts of bluebirds symbolizing future good luck, a promise of new beginnings, and happiness to come.
What does a bluebird mean Biblically? While the Christian Bible contains scriptures about birds, it doesn’t mention bluebirds specifically. However, blue-colored birds have still found their way into Christian legends.
A Christian legend about bluebirds is the story of the Great Flood. A bluebird (usually identified as the blue-colored kingfisher) failed in her duties of letting Noah know if there was any dry land after the Great Flood. Because she flew as high as she could into the blue ether, she ended up with a sun-scorched breast. Legend says that her chest is still red from the sun and the rest of her is still blue from the sky’s reflection.
Bluebirds As Spirit Animals
In Native American culture, spirit animals like bluebirds are spirit guides, which appear when an individual needs strength, support, or guidance. However, many other cultures and spiritual traditions have turned to animals to give them guidance as protective spirits, guardians, messengers, or even gods.
Are bluebirds sent from heaven?
Many people connect birds and angels because of birds’ wings. Thus, for some, the idea of bluebirds and angels go hand in hand. People who seek spiritual significance in animal encounters may see bluebirds as messengers sent to them from heaven or the spirit world guiding them on a path of luck, happiness, and renewed hope for the future based on common bluebird symbolism.
In Native American culture, a totem animal is a spiritual symbol chosen for a person, family, or tribe. Several Native American tribes use bluebirds as their totem animal. The Hopi have a bluebird clan called the Choch-wungwa clan. Meanwhile, the Pueblo tribe has a bluebird clan called the Dólii Dine’é.
Sailors who clocked 10,000 miles at sea would often get a bluebird tattoo for good luck. However, bluebird tattoos also take on other symbolism associated with bluebirds, such as luck, new beginnings, and happiness.
What Do Bluebirds Mean?
Bluebird’s meaning sometimes depends on the context. However, looking for signs from bluebirds isn’t always about feelings. Understanding bluebirds’ natural tendencies can give you clues about the world and help you make predictions about the weather.
You See a Bluebird or a Bluebird Visits You
Seeing a bluebird may indicate that prosperity, renewal, and happy times are on their way to you. If you’re spiritual, you may see it as a divine message announcing luck, new beginnings, or happiness coming your way.
If a bluebird comes up to visit you specifically, looks you in the eye, or indicates some curiosity about you, the encounter can feel more personal. Thus, it may grab your attention more and make you feel there is more meaning behind the encounter, even if you’re not normally superstitious.
A Pair of Bluebirds
Just like having bluebirds regard you personally can feel intense, seeing a pair of bluebirds can reinforce the feeling that a bluebird encounter has significance. So, you might look to the encounter as a sign of good luck, coming changes, or happiness.
If you see two bluebirds together, it’s probably because they’re a mated pair. Since they pair up in fall or winter, it’s not uncommon to see two bluebirds together any time of year. However, the birds you see together may not be a couple since bluebirds are not always faithful to their mates. 25-30% of bluebird broods end up sired by more than one male. So, don’t mistake seeing a pair as a sign of true love.
A Flock of Bluebirds
Seeing a flock of bluebirds isn’t common, so it can feel very special to see dozens of these blue beauties together in one place. Just like with any other bluebird encounter, it can be an event to bring you happiness, help you look forward to new beginnings, and make you feel lucky.
Flocks of bluebirds consist of groups of just a handful of birds to well above 100. There are several natural reasons for flocking:
- They’re young siblings that the parents are still feeding
- They’re foraging with others
- They’re clustering to stay safer from predators
- They’re in a flock while scoping out nesting sites to increase the chance to find a mate
- They’re roosting together to stay warm in severely cold weather
- They’re migrating
Bluebird migration depends on the weather. So, if you see a flock of bluebirds in fall or winter, it can be a sign that cold weather is coming and they’re migrating to a warmer area. You probably need to get out of your winter clothes soon.
Bluebirds at Your Window
Bluebirds are symbols of happiness. Because a window is a barrier, some people may see a bird coming to their window as a sign that something is in the way of their happiness.
Finding a Bluebird Feather
Because bluebirds don’t usually appear in cooler climates in North America until cold weather is over, if you see or find a bluebird feather, it can mean that bluebirds are back and spring is near.
Seeing a Bluebird Eat a Worm
Bluebirds don’t normally eat earthworms except if they’re desperate for food and the weather has made it difficult to find food they normally eat.
In fact, baby bluebirds are not able to digest earthworms. Eating them can cause extreme diarrhea and lead to starvation or even death.
Thus, if you see a bluebird eating a worm, it’s a sign that they’re having difficulty finding food because of the weather, and it would appreciate any food you can offer it like crickets or mealworms (not a true worm).
A Dead Bluebird
What does it mean if you see a dead bluebird? In most traditions, dead birds foretell new beginnings. Since bluebirds are a symbol of new beginnings, seeing a dead one can doubly enforce this sentiment.
The significance of bluebirds after death is a sad one for bluebirds. Unfortunately, if you see a dead bluebird in late winter or early spring, it’s usually a sign that winter is not over and that they migrated north too early. While they often huddle together for warmth, they still sometimes freeze to death in a snowstorm or harsh winter temperatures.
Dreaming About Bluebirds
Dreams about bluebirds have several meanings:
- Resolution to opposing conflicts in your life
If a bluebird talks to you in your dream, it might be because you are feeling lonely and have a void in your life.
Meanwhile, if you encounter a sleeping bluebird in your dream, it may mean that you’ve been comparing yourself with others and shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.
Bluebirds and Weather
While there are Native American beliefs related to bluebirds being a sign of good wind, another common bluebird belief about bluebirds in local aphorisms is that seeing a bluebird means that the next day will be fair.
Seeing the First Bluebird of the Year
One scientifically verifiable superstition in some locations is that seeing the first bluebird of the year indicates that spring is finally on its way.
Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) migrate to warmer climates in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America for the winter. Then, they return to cooler areas of the northern United States and Canada when spring is near.
Superstition also dictates that seeing the first bluebird of spring means that luck will follow. This prediction makes sense since bluebirds have strong ties to luck in many minds.
Bluebirds and Luck
Is it good luck to see bluebirds? People have made connections between bluebirds and luck since ancient times, and the sentiment still rings true for people today.
Bluebirds have always symbolized prosperity, good luck, and fortune, especially in Chinese mythology. While many cultures see bluebirds as signs of goodness and financial increase, the prosperity associated with bluebirds in Asia is much more intense. In fact, in Japan, they even had a Bluebird car line, hoping that the name would bring them luck.
Bluebirds and Happiness
What does the bluebird of happiness mean? Bluebirds are also a symbol of joy, positivity, prosperity, and – above all – happiness. The idea of the “bluebird of happiness” is common around the world. Many plays, poems, and books have used the term “bluebird of happiness” as inspiration, including:
- Les Oiseux Blues by Catulle Menes (book, 1886)
- “Le pays blue” by Marcel Schwob (story, 1892)
- The Blue Bird by Maurice Maeterlinck (play, 1908 – adapted into a children’s novel, opera, and film)
- “Bluebird of Happiness” (song, 1934)
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” featuring the phrase “somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly” (song, 1938)
- “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” featuring the phrase “Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder” (song, 1946)
An art studio in the Ozark mountains called Terra Studios has sold over 8 million glass Bluebirds of Happiness worldwide since 1983 to capitalize on this idea.
Bluebirds in Sales or Business
A bluebird meaning in sales and business is related to luck and prosperity. In the past few years, this symbolic bluebird meaning in business has made its way into corporate speech. When you hear about a bluebird in relation to business, it indicates an unexpected or extremely profitable sale.
Bluebirds and Romance
Symbolism for a bluebird meaning love is not common. However, one old superstition related to bluebirds and romance is that, if the first bird that a maiden sees when she goes out on St. Valentine’s Day is a bluebird, she will marry a happy man but live in poverty.
Bluebirds and Wishes
How do bluebirds relate to wishes?
One of the many bluebird superstitions is that, if you wish upon a bluebird, your wish will come true before sunset. Some people think you have to make the wish before the bluebird flies away, while others don’t seem to think of this as a stipulation.
Bluebirds Have Many Meanings
Bluebirds are in no short supply of meanings, especially considering other aspects of a situation. Thus, it may be initially difficult to understand what they mean when they fly past you or lay at your window. However, keeping your eyes peeled for the context of the situation and what you may be thinking about or feeling when you see them can help you get an idea of the message meant for you.
For many people around the world, bluebirds are a symbol of luck, spring, renewal, and happiness. However, when you understand more about bluebird habits, you can use this information to understand more about what is happening in the world and the weather around you.
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