Bird Symbolism: Discover the Hidden Meaning In Your Life

bird symbolism represented by peacock feather
Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Bird symbolism and the secret meanings of birds have intrigued many for centuries. Why do various avian species captivate our imaginations with such potent symbolic values? From the majestic eagles that rule the skies to the delicate hummingbirds dancing amongst blossoms, birds have served as symbols of strength, beauty, and mystique across numerous cultures.

Dive with us into the world of avian wonders, as we uncover the stories and teachings these winged creatures offer, revealing how they inspire us in myriad ways.

My introduction to bird symbolism started a few short years ago. On February 15, 2019, my firstborn and only daughter died unexpectedly. While I’ve yet to uncover the meaning behind why her young life had to be cut so short, a close friend made me aware of a common spiritual belief about a visiting red cardinal. When cardinals appear, angels are near.

It means the visiting bird represents a loved one who has passed away and a sign that your departed loved one is dropping in to say hello. Believing this brings tremendous comfort to me. 

When cardinals appear, angels are near is an excerpt from a poem written by Victoria McGovern. Here’s the full poem:

May you come to find comfort in and remember-
Cardinals appear when angels are near.
So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. 
Keep a look out for the little red bird-
It is there your loved ones will be. 

– Victoria McGovern

Let me take you on a journey through the world of birds and their symbolism.  

Common Symbolism Birds Represent in our lives

Birds commonly represent many things we desire in our lives including freedom, joy, happiness, grace, good luck, rebirth and so much more. Conversely, our feathered friends can mean less desirable outcomes such as bad luck, or an omen of death.

Birds are symbols of freedom because they can go wherever they want. They have the power to travel long distances at high speed and explore the world unrestricted by man-made boundaries.

Birds show us that there is hope and beauty in the world even if our lives are restricted or difficult. They remind us that freedom exists and with it, anything is possible. Watching a beautiful bird soar through the sky brings a sense of joy and peace as we imagine ourselves joining them up above without any struggles keeping us grounded.

Seeing a bird flying can make us feel joyful and light. When we think of birds, we might think of love and grace too.

Birds remind us that there is always hope in life, no matter what challenges come our way. Birds are often associated with joy and even peacefulness.

Over time, the sight of a flock of birds flying together has been seen as a reminder to celebrate each day that we have here on Earth. Even though they have very little control over their journey in life, they still never fail to persevere and bring us joy with every new morning they grace us with their presence.

When people see birds showing up in strange places and times, some cultures say it is a message from beyond the grave. It is believed that if a deceased relative appears as a bird with wings outstretched, then it’s an indication that their spirit has not crossed over yet and will soon meet its destiny.

On the other hand, if a living person sees a bird flying alone or sees two birds flying in formation together, this could also be seen as an omen of death and should take the message seriously.

Birds have also been known to symbolize luck, both good and bad.

Birds often carry spiritual meaning and symbolism. They symbolize freedom, hope, transformation, and more – all of which connect to spiritual energy and messages from the universe.

Birds in your Dreams 

What does it mean to see birds in dreams?

Dreams about birds can mean different things depending on how they look, their behaviors, and the type of bird.

In some cases seeing a bird in a dream can symbolize freedom and being able to overcome limitations or frustrations in real life. It could also represent hope or spiritual awakening as well as joy, beauty, and power.

If a bird attacks you in a dream it could mean something is holding you back from achieving something in your life, but if the bird helps you it may show that something positive will soon come into your life.

Seeing multiple birds in your dream often symbolizes happiness and surprises with good news coming your way.

Dreaming about baby birds generally signifies liberation and freedom but the symbolism becomes more nuanced depending don’t he circumstances and even the color of the baby bird that appears in your dreams.

Bird Tattoos

Bird tattoos are a popular choice for those looking to express their love of the beauty of nature through their body art.

Bird tattoos often symbolize freedom, independence, and hope – which is why so many people choose them as reminders of things they value in life. For example, a hummingbird tattoo could be seen as representing joy and lightness while an eagle could represent strength and power.

No matter which type of feathered friend you choose, it’s certain that your unique tattoo will show off your individual sense of style and make you stand out from the crowd.

Cultures

In North America, birds have long been associated with freedom and rising above challenges. In Asia, many people believe that the colorful feathers of an avian creature represent joy and happiness. In Europe, many cultures see birds as representative of power and leadership.

Let’s explore bird symbolism from various cultures across the globe.

American

In American culture, birds are often seen as a symbol of freedom and independence. When we celebrate freedom in America, we sometimes have a bald eagle, which is the national bird of the United States, at the center of it.

Birds are also seen as a sign of bad luck if they appear on the wrong side or in an unlucky way. But most people look to them for inspiration and hope.

They represent the hope that things will get better and our lives will improve.

Even when life is tough and dark days come, some are uplifting reminders that we can find joy in this world.

American Indian

dream catcher representing bird meaning to native indians

American Indians believe that the spirits of birds are powerful symbols. Every bird has a spirit animal, which is also known as a totem animal or power animal, and each symbolizes something different. For example, they may represent good luck or strength.

Many Native Americans have unique stories about bird symbolism and each has its own meaning attached to them.

Different American tribes even honor different kinds of birds, according to their beliefs. For example, the hawk symbolizes great vision, while the eagle represents freedom and courage.

So if you see a bird in your dreams or around your daily life it can be a message from the spirit world about what you need help with or what you should focus on in life!

Asian

In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and many other Asian cultures, birds represent freedom, wisdom, fertility, and even immortality. For example, in Japan, the crane is seen as a symbol of luck and good fortune because its graceful white wings promise blessings of happiness and loyalty.

In Chinese culture, the phoenix is seen as a symbol of renewal because it has the ability to renew itself by bursting into flames upon death.

In many Asian cultures, crows are seen as messengers from Heaven, reminding us that we must never forget where we came from.

Birds also evoke feelings of love: in Korea when two people are deeply in love they say “you have swallowed my heart like a swallow”.


Mayan

To the ancient Maya, birds were symbols of power and knowledge. They believed that if you touched a bird feather and made a wish, it would come true!

In Mayan cultures, various types of birds were associated with gods, power, and wisdom. For example, the quetzal was associated with the God of Wind and Rain, while the harpy eagle was linked to Kukulkan–the god of creation.

Birds were also seen as messengers between humans and gods or spiritual worlds. To communicate with their gods and ancestors, people might give offerings of feathers to create good fortune in their lives.

To honor these sacred creatures, many traditional Mayan ceremonies involve offerings or rituals involving birds or bird feathers.

Celtic

celtic symbol celtic meaning

The Celtic people have a lot of symbols related to birds that they believe are important. For example, the eagle symbolizes strength and courage while the raven symbolizes intelligence; both of which were seen as desirable traits in the Celtic culture.

Birds also signify spirituality and wisdom, so it’s no wonder Celts use them to represent aspects of their culture. Plus, these symbols still exist in modern Celtic art and tattoos! In fact, if you can find one of these symbols, it might tell you more about what’s important to someone from a Celtic background.

Religions

Judaism

In Judaism, birds symbolize freedom and joy. They are seen as messengers of God because their ability to fly allows them to travel great distances and reminds us that like birds, our souls have no boundaries.

In the Torah, there are stories about doves and ravens being sent out from Noah’s ark to find land. This teaches us that the power of faith will take us on journeys we can’t even imagine!

Christianity

Throughout the Christian religion, birds have been seen as symbols of hope and faith.

What do birds symbolize in the Bible?

In the Bible, God often used birds to send messages to His people.

For example, God told Noah to build an ark with all the animals inside, in anticipation of a great flood that would come. The dove was then sent out from the ark as a sign to make sure everything was safe when the waters had receded.

Jesus also uses birds in his teaching; He instructs us to be like sparrows who “have no worry” for their lives.

Today, we can still feel this message when we look up and see them flying freely through the sky – that we should put our trust in God and rely on Him for our ultimate peace and protection. 

Ancient Mythology & Folklore

Status of Zeus from the Greek Mythology
Zeus. Image by Peter Kraayvanger from Pixabay

Ancient birds had deep symbolic meaning in Greek and Roman mythology, with many different gods represented as birds or having feathery wings.

They were considered messengers from the skies, sacred animals that embodied strength and power, as well as wisdom and knowledge.

In ancient times, a bird was seen as a sign of divine intervention or an omen of good luck—or bad luck. Eagles, for example, were seen as guardians of the gods while crows were thought to bring bad luck.

In some mythologies, birds even gave people special powers to communicate with other realms of existence and gain insight into the future.

Birds symbolized communication between heaven and earth and allowed people to connect with their higher selves in ways that felt both natural and mystical. 

Symbolism by Bird Species

What do different birds symbolize?

Depending on the species of bird, a different symbol can emerge. For example, doves are seen as a symbol of peace and love, while owls represent wisdom, knowledge, and protection.

Below are common symbols associated with specific types of birds. If you’re interested in more insight into that species, follow the link. 

Blue Jay Symbolism

Blue jays symbolize intelligence, wisdom, and protection.

Bluebird Symbolism

Bluebirds symbolize happiness, joy, and good luck!

Brown-Headed Cowbird Symbolism

Brown-headed cowbirds symbolize hope, resilience, and adaptability as they can be found in a variety of places and are determined to overcome challenges.

Chickadee Symbolism

Chickadees are associated with joy, happiness, and playfulness, which are all important aspects of a fulfilling life

Crow Symbolism

Crows symbolize wisdom, courage, and creativity as they are clever animals that can think for themselves and make their own decisions.

Dark-Eyed Junco Symbolism

Dark-eyed juncos symbolize hope and resilience because even in the coldest and darkest weather, they never give up on finding food for themselves and their families.

Dove Symbolism

Doves symbolize peace and hope because they are gentle birds that appear to bring good news.

Eagle Symbolism

Eagles symbolize strength, courage, and freedom.

Hummingbird Symbolism

Hummingbirds are symbols of joy, playfulness, and good luck. They help remind us to appreciate life and all its beautiful moments.

Magpie Symbolism

Magpies symbolize a mix of joy, curiosity, and determination to make the most out of life.

Mockingbird Symbolism

Mockingbirds are a representation of adaptability, creativity, and effective communication.

Northern Cardinal Symbolism

Northern cardinals are symbols of remembrance and love for a loved one who has passed away.

Northern Flicker Symbolism

Northern Flickers symbolize happiness, joy, and new beginnings as they bring a colorful flash of hope into our lives.

Oriole Symbolism

Orioles symbolize freedom, strength, and beauty because they can fly high and fast in the sky, showing us how to persevere and soar with grace.

Owl Symbolism

Owls are symbols of wisdom and intelligence, as they use their sharp minds to survive in the wild.

Pigeon Symbolism

Explore pigeon symbolism in our comprehensive guide, unraveling 21 profound meanings from peace and love to resilience and spiritual awakening.

Pileated Woodpecker Symbolism

Pileated woodpeckers symbolize the joy of exploration and discovery, with their loud calls encouraging us to explore nature and adventure into new places.

Raven Symbolism

Ravens symbolize intelligence, creativity, and being able to find solutions in difficult situations.

Robin Symbolism

Robins symbolize optimism and hope, inspiring us to be resilient and upbeat even during hard times.

Sparrow Symbolism

Sparrows symbolize hope, freedom, and the courage to persevere against all odds.

Starling Symbolism

Starlings symbolize resilience, and hope, as they are small and resourceful birds that are capable of surviving in harsh environments.

Swallow Symbolism

Swallows represent freedom and a soaring spirit, as they fly through the sky with ease and grace!

Woodpecker Symbolism

Woodpeckers symbolize hard work and perseverance, showing that no matter how small you are, you can still accomplish great things if you try hard enough!

Bird Symbolism by Bird Colors

White pigeon symbolism
White pigeon. Photo by Douglas Bagg on Unsplash

Birds come in many different colors, each with its own special symbolism.

  • Red birds are often seen as symbols of strength, courage, and determination. They are also associated with the sun, fire, and passion.
  • Yellow birds are symbols of joy and happiness. These cheerful creatures usually symbolize a sense of contentment and sunny optimism.
  • White birds represent peace and purity while bluebirds embody hope and renewal.
  • Brown birds represent a connection to nature and the earth. For example, owls are thought to be messengers from the gods or spirit guides because of their wise eyes and silent flight in the darkness of night.

Bird Symbolism FAQ

What does it mean when a Bird Hits your Window and Flies Away?

When a bird taps on your window and then flies away, it could be a sign of good luck coming your way!

What does it mean when a bird poops on you?

When a bird poops on you it is that something positive and lucky will happen to you soon!

What do bird feathers symbolize? 

When you find a bird feather, it could be a sign that life is full of new possibilities, and no matter how small something may seem, it can still have great power. If it’s a black feather, it symbolizes protection and strength.

What do two birds symbolize?

Two birds often symbolize love and friendship. They can stand for the joy that comes when people come together to share special moments.

What do three birds symbolize?

Three birds symbolize freedom, joy, and hope. They remind us that no matter what troubles we may have, there is always something to be thankful for.

What do blackbirds symbolize?

Blackbirds symbolize hope and optimism. They remind us that in even the darkest times, we can strive for a better future.

What bird represents death?

In some cultures, the bird that symbolizes death is a Raven because of its dark color and its loud cawing. Ravens are a type of large bird and are seen as ominous or bad luck to some people.

What does it mean when a bird crosses your path?

Seeing a bird crossing your path might mean that something unexpected is about to happen. It could also be interpreted as a sign of good luck.

What does a flock of birds symbolize?

A flock of birds symbolizes freedom and unity. They are a reminder that together we can go further and do more than apart.

Which bird symbolizes friendship?

The dove is a symbol of friendship because it represents peace and love. Doves are often seen with an olive branch as a sign of hope for a bright future in friendship.

Which bird symbolizes protection?

The bird that symbolizes protection is the eagle. They are known for their sharp eyesight and powerful wings, allowing them to watch over their territory and protect it from danger!

What bird symbolizes life?

Birds often symbolize life in literature and artwork because of their ability to fly freely. They are seen as symbols of hope, joy, and freedom because they can break free from the boundaries of the earth and soar higher than the clouds.

What birds symbolize healing?

Bird species that symbolize healing include doves, ravens, and peacocks. Their appearance in art, literature and mythology is often associated with ideas of hope, recovery, and resilience.

Is a bird a good omen?

A bird can be considered a good omen when it shows up unexpectedly. For example, if you are feeling down and a bird flies near you or lands on your shoulder, it may symbolize hope, love, luck, and happiness. 

What bird symbolizes a new beginning

Many people believe that the dove is an important symbol of a new beginning. Its white feathers and gentle movements remind us of hope, rebirth, and fresh starts in life.

What bird represents the future

Modern bird species that represent the future are those that can adapt and survive in ever-changing environments. This could include birds that are good at finding food, building nests, and figuring out how to protect themselves from predators.

what bird represents strength?

Eagles are powerful birds that symbolize strength and courage. They have sharp talons, and acute vision and can soar through the air with power and agility, inspiring admiration in all who see them.

Conclusion

Birds have been a part of many cultures for centuries and their symbolism has had many meanings throughout the years.

Birds evoke a deep spiritual connection with us and with nature. They can bring us messages, warnings, comfort, or joy depending on what sort of bird it is.

Never underestimate the power of birds to connect with something much larger than anything you could ever imagine. By understanding the symbolism behind birds, we can find deeper meanings in our own lives.

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