The Meaning Behind Bird Tattoos

Bird tattoos are tied to some of the most profound meanings in the tattoo world. Since the dawn of time, and almost universally across all cultures worldwide, the bird has symbolized the human spirit or soul, and is frequently connected to the divine. Because birds travel in the air, they were thought to commune directly with the gods, and were often viewed as the guides which carried spirits of the dead to the heavens.

In ancient lore, birds often accompanied Heroes on their quests to defeat villains, monsters, and dragons. The bird could fly on ahead and forewarn the hero of impending danger (giving rise to the popular phrase, “a little bird told me”). Birds are frequently associated with magic, the supernatural, or with religion. Images of birds have been found everywhere, from hovering over mummies in Egyptian crypts to adorning Arapaho Indian Ghost Dance costumes. It is no surprise that our Judeo-Christian depictions of angels and cherubs include bird-like wings. With rare exceptions, the image of the bird is a positive and uplifting symbol.

In tattoo designs, two birds are often portrayed together. Generally, one is dark, the other light (or one in color, one in black-and-white, etc.). This symbolizes the duality of nature (happiness/sadness, light/dark). Sometimes this duality is depicted with the bird and another animal, e.g. fighting a snake to represent good versus evil. Birds are often included with other tattoo images, e.g. they are often added to the branches of a Tree of Life design.

Bird Tattoos and Their Meanings

Parrot Tattoos:

Parrots, to many, symbolize far off tropical climates. They are seen in many cultures as an exotic bird that finds its home in beautiful rain forests or on the beach oif a tropical island. This has made the parrot tattoo a fairly popular type of bird tattoo for a number of years.

Dove Tattoos:

Doves are among the most mythical of all birds. There are a number of concepts and emotions that the dove is supposed to symbolize. The most common interpretation of the dove image is the representation of peace. Doves are considered by many to be a good omen, and are very peaceful creatures. This concept traces back hundreds of years to the likes of the Bible and Qur’an, where the dove was presented as a omen of good fortune in various stories. In many religions, the dove is seen as a divine creature. This has led to many people choosing to tattoo a dove on themselves.

Owl Tattoos:

Owl tattoos are on the completely opposite end of the spectrum from bird tattoos. Owls are generally seen as a lone hunter, who works alone in the night. While this doesn’t mean that every interpretation of what the owl represents is a negative one, there are many old stories that have been passed through the generations that have made the owl out to be a less than trustworthy creature. The owl is also commonly depicted as an all-knowing, intelligent being, and in many old stories the owl is depicted as the voice of reason. There are many different interpretations of what the owl represents.

Eagle Tattoos:

This is one of the popular bird tattoos, especially amongst guys. In general, eagle tattoos are said to be a symbol of strength, independence and fearlessness. The American eagle tattoos are a symbol of honor, patriotism and spiritual growth. Bald eagle is a national symbol of America and is more associated with freedom. One of the popular bald eagle tattoo design is of the eagle with its wings spread and American flag in the background. If you want to get an eagle tattoo design as a symbol of strength, you can opt for the classic design of a soaring eagle, who is ready to jump on its prey!

Swallow Tattoos:

Though these birdies are small, they are quite strong and also popular as bird tattoo designs. Swallows are associated with sailors; sailors believed that swallow tattoos symbolize a safe landing. There are also certain other meanings of swallow tattoos. Some of the popular ones are, two swallow tattoos symbolize freedom, they are also a symbol of loyalty and love. There is an very interesting reason behind these meanings, unlike all other birds, when a swallow chooses a partner, it remains with the same partner throughout its life! This is one of the good bird tattoos for girls, which can also be done by guys.

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