What Do Birds Symbolize? Unveiling All Mysteries Surrounding Birds

What Do Birds Symbolize

You’ve come across birds while walking through your countryside residence. The birds are breathtaking, and their singing is soothing. You find yourself wondering whether the birds symbolize something.

Yes, depending on traditions, religion, and culture, birds are symbols. The symbols are in Greek mythology, European folklore, Indonesian folklore, and Egyptian mythology.

Most of these symbols are mind-blowing and sometimes based on superstitions. The symbolism of birds wasn’t just in ancient times; the modern man still holds on to some symbols. 

Birds are often associated with the transition from life to death, freedom, renewal, divine intervention, hope, and eternity. It’s best if you remembered that not all symbols are good.

Birds Bearing Positive Symbols

Here are some birds that you might want to come across on a bad day. They represent and symbolize the good side of life. They include;

1. Owl

This mysterious bird comes top of the list. The nocturnal bird spends a lot of time in the darkness, relating to the moon and magic. In many cultures, owls are a symbol of wisdom and femininity.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena had an owl as her symbol. The owl gave Athena the ability to see the whole world. This is a myth, of course, but those vast eyes seem to see everything.

Though a symbol of intelligence, there are some harmful superstitions associated with the owl. The superstitions associate the bird with death and doom. And many cultures around the world believe it to be true.

2. Eagle

An emblem of the American nation, the bald eagle symbolizes freedom and strength. The founding fathers of America were not wrong to pick this bird.

Eagles fly higher than all birds, and this is associated with power. Eagles give one the stamina and resilience to keep going. Visionaries and seekers are also associated with eagles.

Native Indians saw eagles as a symbol of leadership. Apart from strength, they also symbolize honesty—all of which are qualities of a good leader.

3. Swan

You’ve watched swans and had a feeling that they are sacred. The feeling wasn’t wrong; these elegant birds are sacred from time immemorial and Greek mythology. Swans bring a deep sense of peace and tranquility.

European fairytales depict swans as a symbol of purity. Maybe it’s because of the white feathers, but you shouldn’t think of killing a swan while in the United Kingdom. It’s illegal.

A unique fact about the swan is that they mate for life. This fact has made swans be a symbol of loyalty and monogamous marriage.

4. Sparrow

Known as keepers of the ancestral knowledge of the old Celtic tradition, sparrows are one of the most common birds. 

The symbolism of these friendly birds has been changing with geography and also time. A common belief is that they predict joy, community, hard work, and simplicity.

Indonesian folklore, Chinese culture, ancient Egyptian culture, and Greece mythology all view sparrows as a good omen; however European folklore states otherwise. The Europeans were encouraged to catch and kill sparrows as they were a sign of death.

5. Cardinal

Often spotted in pairs (a female and a male), cardinals symbolize romance, intimacy, and fertility. However, there is more to these birds than love. Not that love isn’t significant.

This red bird typically represents the blood of Christ, obviously in Christianity. The cardinal is a sign of hope, and when it appears, it is a messenger from heaven. The bile does give several instances where God sends birds as his messengers.

6. Kookaburra

This kingfisher bird is a meat thief. Yeah, so watch out for them if you’re having a barbeque. And don’t be shocked when the kookaburra eats the meat right beside you.

These social birds are associated with beauty and joy. Kookaburra laughs loudly, giving it a confident nature. Although it’s associated with an inability to sympathize, the good outweighs the bad.

Birds Bearing Negative Symbols

Some of the birds that stand for bad vibes include;

1. American Crow

This blackbird might be the spookiest you’ll ever see. Many movies will have crows around witches and graveyards. And as if that’s not enough, crows are associated with bad omens.

Although crows are also associated with intelligence, fearlessness, and adaptability, the bird is often associated with death, mischief, manipulation, and darkness. This explains why a group of crows is a “murder.”

The superstitions come about due to crows’ behaviors. Sometimes scavengers have been known to surround other dead crows. Seem like they do perform funerals.

2. Vulture

The most righteous bird; never attacks. Vultures are always hovering around, waiting for weak animals to drop dead so they can feed. Due to this behavior, vultures carry bacteria and diseases.

The disease-bearing bird is known to pee on its self. This is to kill bacteria and also cool off. This fact has made vultures be associated with filth.

Other cultures see it as a symbol of war, death, greed, and laziness. All this is because of the vultures’ feeding methods. Although the ancient Egyptians valued them, Christians, ancient Europeans, and Africans loathe the bird.

3. Magpie

It’s believed that if a magpie crosses your path, then your day will be filled with doom. This belief almost made magpies hunted to near extinction in Britain. No one wanted to be associated with bad luck.

Magpies are corvid and therefore associated with death. The birds are spotted scavenging near gallows and battlefields. Magpies snatch shiny objects and jewelry, earning them the reputation of thieves.

Don’t forget to tip your hat whenever you come across a magpie. You don’t want misfortunes following you.

4. Blackbirds

The blackish-brown birds are a sign of beauty. But don’t be so happy if one decides to build a nest in your house. This is associated with bad luck.

Blackbirds may carry messages from a dead person. Many black-feathered birds are associated with bad omens.

Strange Bird Superstitions

Many superstitions surround birds. Some are common in different cultures, while some are unique to one. Listed below are some bird superstitions.

  • Sparrows carry the souls of the dead. It would help if you didn’t kill sparrows.
  • Birds pooping on your head is considered good luck.
  • Seagulls flying above you is a sign of death. The seagulls have to be three in number.
  • Seeing an owl during the day is terrible luck, often implying death.
  • Birds crashing onto your window is a sign of impending doom.
  • Kingfishers are associates with good luck.
  • Sailors should not kill an albatross while at sea. Though sighting one at sea is good luck.
  • If a robin enters, your house death will come.
  • Birds tapping on windows signify that someone close to you is trying to reach out.
  • Good news is coming your way if a rooster is crowing at your door.
  • Hearing a cuckoo’s call will bring you good fortune.
  • Expect a visitor if you hear a woodpecker tapping. That’s typically a knock on your door.
  • Bringing beautiful peacock feathers to your house isn’t a good idea. This is associated with bad luck.

Does Bird Symbolism Matter In Today’s World?

Symbolism is losing its importance to society. The explicitness of symbolism is fading. And the threat is industrialization.

So does bird symbolism matter in today’s world? The answer will change depending on the part of the earth. Age will also play a role in answering the question.

Older people tend to believe more in symbolism compared to younger ones. Less civilized societies also consider more bird symbolism. Younger people and civilized nations are less exposed to birds and myths.

But human beings are curious. We are always trying to give meaning to everything. People are only trying to understand the world, seeking knowledge.

Most of the time, it’s not the bird itself that brings the superstitions but the bird’s actions. What bird symbolize will get mixed up when different cultures mingle. This will either cause the meaning to disappear or for another version to emerge.

Birds have strong symbolism, and believing them is entirely up to you as an individual. There’s no denying that doves will always be a sign of peace.

Whether symbolism stays or goes, you will always enjoy watching birds. Their divine nature is what has caused them to be associated with gods. And this, in turn, brought symbolism and superstitions.


Birds are fascinating creatures. The colored fathers are not everything that captures attention. And you may still want to be a bird after reading this article. 

Bird symbolism still holds a place in the modern world. The belief isn’t as strong as that of ancient times. It’s hard not to believe once you get exposed to the knowledge.

Bird symbolism is old and looks like it will be around for a while. And although many have escaped the big cities, some have adopted the urbanized environment. 

The establishment of bird sanctuaries is to give another option, not just adapt or leave. All birds should be protected, whether they carry a negative or positive meaning.