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Bird Symbolism & Meanings

Stretch those wings and get ready to soar!

Bird spirit is the perfect symbol for freedom and perspective. Because they fly high into the sky, Lightworkers often tell us that they are messengers of the Gods who provide humans with a bridge between the mundane and spiritual life.

Perhaps it is because of this that the Ancients developed Ornithomany, divination by Bird observation according to species, color and the bird’s movement.

For example, Birds moving from right to left presage success in a personal or professional goal.

Other global symbols and meanings for Bird include:

  • Liberation
  • Air and Earth Element
  • Finding your Voice
  • Harbingers of Spring
  • Luck, love and joy (blue birds)
  • Positive changes (white birds)
  • Health (brown birds)
  • Wisdom (crane)
  • Peace (dove)
  • Faithfulness (hummingbird)
  • Magic (Owl)
  • Strength and honor (Maori tradition)

As you can gather from this list, Bird carries different significance based on cultural outlooks and their behavior in nature.

The Egyptians had a rather lovely take on Bird. When seen after someone’s death they believed the creature escorted the spirit into its new incarnation.

Meanwhile in China lore tells us the Sun’s soul can take the form of a Bird

Fun Bird Fact:
The oldest known Bird was the Archaeopteryx – an odd cross between a feathered dinosaur that could not fly. The name means ancient wing.

Bird Spirit Animal:

When Bird comes to you as a helpmate prepare for a time of transition.

Perhaps you’ve been so grounded as to forget your dreams, or so etheric that you need to get one foot back on terra firma.

Generally speaking, Spirit Birds elevate your consciousness and provide you with self-confidence.

Depending on the type of Birds you’re seeing, there may be other levels of meaning. For example, Dove bears hope and Hummingbird flies backward so you can reclaim lost power from the past.

Bird Totems:

Totems are like a spiritual energy imprint that you’re born with.

In the case of people with Bird totems, they have an affinity for being outdoors and an uncanny way of recognizing when danger is afoot.

Birds are lovers not fighters – they lean toward self-survival and adaptation over a fist-to-cuffs any day.

Thanks to fast thinking and reflexes Bird people can get out of harm’s way quickly, often warning others as they flee.

Bird Power Animal:

There are many occasions that calling on Bird Spirit makes perfect sense.

If you’re feeling boxed in, let Bird release your wings.

Trying to improve your outlook on a situation, fly with Bird to get above circumstances so you can “see” the bigger picture.

Remember to meditate and seek out the specific bird species that closely resembles your goals for greatest success.

Birds in Celtic Symbolism

Birds appear in a variety of lore and Celtic art.

As an illustration, Crane is a Divine messenger who also represents the Higher Self.

The way in which Cranes care so diligently for their young adds the significance of good parenting.

By comparison, the Duck is a Bird that embodies integrity and a simple approach to life. Their ties the Water Element also offer re-connections to your true feelings.

Native American Symbols: Birds

As with Celtic stories, Native American myths see Bird as God’s messenger.

The Sacred Eagle is particularly important as a sign of leadership and strength, while Raven is a trickster whose lessons come with a laugh and Crow represents wisdom.

More Bird Symbolic Meanings:

Hindu Astrology called the Pancha-Pakshi Shastra includes five birds, the peacock, crow, owl, vulture and cock.

In Buddhist tradition Bird represents Buddha himself, Christians see them as souls living in paradise

What Is My Spirit Animal Divider 800x47

33 Responses

  1. Polina

    Today, for the first time, I found your site and I must say it is truly the most informative I have ever encountered while at the same time, it integrates many aspects of symbolic meanings and allow the reader to sincerely ponder on the information that’s being provided! I as actually trying to find information on Magpie feathers. I have read about the Magpie symbolic meanings though it’s its the feathers I am mostly interested in right now. It’s because of this dream I had just a couple of days ago and I just cannot seem to find a clear explanation of it..Bats and magpies appear often in my dreams and have respected their meanings by trying to follow what they’re trying to tell me. They have helped increase my perceptions and have literally influenced me to accept the new ‘me’ and let go of the ‘old’ ways. I was wondering if you have any idea what my dream means and I would love to read your interpretation of it. This dream has been mind boggling me since I saw it..So, I was somewhere in the ocean observing, the waters were calm, the weather a bit cloudy and I see this woman flying down in front of me who was actually a ‘she’ magpie with a human body. She landed a few feet feet away with her back facing me and what was supposedly her closed wings full of black and white feathers. Then she came quietly and started feeding a bird-it was not a bird I recognized, (I suppose some kind of sea bird) and she was serene and quiet while feeding it. Then I went forward and stretch out my hand to caress the bird and try to feed it also but the bird all of a sudden turned and bit my index finger. It took a bite out of it and I was shocked looking at the piece missing from my finger…. Then, I woke up.
    This dream has been on my mind ever since I saw it. I am trying to understand if this dream concerns my love life (my mate perhaps) or an aspect of my life which I have been trying to find a solution to. Was the bird’s bite a ‘love bite’? or something indicating my fears and worries? I am not sure if the magpie bird meaning or the magpie feathers would be of the same interpretation..Any insight would really be helpful!

    • Hello, Polina!

      Thank you so much for the kind words about! I’m so happy you are enjoying the information!

      OK, I’ve thought a good deal about your dream. And, I’m not a dream analyst (but I am a professional psychic medium), so my opinions are purely intuitive.

      Perhaps you might consider some of the following:

      1. My understanding of dreams is that, often times, the other “beings” in the dream can be a reflection of ourselves. So, perhaps Ms. Magpie was actually you. If so, have you turned your back on your “self” lately? Are you neglecting yourself in some manner?

      2. Since water is about our deepest psychic self, our most profound spiritual self, were you in the water or on top of the water when you were “observing”? The waters were calm (yay) but the day was a bit cloudy (bummer). I don’t know if it will help but here’s an article about water symbolism and meanings from my other site

      3. With the bird taking a bite out of your finger – do you have a relationship with anyone who does not appreciate you? Maybe this person is “biting the hand that feeds them”?

      As for the feathers vs the Magpie symbolism – in as far as I’ve ever read and been taught, finding the feathers of an animal is no different than seeing the “whole” animal (if that makes sense).

      Flying women and water makes for a very powerful dream so I really hope these observations help in some way.

      Let me know what you come up with!

      Stay wild,

  2. Olivia Snow

    I actually have a question for you, a close friend of mine passed away. I saw signs of him a couple weeks after death through cardinals and dragon flies. I asked him to send me signs on something that is going on with me, the next day i saw huge amounts of birds flying out of bushes and trees when i walked up to my front door. The next night, there were a bunch of birds in a friends tree and randomly chirping at midnight. What does larger amounts of birds flying away and around symbolically mean?

    • Hello, Olivia;

      Please accept my condolences. Losing loved ones is never easy.

      Your friend must love you very much since he sent so many Birds to visit you – especially Cardinals. Birds have long been associated as messengers of the Gods. They fly to heights that human’s can’t (absent planes, of course) and, so, can reach the heavens.

      The appearance of Cardinals after someone’s death is deeply symbolic:

      1. Red Cardinals symbolize the Root Chakra – where life begins. This tells us that those we love will live again, that we can survive losing those we love and that we will also “live” again. Red is also the color of blood. This represents family ties – even if your friend was part of your soul family and not your “blood” family.

      2. Cardinals are “year ’round” Birds. They do not migrate and they do not molt – they stay the same vibrant colors all year long and they never “leave our side”.

      I believe your friend answered your prayers and sent Cardinals to let you know he’s OK and so are you.

      Now, Dragonflies – that’s a sign that it’s time for you to release old habits which no longer serve you. If you were zigging, now you should be zagging. Life is meant to be a victory dance in the endzone, so don’t let anyone keep you on the sidelines (sorry, I see you’re a Vol so I had to put a football reference in here LOL).

      Maybe read my Dragonfly Spirit Animal article to get more info on Dragonfly Symbolism & Meaning.

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  3. Natja Mie Kristensen

    Hello, first of all thank you for all of the informations!
    I have a question for you. For like a month ago a found a tame crow baby in my street and I took care of it. I could call it down to me on the very first day and the second day I took it to a reservat for wild animals and now there is a bird, I think it’s a dove in my window and it just lie there. I can open the window and it has been there for hours. It looks at me very intense.
    My grandmother from Greenland pasted away for to months back and do you think there is a meaning with this? – I just think it’s very stange.
    Love Natja.

    • Hello, Natja;

      Please accept my apology for the delayed reply and please accept my condolences for your family’s loss.

      How wonderful to have so much Bird energy around you at this time! As Birds symbolize transformation and perspective it makes sense your grandmother might send them to you.

      What’s super interesting to me is the color of the birds – black and white. Completely opposite colors. This could mean it’s time to bring more peace and balance into your world (like with the yin/yang).

      It could mean that it’s time for you to change your perspective. Do you need to see things as being “less” black and white or “more” black and white.

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  4. Natja Mie Kristensen

    And I just remembered two weeks before my grandmother passed away, I could see a white dove every single day on the building across the street. It came everyday.

  5. marion

    One morning my little dog started to carry-on so I went to check and found a tiny hummingbird wrapped tightly in a cobweb and laying in a flower box…I was able to in wrap him though I am old and have moderate tremors and seizures. With unseen help I was able to carefully untangle him from beak back. It was amazing that after some time he was free. Stood on my hand then went round in a circle as if to say Thanks …then up and off into the blue yonder. Some amazing vibes went through me for sure.

    • Hello, Marion;

      Please accept my apology for the delayed reply.

      Oh my goodness! What a magical moment that must have been for you! You know, Shaman believe that Hummingbirds carry the healing energy of whatever herbs and flowers they’ve eaten. And, since you had to free the Hummingbird from it’s bindings I wonder if you’ve felt better since the bird’s visit?

      Thank you for sharing such a sweet story!

      Stay wild,

  6. Mary

    Hi Bernadette,
    Thank you so much for sharing all of this wonderful information!
    I’m wondering if you could give me your opinion on something. I began a meditation class 3 months ago, mostly focused on the breath and energy. We have never discussed anything about symbolism or that seeing meaningful imagery might happen. Just a few weeks ago, when we started focusing on the space between the eyebrows, suddenly I got images of all sorts of eyes, one after another, opening and closing, with blueness coming out of them, plus two human eyes at the end–a blue one looking sideways and then a dark one that rushed towards me., and I felt like I sort of pulled back and it went away. The next day I saw eyes again, but they were farther away, and mostly closed. A couple of them opened a tiny bit, but they didn’t rush at me so I wasn’t as disturbed. Since then, I’ve been seeing a giant bird at the end of each meditation. I thought it was maybe an eagle because of its size, but when it comes close, it has a series of different owl faces. It circles around and then flies forward, and looks back over its shoulder at me and I get the feeling that it wants me to follow. Anyway, do you know if there is symbolism for a bird that seems part one kind and part another kind? (Eagle/owl) Although, it seems to be quite light, so maybe it’s just a huge owl. Its eyes, when up close, are golden yellow/light brown. Any thoughts or impressions at all would be very much appreciated!

    • Hello, Mary!

      You are most welcome and thank you for visiting!

      Wowwwwwww! That’s some intense meditation! Well, the space between the eyebrows is very close to the Third Eye Chakra and its color is Indigo which is a color between blue and violet. So, it makes perfect sense you would see blue during the mediation for that area of the body.

      The eyes rushing toward you might be a sign that you are opening up your psychic awareness a bit too quickly and you might not be ready for it just yet. Maybe take that a bit slower.

      The birds being a mixture of different types of birds is not unusual though I mostly hear about that experience in dreams – not during a meditation. Sounds like you go deeeeeppppp in meditation sessions so perhaps talk to your teacher about making sure that your journeying remains “safe”. If the bird wants you to follow it into the ethers that is potent stuff. Even during meditation when we are supposed to be “letting go”, we still have control so you can always ask the bird who it is and where it wants you to follow it to.

      Hope that helps!

      Stay wild,

      • Mary


        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, and especially for validating that my experiences were real! Since I wrote to you, I’ve been searching online for pictures similar to the bird I saw, and I found it! Ironically, it is called an eagle-owl.

        I have also talked to my meditation teacher and he said what I had seen was meaningless, that it had no place in meditation, and sort of seemed to imply that perhaps I was making it up and indulging myself in fantasies. None of this resonates with me, and as you see, I now have some sorting out to do.

        I am very grateful for your input, because otherwise I might just have believed what he said–for a bit, anyway–I think what I have seen is too strong to just be extinguished

        Anyway, much gratitude for your words of wisdom, and best wishes to you!

        • Hello, Mary;

          You are most welcome. So happy to help!

          On the feedback from your meditation teacher – there are many forms of meditation. To the best of my understanding nothing that happens to us (whether meditating or eating ice cream) is “meaningless”. To tell a student that a vision had “no place in a meditation” devalues the student’s experience as well as potentially cuts short important messages from spirit. Perhaps it could be helpful to you to hang on to your experience and continue to explore it. Remember, no matter the teacher it is YOU who determines the “right” “way”.

          Hope that helps!

          Stay wild,

          • Mary


            Yes, that does help–thank you so much!

            Again, I appreciate your validation and thoughts on what my teacher said. I will definitely hang on to my experiences. I believe they are too important to just dismiss. Thank you again for your help!

          • Hi, Mary;

            Yay! Glad to help!

            Stay wild,

  7. Kate

    I have a specific type of bird who seems to follow me EVERYWHERE I go. It’s gray- An Acadadian Flycatcher I THINK. For several years. They fly onto my stair railings, sit on structures outside but always in my view, flap in front of Windows or sliding doors where I am, they have flown into- hitting the glass of the window of rooms I’m in (even at work) and I once had this same type of bird land on my shoulder at an outdoor restaurant and sit for several minutes- nuzzling in my hair and gently pulling the strings of my top. It became agitated when an employee of the restaurant removed it (for sanitary reasons). I’m not a bird person- in fact, I used to say I didn’t like them. So… What’s the deal? Coincidence? Or something deeper? I think it’s definitely something. Friends think I’m losing my mind. I assure you- it’s ALL true.

    • Hello, Kate;

      Apologies for the delayed reply.

      Well, if you are losing your mind I can assure you it’s not because of your Spirit Animal! LOL 😉

      There is definitely something deeper at work in your life or a Bird that you care nothing about or even like would never keep appearing to you and it CERTAINLY wouldn’t perch on your shoulder and show affection!

      Generally speaking, when an animal we don’t “like” keeps appearing to us, it’s a call for us to face a fear or some component of our “Shadow Self”. Part of the Flyfisher’s symbolism is that only 16% of its young ever make it out of the nest. So, I’m wondering if you have fears surrounding the subject of having children or fears leftover from your own childhood?

      Sure hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  8. Carrie Beth White

    Bird Is My Nickname! I Love You! Thank You For Awesomeness! I Am Truly A FREEBIRD! The Sky Is High And So Am I! Have A Great Awesome Day! <3 (0: God Bless You All! I Love You All!

    • Hi, Bird;

      Please accept my apology. I normally respond much faster. I was on a mini vacation and, then, Hurricane Matthew decided to visit me in Florida. 😉

      You are most welcome! And, thank you for visiting!

      Stay wild,

  9. Jennifer

    I dreamt the other night that my family and I were in the kitchen when the house help came in crying and she was carrying a bird which resembles a white chicken. I don’t know what had happened but she did something and the chickens legs were severed from its body but together still attached to flesh. There was no blood and the chicken was not in distress either. It just sat and looked at us confused about our obvious dilemma. I dismissed it as a weird dream but it has stayed with me since. What could the symbolism possibly mean?

    • Hi, Jennifer;

      Please accept my apology. I normally respond much faster. I was on a mini vacation and, then, Hurricane Matthew decided to visit me in Florida. 😉

      Gosh. That’s a really vivid dream. Well, dream interpretation is not my specialty but chickens represent ‘life in the womb’ (eggs). And, the color white represent purity and innocence. So, perhaps there’s something going on in your own consciousness or with your house staff that might be wrapped up in a fear surrounding beginning, incubating and giving life to something or someone new? A baby, a new business, school, relationship, job, etc?

      Hope that helps!

      Stay wild,

  10. Precious

    Hi. So starting a week ago a group of birds have been flying by my house EVERYDAY around the same time and I don’t know why. I haven’t seen the birds I only hear them and it kinda scares me. Can you explain why this is happening?

    • Hello, Precious;

      When we see flocks of Birds it can be a sign that now is the time to join with others who share our vision and direction in life – especially if all want to fly and attain great heights in their life. There’s no reason to be afraid but, rather, rejoice that Bird energy crosses your path!

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  11. Margo

    Tonight when I was driving home in the dark, I turned a corner about a block from my house. I saw something in the road so I drove around it. There in the road was a large owl standing on the pavement facing me. My husband passed away almost eleven months ago and I feel that he has come to me in the form of a raven. I don’t think this was him. What do owls symbolize.

    • Hello, Margo;

      Please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband. When someone we love transitions to the other side, it can leave a big hole in our heart. But, he’s not ‘gone’ – he’s just in another time and place. You’ll see him again.

      Click to learn all about Owl Symbolism & Meaning.. Also, since your husband is coming to you in the form of Raven – click to learn all about Raven Symbolism & Meanings.

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  12. Letty

    Hi Bernadette,
    My husband and I own a small taco restaurant, and I travel every week an hour away to get fresh tortillas. For the last few months I see a Cooper Hawk on an electric wire looking down at me while I drive by on the same spot. I also saw it once while walking in my neighborhood. Today its back was facing me for the first time. Can you please help me understand the meaning of this.
    Thank you!

    • Hello, Letty;

      Take a few minutes and read through my Hawk Symbolism and Meaning article. It’s very in-depth and can likely help you discover why you’re being visited by Hawks.

      Stay wild,

  13. Richard Chimfutumba

    Hi Bernedetta!

    I have a question for you. What is it mean to dream of a group of doves and crows flying together in a happy way as if they were playing together?

    Stay blessed.

    • Hello, Richard;

      Without knowing what else was going on in the dream, I’ll have to go with the symbolism of each bird. What strikes me most are the predominant colors – black and white. This is balance, the Yin and Yang. Crows are much like Ravens – often associated with death but this is more superstition than anything. Crows do, however, symbolize, shape-shifting and magic. Dove, of course, represent peace and divine love. So, my interpretation of this (especially given today’s political climate in the US) is – you are seeing the world as it can be. All of us, laughing and loving together despite our differences. And, ‘flying high’ together as well! A clear sign that we can achieve great heights it we will all just relax, have a good time and work in harmony.

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,
      PS – in the next couple weeks I’m putting up the Crow and Dove articles so I’ll post them here when they are published.

  14. Richard Chimfutumba

    Yes, that does help. Thank you very much.
    I also dreamed that i was elected as the president of South Africa, i was crying happy in the dream and Obama together with other officials were congratulating me for becoming the president. But am a Zambian and i am still staying in Zambia. Also, i dreamed that i was with our current president here in Zambia talking to each other and other officials. What does this mean?

    • Bernadette King

      Hello, Richard;

      President dreams are very straightforward – they are about control and lofty goals. Since you’ve dreamed about several different presidents, I would say that perhaps you have a calling to make a BIG mark on the world and help humanity in a very BIG way!

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

      • Richard Chimfutumba

        It has, thank you.
        Stay too wild

  15. Tee

    I once dreamt about riding a bird across the skies, when I was a kid. The bird looks like a hawk or a raven. Mostly part of my dreams come true of some sort. But what I am wondering is that what spirit animal am I? I am sure it is a bird but I don’t know which of the bird it is, either a hawk, owl or a raven

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