Bird Meanings – Interpret the Symbolism Surrounding These Winged Ones

Long regarded as serene creatures, we love birds for their patterned feathers and impressive wingspan.

Humans have long been fascinated with them – there’s something about birds and their characteristics that appeal to us, which is one of the main reasons we go bird-watching and place elaborate bird-feeders in our gardens.

Throughout time, birds haven’t just dominated the sky. They’ve also dominated our minds, and have been long regarded as spiritual symbols.

The Ancient Celts believed that birds were the reincarnated souls of highly regarded individuals.

While in Christianity doves symbol peace – as it was the dove who brought Noah the branch that instructed him that he could return to land.

Birds don’t just fascinate us with their chirping and tree hopping; they hold much sentimental and spiritual meaning.

Seeing a bird evokes different emotions and beliefs in people – for instance, if a loved one has recently been lost then someone may see a robin and associate it as a message from this person that they’re okay.

Birds also feature heavily in folklore, channeling our spiritually, and being seen as both good and bad omens.

What is the significance of seeing certain types of birds and can this really reflect what the soon to be future will have in store for you?

Birds and Their Spiritual Meanings

So, let’s begin – there’s plenty of information about birds and their meanings to cover…

If you see a robin flying then this indicates new beginnings are coming your way.

Seeing a lone magpie means ‘one for sorrow,’ like the nursery rhyme lyric. In fact, magpies have long been linked to negative superstitions.

A macaw represents a well-adapted individual – so if you happen to see one of these about then it sounds like you’re in a good place.

If a blue jay keeps on popping up around you, then this means you’re protected.

A raven signifies magic and transformation and seeing one is a message of guidance and self-discovery.

Seeing a swan is a remainder of the significance behind our inner beauty, and how we should use our intuition and awareness to showcase this to the people around us.

While hearing a nightingale’s song means you’re longing for a loved one – this could be the mourning of a loved one, or more positively, a forthcoming transformation.

Basically, there are many difficult birds out there, and let’s face it, they’ve been around for a long time.

Therefore, it makes sense that they have come to symbolize different things throughout times and cultures.

An Eagle in the Day

Regarded as the ruler of the daytime – well, at least when it comes to the bird world. The eagle is one of the ancient symbols of humanity and therefore holds much significance. 

If you’re lucky enough to see one soar above you, this represents healing, religion, enlightenment, and freedom. 

After all, what can be freer than a soaring eagle?

Regarded by many as a symbol of great strength, leadership, and true sight, an eagle empowers us to reach higher, enact true leadership to gain power, and take in the world around us.

It’s certainly true that we can all learn a lot from the eagle. Seeing one means you should find the freedom and courage to look ahead and to be honest and true.

In fact, it’s believed that Zeus, the King of the Gods, chose to change into the form of a sacred eagle so he could better soar through the skies and remain in control of his thunder and lightning powers.

The Owl by Night

Night-time brings with it a whole host of different creatures who choose the twilight hours to surface. 

One of the most well-known nocturnal birds is, of course, the owl. This bird species has long been associated with darkness and magic, which is probably down to its impressive heightened senses in the dark – hoot hoot!

Many Native Americans believed owls accompanied the dead on their journey into the afterlife.

This led to the belief that the hooting of an owl was an unlucky omen – therefore, naughty children were told to behave else an owl would swoop down and carry them away.

Other tribes in Native America viewed owls as majestic and wise creatures who bought great strength – because of this they often featured on totem poles.

While, in Ancient Greece, Athena the Goddess of Wisdom had an owl companion, who she regarded as a symbol for her wisdom and judgment.

In Your Dreams

These manifestations of our subconscious are long believed to symbolize important events in our lives, and in some cases, even predict the future.

Dreaming about birds is no different. In fact, what birds symbolize in dreams can result in some powerful spiritual meanings.

For instance, dreaming of a barn owl means financial success comes your way, while dreaming about an empty nest may mean financial difficulties.

An injured bird may mean difficulties in expressing your opinion.

Dreaming of a bluebird means good luck is coming your way.

While dreaming about a bird with a large beak could be a sign you’ll soon be involved in a scandal.

And dreaming about birds in a cage means contentment with your home life.

Birds That Symbolize Hope and Positivity

Long regarded as spiritual messengers, these feathered friends not only pass through the spirit world, they also symbolize different things including hope, peace, beauty, and freedom.

So, what does seeing certain species of birds represent?

Birds are a sign of new life, cloud-soaring abilities, spiritual openings, symbolism, and hidden meanings.

Read on to find out how many cultures view birds as a symbol of hope and prosperity.

Caring Cardinals

Noticeable for their red plumage, the cardinal is a much-loved bird throughout the world.

For many, seeing a cardinal has much symbolic meaning.

If you’ve lost a loved one then this little bird is long thought to be a messenger, sent from our loved ones to watch over us.

In fact, the word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo, which means hinge – they act as a hinge on the doorway between this world and the next.

As well as being big on spiritual meaning, these colorful birds also mate for life. They’re also considered very loyal, which means that seeing one is full of positive connotations.

In Native American folklore it’s believed that when an individual sees a cardinal, they will have a spout of good luck within 12 days of the sighting.


These peaceful and loving birds are held in high regard – if you see one then it means good things are coming your way.

Found across many cultures and religions, the symbolism of the dove remains good throughout them all.

They remind us to be loving, kind to others, and strive for peace – they also represent our maternal nature.

The dove symbolizes for us to let the wind take us on a journey, instead of sitting back and passing opportunities back.

Although small, the dove is mighty. It fulfills its goals and doesn’t let anything stand in its way, and neither should we.

Seeing a dove also means something new could be coming your way if you chose to allow it – this could be a work opportunity, new friendship, or a blossoming romance.


Although small, this doesn’t stop these little birds from being hardworking and productive creatures – whether this is nest-building or foraging for food.

They represent protection, productivity, joy, and friendship.

So, if you see a sparrow exploring your garden then take this as a good sign.


These peculiar looking birds are also fascinating to watch. From their long-legged walk to lean beaks, they brighten up their surroundings.

Throughout history, storks hold symbolic beliefs. From the bird who brings babies into the world – a story derived from Victorian times, as storks commonly nested on chimneys in the springtime when the birth rate was at its highest.

To a fisherman’s good luck charm – as storks dive underwater to catch their fish, so a fisher can see one is thought to symbolize a good catch coming their way.

Also, understandably, storks are symbols for a mother’s unquestionable love, a long life, and good luck.

Birds That Symbolize Death

When we think of death it usually evokes negative associations in our minds. Death reminds us that we have limited time on this planet, and it causes us to think about the loved ones we’ve lost.

Although death in itself is a word full of negativity, not all birds that represent it are bad omens. With death comes life, which is symbolic in the cycle of birds as well as in humans.


These pranksters of the bird world are highly intelligent.

Many believe that seeing a crow is a bad omen and that they represent darkness and death. This is because they feature heavily in literature and folklore as being associated with witches.

Considered to be messengers between this world and next, they fly back between it to pass on information.

It’s believed that if you see one crow flying past you then bad luck will come your way.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, as in Greek mythology a crow represents the strength of spirit.


Regarded by many cultures to represent darkness and in some cases death, the blackbird gets a hard time.

Yes, they have dark feathers but this doesn’t mean they’re all bad, does it?

Well, many believe they’re messengers of the underworld, and therefore bring bad fortune and malicious intentions your way.

If one circles above your house then this may be news of impending death.

Let’s have some positives for this little bird, shall we? It’s not all bad, as blackbirds remind us to seize the day and be thoughtful about the life paths we take.


Okay, so the black plumage and croak like call don’t help the raven’s image, but they can’t be all that terrible, can they?

Their vocalization range means they represent prophecy and insight.

Yes, they have been a presentation of death, but this isn’t necessarily fair.

Instead, it’s best to look upon a raven as a symbol for purging the bad from your life and making way for peace and positivity.

Yes, some associate them with darkness death and bad magic, but others view them as a presentation of the inner self, prophecy, light, and above all else, transformation.


This legendary bird rises from the ashes – yes, this is very Harry Potter but the phoenix myth has actually been around for centuries.

This fire-feathered bird is a symbol of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

According to legend, only one phoenix can live at a time, so every 500 years it renews itself and rises again from its own ashes.

The phoenix reminds us that from death comes life – and that we shouldn’t fear the darkness.

As bird symbolism goes the phoenix is one of the most significant birds out there – and they don’t even actually exist (although it’d be pretty cool if they did).

Bird Tattoos and Their meanings

As powerful symbols of the spirit world, and representations of peace, freedom, and beauty, it’s no surprise that bird tattoos are popular.

From the colorful hummingbird to the inquisitive robin, getting a bird tattoo has never been more popular, and bird symbolism is big business.

But what are the meanings behind the ink?

Bird Tattoo Representations

The main representation of a bird tattoo is freedom, spiritualism, and a happy life pathway.

Why stay in one place when we can soar high above the clouds? – well, at least metaphorically.

A bird tattoo reminds us never to lose sight of our energy and goals and to remain enlightened, spiritual, and true to ourselves.

As well as the overall meaning behind bird tattoos, the bird you chose also holds personal meaning.

For instance, a hummingbird tattoo represents overcoming difficult times.

A robin tattoo is a symbol of hope and harmony.

While if you opt for a wren tattoo, then this symbolizes activity, vibrancy, and remaining alert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the short and simple answers to some of the most pondered questions.

So, without further hesitation, let’s go…

1. What is the spiritual meaning of a yellow bird?

They’re bright like the sun (well…they’re not quite as bright as that).

These colorful birds mean only good things, such as joy, happiness, and expressing spiritual freedom.

2. What does a bird flying into your house mean?

There’s an important message coming your way.

However, if the bird is either white or dies during its visit, then the meaning isn’t so good, as it represents an impending death…eek!

Bird Symbolism: An Overview

Bird meanings, they’re never-ending.

From happiness, beauty, peace, and power – you name it, there’s a bird to represent it.

Although the meaning behind the bird is extensive and varying, I don’t see the harm in coming to your own interpretations.

If you believe that the crow that keeps on visiting your garden is good luck, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t continue to believe it.

All birds have their own quirks and charms, which is one of the main reasons they’re fascinating to watch.

So, whatever the meaning behind the bird is for you, use it to add a touch of positivity to your day.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.