There is no exact definition for any symbol; all symbols are open to interpretation and birds are no exception to this. Their symbolism can vary greatly depending on different cultures and religion. The bird is generally thought to symbolize freedom, they can walk on the earth and swim in the sea as humans do but they also have the ability to soar into the sky. They are free and many consider that they symbolise eternal life; the link between heaven and earth. Many cultures believe that certain symbols are an omen of impending birth or death. In the traditional English rhyme the sight of three magpies signifies the birth of a girl whereas seeing four magpies signifies the birth of a boy. Seeing a particular number of Magpies determines whether it is a good or bad luck symbol:
"One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a girl, four for a boy,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told"
Bird Symbol - Origin
The earliest known bird was the 'Archaeopteyx' and lived approximately 147 million years ago.
Bird Symbol - Meaning
Many birds have deep symbolic significance. Birds are said to be able to communicate with gods; they can ascend into heaven and birds are even a feature of the Tree of Life often depicted with a serpent at their feet. The symbol of the blackbird for example has a deep significance to Christians. The Devil appeared to St Benedict to tempt him in the form of a blackbird. In Christianity, Blackbirds also symbolise temptation of the flesh. The bird also has symbolic meaning to other religions:
In Islam it is believed that souls of Infidels enter birds of prey whereas the souls of the faithful enter the tree of life
Bird Symbol in Buddhism: A bird symbolisms the Lord Buddha
Bird Symbol in Christianity: Christians believe that birds or winged creatures represent the souls in paradise
Hindu: The mythical bird Garuda is the bird of life, of the sun and the sky. The Garuda bird appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology
Other cultures have their own theory on the symbol of the bird. The Maori people believe that the symbol of the bird man is the all-seeing being with strength and valour. The Celtic people believed in the spiritual symbolism that the bird symbol was a messenger of the gods. The bird symbol of the Raven and the Wren specifically had magical powers. The ancient Egyptians believed that the bird symbol represents the power of the soul leaving a persons body. The ancient Chinese philosophy Taoism (also known as Daoism) believes that a three legged red crow which lives in the sun symbolises the Great Triad which is the three great powers of being: Man, Heaven and Earth.
'That ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird.'
Bird Symbol - Facts
Many flocks of birds are believed to have supernatural and magical powers are are associated with gods; the Wren and the Raven in particular
The Mockingbird is the state bird for the following US states: Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas
The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of seven US states
In China, it is believed that the soul of the sun takes the form of a Crow or a Raven
The Raven is believed by some cultures to be a symbol of impending death! It is believed to be able to smell death before it occurs
Native Americans and Africans believe that a Raven guides the dead on their journey to the next world or afterlife
Three US states hunt their state birds, these are the California Quail in California, the Common Pheasant in South Dakota and the Ruffed Grouse in Pennsylvania
In Scandinavia, the Raven is thought to contain the soul of murdered people
The ancient Romans detested Owls as they saw them as a symbol of death
Birds are considered by many cultures to be symbols of wisdom and intelligence
In Western Art, the bird often symbolizes touch and air
Bird Symbol - Crow Symbol
Find out interesting information and useful facts about the Crow. This free symbols resource on birds provides interesting, educational and amazing facts and information, together with pictures, photos and a fun video on the different symbols. Lots of useful information on the Crow. Did you know that the Crow was sacred to the Greek god Apollo? Just one of a selection of amazing facts on the Crow!
Bird Symbol - Dove Symbol
Did you know that the environmental group Greenpeace uses the image of a dove carrying an olive branch as a symbol of peace and hope? This is just one of a selection of interesting facts on the dove as a symbol. A useful free educational resource for all ages. Discover a wide range of useful facts on the dove symbol, fun, free and educational!
Bird Symbol - Blackbird Symbol
Birds are generally thought of as symbols of freedom. Did you know that the Blackbird is commonly thought to symbolise temptation of the flesh? This free symbols resource on birds provides interesting, educational and amazing facts and information, together with pictures, photos and a fun video on the different symbols including the blackbird.
Bird Symbol - Bald Eagle Symbol
Find out about the Bald eagle, interesting facts and information. Did you know that the The Bald Eagle is the national bird or symbol of the US? Lots of useful information on the bald eagle symbol including dream interpretation. Lots of interesting information and useful facts about the iconic bald eagle.
Bird Symbol - Swan Symbol
Find out lots of interesting and useful information on the symbolism of the Swan. Were you aware that unlike other birds, the male and female swans are the same color? The only obvious difference is size, male swans are larger than females. This free symbols resource on birds including the swan provides interesting, educational and amazing facts and information, together with pictures, photos and a fun video on the different bird symbols.
Bird Symbol - Hummingbird Symbol
This free symbols resource on the humming bird provides interesting, educational and amazing facts and information, together with pictures, photos and a fun video on these wonderful creatures. Did you know that the humming bird is the only bird that can fly backwards? Its true! Find out lots of educational, interesting, fun and most importantly free facts about the amazing humming bird!
Bird Symbol - Phoenix Symbol
The Phoenix is known as the 'fire bird'. It is in fact a mythical bird and also a symbol of the sun. This is just a selection of the interesting and educational facts on the Phoenix symbol. Discover what it means to dream of a Phoenix, what is the religious significance of this amazing bird?
Bird Symbol - Crane Symbol
Did you know that Native American men perform the Crane dance dressed in feathers and ceremonial outfits in order to impress a potential wife? Amazing but true! Click on the link above to find out more about the crane symbol. A great educational resource for all ages. Discover all you need to know about the Crane!
Bird Symbol - Owl Symbol
The owl is considered by many to be a symbol of wisdom, a wise bird. In fact they are no more intelligent than any other bird! Find out all you need to know about the owl. we have included lots of educational, interesting, fun and most importantly free facts about the amazing owl! A great selection of bird facts. What does it mean to dream of an owl? Find out all you need to know!
Bird Symbol - Peacock Symbol
Did you know that Peacock feathers are considered to be unlucky? It is thought the 'evil' eye on the feather will be a symbol of bad luck for the owner. This is just one of a selection of interesting and educational facts about the Peacock, a truely unique bird. Use this free educational resource, its suitable for all ages. Discover a wide range of useful facts on the peacock symbol, its fun, free and educational!
Bird Symbol - Duck Symbol
Lots of interesting and unusual facts on the Duck symbol. Did you know that Peking Duck is one of the national dishes of China? Its a fact! Find out what the Christian significance of a duck is. What does it mean to see a duck in your dreams? Find out the answers, all you need to know about the Duck symbol!
Bird Symbol - Raven Symbol
Did you know that some cultures believe the Raven to be a symbol of impending death! The raven bird is believed to be able to smell death before it occurs! Scary but true. Find a selection of interesting and educational facts on the Raven. Why is the Raven mentioned in the bible? Discover a wide range of useful facts on the Raven symbol, its fun, free and educational!
Bird Symbol - Bible
The bird is mentioned several times in the bible and the symbol is referred to in different contexts:
Food (Deuteronomy 14:20)
"You may eat all clean birds. But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind; every raven of any kind; the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind; the little owl and the short-eared owl, the barn owl and the tawny owl, the carrion vulture and the cormorant, the stork, the heron of any kind; the hoopoe and the bat. And all winged insects are unclean for you; they shall not be eaten. All clean winged things you may eat."
Singing (Psalms 104:12)
"The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches."
Sacrifice (Genesis 15:9-12)
"So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away."
Bird Symbol - Dream Explanation
Dream of a chirping bird or a flying bird? This symbolizes joy, harmony, ecstasy, balance, and love. It indicates a sunny outlook in life. You will experience spiritual freedom and psychological liberation. It is almost as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders
Dream of a dead or a dying bird? It is thought to symbolize a period of coming disappointments. You will find yourself worrying over problems that are constantly on your mind
Dream of bird eggs? This dream is said to symbolize money!
Dream of bird hatching? This dream is thought to symbolize future success
Dream of a bird nest? This symbolizes independence, refuge and security. You need something to fall back on. Alternatively, it may signify a prosperous endeavour, new opportunities as well as fortune
Bird Symbol - Dream Interpretation
The following explanation of dreams is taken from the book entitled 'Dream Dictionary (10,000 Dreams Interpreted - by Gustavus Hindman Miller)':
It is a favorable symbol in a dream to see birds of beautiful plumage. A wealthy and happy partner is near if a woman has dreams of this nature
Moulting and song less birds, could denote merciless and inhuman treatment of the outcast and fallen by people of wealth
To see a wounded bird, is fateful of deep sadness caused by erring offspring
To see flying birds, is a sign of prosperity to the dreamer. All disagreeable environments will vanish before the wave of prospective good
To catch birds, is not at all bad. To hear them speak, is owning one's inability to perform tasks that demand great clearness of perception.
Bird Symbol - Color
The bird is without doubt the easiest of all animals to identify. Birds all share the same characteristics: wings, feathers and beaks but they vary greatly in size and most importantly color. In general, a male bird tends to be brighter and have more colorful feathers than a female bird, this is because the male uses his colorful feathers to attract a mate or to warn an intruder that they are trespassing on their territory. The females duller coloring makes it more difficult for attackers to see them while they are on their nest.