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Pretty Enthralling: Bird Symbolism and Their Meanings

Bird Symbolism and their Meanings
Most of us take delight on seeing a fleet of geese flying in a V-shaped formation, and often take it as a sign of victory. Birds for that matter, with their ability to fly high in the sky, are taken to be anything from signs of freedom to transition.
Cheryl Mascarenhas
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Most of us see birds as a symbol of freedom, or even as symbols of the future. Their ability to soar high into the sky and their proximity with the sky makes them desirable for humans who cannot fly without substitute wings. From time immemorial, mankind has considered birds to be signs of eternal life. Many stories and folklore suggest that birds were taken as signs of renewed life, often as a transition between life and death. Many even consider them to be an idea or proposal for the future.
The Symbolism of Birds and their Explanation
"Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught
The dialect they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!"
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 'Tales of a Wayside Inn'
Blackbird, Bluebird, and Blue Jay
Seeing a blackbird for most is a sign of a good omen. Apart from being a good omen, it could also refer to a heightened awareness either spiritually or in your personal life. It could also imply shyness and insecurity, which directly implies lack of self-confidence. It could infer to being vulnerable to the decisions made by others. The color black, as we know, is associated with supernatural prowess, hence lending the individual who sees a blackbird frequently in his dreams a mystical and magical feel.

Bluebirds are associated with spiritual joy and contentedness; it most often predicts the occurrence of a happy condition or good tidings coming your way. It is symbolic of a transition or spiritual awakening. It may also refer to the craving of an individual for the inner child which would obviously mean innocence.

A blue jay could mean anything from being faithful to your spouse to purity of the soul, which definitely implies a gentle human being. To an extent, it means clarity in thoughts and actions of the individual. Blue jays are symbolic of adaptability; besides, seeing a blue jay either in its natural habitat or in your dreams could also send across a message to develop an innate talent.
Canary, Cardinal, Chickadee
Canaries are happy birds that spread joy and a sense of well-being. For some, a flying canary could be a sign of freedom, while for some others it could be a sign of spread of unwanted information that we know as gossip. It could also mean that you as an individual, is the cause behind the gossip. A canary is also a symbol of selflessness, sexual ecstasy (flying canary); in the extreme, it could mean entrapment (caged canary).

Red is the color of love, and it is but natural to associate a red cardinal with love and warmth. It could be a reference to a possible passionate encounter or a sign of you settling down in life with the person you love. Besides, it could mean delight by way of accomplishment of a good deed.

Chickadee is symbolic of higher thinking capabilities, which implies a better understanding of the self as well as that of the world. It also refers to fearlessness with regards to expressing oneself, and being happy in the self, the individual tends to be truthful and faithful to others around.
Chicken, Crane, Crow
You must be familiar with idioms like 'chicken out' or 'chicken-hearted' - what it essentially hints at is - the individual is not brave enough to face difficult situations and is timid. If you happen to see a hen sitting on her eggs, take it as a sign of fertility and protectiveness. Seeing a chicken with its head cut off would symbolize hysterical futility as the individual is apparently not thinking logically.

Cranes provide myriad symbols for interpretation; basically it is associated with renewal and rejuvenation of the body and the spirit. It is symbolic of peacefulness and the ability to resist trauma and generally as a healing measure. It could also mean that the individual who sees it is curious to take up matters in his/her hand.

Crows are a symbol of mysticism and the 'other world'. Most cultures believe that the crow is symbolic of ancestral souls. Seeing a crow could be interpreted as a straight talker or an arrogant speaker. Seeing a crow could also hint at the individual being a master of illusions.
Dove, Duck (tame), Ducks (wild)
Purity and innocence best define the dove. For a Christian, it is a sign of hope and the descent of the Holy Spirit. It is also a sign of pure love and compassion, many sayings also insist, be gentle like a dove. It could be a hint to a compassionate and gentle individual.

Don't fall in for the name, even though they are tamed ducks, they tend to be relatively aggressive especially when you confront them. Seeing it would symbolize your own aggressive nature when confronted by an unknown force. It is also a sign of marital bliss and simplicity. At times, it could be seen as spiritual vulnerability. Besides, it could also be a sign of honesty.

Quite an irony if you go by what its name suggests; a wild duck is relatively peaceful and sensitive. It refers to the individual self who, when confronted is aggressive, but if left by himself is actually sensitive and peaceful. People who happen to dream of wild ducks in particular love their individuality and are a contented lot, and most importantly have a heightened awareness of themselves and others around them.
Eagle, Falcon, Flamingo
Seeing an eagle could mean anything from prosperity and success to a contemplative individual. It is not a rare sight seeing eagles and its meaning would definitely be different in the situation in which you see it. It could mean an act of generosity or kindness of the individual. It could mean triumph of light over darkness, self-confidence, intellectual freedom, positive energy, and renewal. It could also mean a royal bearing. It is likely to be symbolic of inner healing and enlightenment as well. Some cultures see eagles as an act of faith soaring high. It could also refer to a person with a forbearing personality.

Falcons like eagles are taken as signs of hope and positivity. Seeing a falcon could imply some sort of help coming through to you. It also signifies heightened spirituality and freedom. For some of you, it could also mean a spiritual message or help coming to your aid.

Flamingos refer to an outgoing personality. It also denotes responsibility, vibrancy, and grace. Seeing a flamingo could be interpreted as being family oriented and having a well-balanced personality. Flamingos encourage you to be social and vibrant in life. Besides, it is also a sign of responsibility and leadership.
Geese, Hawk, Hen
Old quacks, that's what old people are called, ain't it? Well, geese are symbolic of an individual who can babble nonstop for hours on end. It could also mean a happy-go-lucky attitude towards life. At times, it could symbolize apparent foolish behavior or a desire to escape problems. Besides, they could also mean quarrelsome individuals (tame goose), fidelity and loyalty towards spouse and family (snow goose), and a devout Christian (gray goose).

Hawks, eagles and falcons are known to be messengers of the sky, and are symbolic of spiritual awareness and spiritual rejuvenation. Reach for the sky applies not just for eagles but for hawks too, seeing a falcon should be taken as a message of inspiration and logical thinker. A falcon is a reminder to lead an honest and truthful life.

She is a 'Mother hen'. You must have cribbed of so many people in this way, if they have fussed over you! Hens are a sign of fertility and being a mother figure to someone. If you happen to see a hen sitting on her eggs, it could mean that you as an individual can be guarding some secret or are very secretive, not allowing anyone to know what goes on in your life. Seeing a hen could also mean you are highly susceptible to danger, are intellectually impoverished and panicky as an individual.
Heron, Hummingbird, Ibis
A heron refers to a self-reliant, independent individual free to make decisions. It basically points out to an individual who strives for reasoning and is aware of the happenings with himself/herself and the world around at large. It is a good omen and also a symbol of Christ on the mount of olives. Seeing a heron could be interpreted as longevity in life. People who constantly see herons in their dreams are considerably good at dealing with other people and make good leaders.

Who doesn't like eternal life? Seeing a hummingbird won't mean giving you eternal life, but it is considered as a sign of permanence. The hummingbird symbolizes an optimistic approach to life, it reflects on the gentleness of the individual. Besides, it also stands for devotion and spiritual awareness of the individual. Also, it is symbolic of joy and the stopper of time.

All I can say about ibis is that, it is considered to be a scavenger, and seeing an ibis refers to a spiritual esoteric or rare and unusual interest. The ibis probe the mud for food, hence symbolizing a person dwelling in evil, and feeding it to others around as well. The possibility of a transformation or change is inherent when you see an ibis. It connotes devouring deadly deeds.
Kingfisher, Macaw, Magpie
Kingfishers denote beauty, agility and refer to serenity and a peaceful approach to life. If you happen to come across a kingfisher, it could be symbolic of success and prosperity coming your way. Seeing a kingfisher could also be symbolic of your faithfulness towards your spouse.

Macaws are highly intelligent and vibrant and hence, symbolize an ability for higher thinking and intellectual individuals. It also is a pointer to the awakening of psychic abilities. An individual is made up of male and female energies and seeing a macaw is indicative of a balance between the two energies. It is also symbolic of resourcefulness of the individual and represents a well-adapted and adjusted individual.

Magpies are symbolic of happiness and jovial approach to life, yet it can denote a shaky personality. It can also be a reference to unpredictable behavior or situations occurring around you. It denotes lack of discipline in life and an individual with a highly deceptive nature. In the extreme, it could also symbolize marital bliss.
Mockingbird, Nightingale, Owl
The name says it all, mockingbirds are but that, and they symbolize a person who lacks individual expression. It could be taken as a sign of rebuke and the innate ability to imitate people and situations around you, thus making a mockery of yourself. It could also mean that you or someone close to you is committing adultery.

Everyone is aware that a nightingale's song refers to love and longing, what it could also mean is a sign or warning of an impending death. It could also refer to praise for acts of charity or may be a good omen. With its natural ability to sing, it symbolizes a creative individual who is unearthing his/her potential. It could also refer to someone who has taken up the responsibility to bring about a transformation or reformation.

Wise as the owl or not, owls are symbolic of an inquisitive individual. It also refers to a contemplative and virtuous individual. You can take it as a sign of enlightenment, and of course, wisdom. Many folktales mention it as a harbinger of death. Beware though, seeing an owl could either mean you are being judged or are making a false judgment about another. It could also mean a warning of danger lurking around.
Parakeets, Parrot, Peacock
Parakeets are good to look at but unfortunately the symbolism is just the opposite. Seeing parakeets flying could bring a sense of freedom yet seeing one that is caged could refer to your relationship that is caged and stuffy. It is also symbolic of lack of freedom. If you happen to see them in your dreams, it could be hinting at a message being conveyed to you.

Parrots are symbolic of an individual who lacks a personality of his/her own, it simply means it is dependent on another for views, opinions and ideas. Parrots are known to be imitators and seeing parrots could mean you or someone is making fun of someone. It is also considered a bringer of rain and seed.

Pride goes before a fall, and peacocks with their magnificent beauty are associated with pride. It refers to conceit or falseness of a person. It could be symbolic of success and goodwill and to an extent, is associated with immortality. It may also mean universal consciousness and birth.
Pelican, Pheasant, Phoenix
If you have watched Finding Nemo, then you will know, that pelicans are symbolic of abundance, besides, they are also symbolic of acts of charity and generosity. Seeing a pelican could mean that you believe in selfless service to others. It could also refer to a sacrifice or sacrificing attitude.

Pheasant symbolizes a spiritual seeker and harmony. It could also be a sign of wickedness, and secrecy. For someone who is going astray, seeing a pheasant could mean giving in to seduction. Take it as a sign of warning and supernatural calamity.

Phoenix, as you know, is a mythical bird, seeing it in your dreams could be a sign of bouncing back from adversity. It is a symbol of immortality, resurrection, and of spiritual rebirth or transformation. It could also be taken as a sign of aggressive behavior.
Pigeon, Raven, Roadrunner
Pigeons represent the lost culture of the young generation, it also refers to ignorance, blaming, and gossiping nature of people. It is taken as a sign of courage to take the blame on to oneself.

Ravens are considered to be sign of good omen, yet they are harbingers of misfortune and deception. They are a sign of alertness, mystery, watchfulness, and an adjusting personality. In general, they are considered to be symbolic of the recognition of spiritual lies and also a reminder of God's love.

Spotting a roadrunner could mean that you are a fast, have great reflexes, are a quick thinker and have leadership qualities. It could also refer to a well-adjusted and adapted individual.
Robin, Rooster, Sandpiper
Robins are symbolic of a rebirth or the beginning of a new idea. It is a gateway to new opportunities, and refers to patient outlook towards life. It is also symbolic of growth in personal and spiritual life. It also symbolizes selfless and sacrificing nature of the individual.

Roosters are symbolic of aggressiveness and a warning of impending danger, it is also reflective of the shimmering aspects of personality, awakening of ideas, and spirituality.

Sandpipers are symbolic of heightened paternal instincts and a quick wit. It refers to an adventurous spirit and an explorer of the wild. It also refers to a focused approach to life.
Seagull, Sparrow, Stork
Seagulls are highly intelligent and refer to intellectual abilities. They may denote freedom and are considered messengers too. Some say that seagulls denote the sea God 'Lir'. However, they lack concern for life/things. You can take it as references to skillful approach to life.

Sparrows are sweet, gentle, little birds that symbolize companionship, and a symbol of hope. They are also a sign of fertility, intelligence, ancestral knowledge, renewal as well as rejuvenation of the spirit.

The stork came visiting! Seeing a stork symbolizes a creative and speculative individual. It also refers to birth and rejuvenation; besides it points to a philosophical approach to life.
Swallow, Swan, Tanager
Seeing a swallow could refer to having a disciplinary approach to life. It could also connote rejuvenation of the spirit and is symbolic of the relationship between two brothers. It is also a harbinger of spring and may attribute to the love Goddess, Aphrodite.

Swans with their beautiful white features, refer to inherent spirituality, the purity of soul, and innocence. It also refers to faithfulness towards family and spouse. It is also a sign of honesty and integrity, elegance, and grace. It may points towards a spiritual awakening, or may be a sign of impending death as well. Some consider the swan to denote hypocrisy, possibly due to the black flesh.

Tanagers refer to an individualistic and egocentric individual. It could also refer to restlessness due to an impending warning. It refers to bloodshed, noise, or may be the spiritual awakening of the individual.
Toucan, Turkey, Vulture
Toucans can symbolize blooming partnership/companionship. It could also refer to relaxation and peace. It lends importance to teamwork and family and is a warning of impending death.

Turkey is symbolic of sacrifice and it lays stress on family togetherness. It implies healing of the body after critical surgery and spiritual rejuvenation. It refers to a selfless individual and symbolizes a rapid rise from a sticky situation. In contrast, it denotes restlessness and acquisition tendencies as well.

Vulture refers to a greedy individual. It also refers to a prophetic or demonic approach to life. It could also mean a visionary and harbinger of impending death and gloom.
Woodpecker, Ostrich, Quail
Woodpeckers are protectors of the trees and refer to people who are protective of nature and their surroundings. They are herald rain and storm and are the guardian of trees. They also refer to an apparent surge of power and an industrious outlook towards life. They are also symbolic of prophetic and mystic powers.

Ostriches are believed to be shy and evasive, yet seeing an ostrich could be representative of a contemplative personality. Like the peacock, it is also symbolic of pride, seeing it could also mean you are a religious hypocrite faking your faith. In some cultures, it is taken as a sign of fertility and .

Quails live in groups, hence symbolizing group harmony. That is possibly the reason they are considered protective and family-oriented. The quail is a symbol of lust and love. For some, it is a symbol of victory and even more, an ability to overcome obstacles.
You are sure to find lots of similarities between the symbolism of birds, not only birds but also with animals too. The symbolism varies again in different regions. Where in one culture a certain bird may be considered as a good omen, in some other culture, it stands for a bad omen. Ultimately, interpreting birds is up to you and your beliefs. Keeping symbolism apart, if you ever find yourself bored and have nothing else to do, try bird watching. Don't waste your time trying to identify them and hunt for their significance, simply lose yourself to their chirping and rejuvenate yourself therein.