Do you ever wonder if that blackbird you keep seeing on the yard fence has a message for you? Perhaps you stumble across references to a single bird species over and over in a short space of time? Birds have long been considered carriers of signs, omens, and messages. Our ancestors relied on these in their daily lives. For example the flight patterns and timing of migrating bird flocks were often used as a method of divination.
Here are brief descriptions of the spiritual significance of a number of popular birds.
Birds: Signs, Omens, and Messages from Spirit
The melodic song of the blackbird signifies the connection between this world and that of spirit. Listening to their song increases psychic abilities.
The brilliant red of the cardinal represents the universal life force and is a reminder to honor that spirit within yourself and every living being. When you see a cardinal, or the beautiful red color of their wings, know that life and every minute of it is precious.
Chickens are very much connected to the energy of the earth. People who have chicken as their totem animal need to keep their energies in balance otherwise they can become over-sensitive and fearful.
The crow is said to be the ‘Keeper of the Sacred Law’. Nothing escapes their beady eye as they observe the whole of existence, recording it faithfully. Some people believe that the appearance of a crow precedes bad luck, but, as there are so many of them, it’s highly unlikely. However, if a crow flies across your path, it’s a sign of coming change.
The cuckoo is sacred to the Greek Goddess, Hera. It symbolizes the onset of spring. The cuckoo also represents unrequited love and/or unfaithfulness between lovers. As a messanger, it tells you that you always get what you want, even if it hurts others.
The dove, and the white dove in particular, symbolizes peace and healing. When a dove comes into your awareness it is a good time to meditate and release negative energy.
The duck represents divine feminine power. It reminds you to navigate the watery realm of emotions with care and grace. Duck will also help you discern the truth and filter out the ‘noise’ of modern life.
Eagles are said to inhabit the spirit realm and appear to us only at significant moments in our lives. The eagle carries our prayers to deity and teaches us to step back and become aware of the larger perspective instead of being hung up on unimportant details.
Falcon helps you to see what needs to be seen. It reveals opportunities that should be acted on. The falcon also assists the souls of the dead to make their way to the spirit world.
The cheerful song of the finch heralds a celebration. It foretells a period of joy and happiness to those who hear it.
The appearance and song of the Goldfinch hints at the presence of fairy folk. Its energy helps to heal family rifts and soothe conflict.
Sacred to the Roman Goddess Juno, the goose is a spiritual representative of the turning of the year. Goose will call you to your life purpose and invite you to experience the world in a new way. It also symbolizes devotion and support.
The gull invites you to soar above your day-to-day problems in order to understand that they are temporary and largely unimportant in the overall scheme of things.
The Hawk shows you that you can reach a higher level of consciousness. That your soul is not earthbound in any way. Hawk may help you understand your life purpose and connect you with past lives. Pay attention when you see a hawk because it may be a message from spirit that you must accept ‘what is’ with grace and ease.
The heron is symbolic and sacred in many cultures. It’s a messenger of patience, strength and persistence. When a heron flies long and low, it tells you to focus on your life and spiritual goals.
The courageous little hummingbird brings the message that anything is possible. That the most outrageous goals are within your capability. It also tells you to extract the maximum sweetness from any given moment.
The jay teaches the importance of wisdom before action. Caution before impulse. When you see a jay, examine any choices you are about to make and ensure you are making them wisely.
The lark is synonymous with the breaking of dawn. Spirits that inhabit the dark hours are driven away by the lark’s song. The lark is a symbol of spiritual awakening. On the earthly plane, a lark’s song is said to herald the realization that you are in love with someone.
The magpie is often thought to be a bird of ill-omen. Especially the sighting of a single bird. Therefore it is wise to salute, acknowledge, and respect the magpie in order to divert bad luck. A favorite familiar of witches, the magpie symbolizes the occult and the opening of the door to the spirit world.
The song of the nightingale reassures you that there is no need to fear the darkness. All problems and obstacles are merely temporary.
The Osprey represents the masculine energy of the sun. It encourages you to seize the day, grab those opportunities and make the most of every moment.
The owl sees what we cannot. It is said to accompany souls from this plane to the next, to assist them to the spirit world. The owl represents clairvoyance and clairaudience, only revealing what is necessary to mere mortals.
The parrot shows us its brilliant plumage in the full light of the sun. But beware, its talent for mimicry means you may be the victim of deception and insincerity.
The pigeon represents home and security. When you see a flock of pigeons allow yourself to think of home (whatever and whoever that means to you), even if you are thousands of miles away. The pigeon's comfort and nurturing energy will sustain you in difficult times.
Raven, the shape shifter, brings wisdom from spirit but only stays as long as it takes to impart the lesson. Raven is mystical and magickal. Raven will guide you to your own discovery of secrets, rather than reveal them directly. The raven means different things to different cultures: in North American traditions, it is the light bringer, while in Britain, it is seen as a harbinger of death and illness.
In America, the robin is a herald of spring; in Europe it is a symbol of Christmas. The robin is a feisty little bird and reminds you to hold your ground by speaking your truth.
The sparrow symbolizes family and community. However, the sparrow can be a little warrior and turn other birds out of their nesting place. Sparrow reminds you to celebrate all that is good about being part of a community, but to hold to its principles in a peaceful and co-operative way.
Like the sparrow, the starling teaches the importance of communal and family co-operation, while at the same time its aggressive tendencies are ones that should be avoided. Starling tells you that hierarchies within family relationships are normal and they help to promote harmony. Yet at the same time, if you feel hemmed in and constricted it’s necessary to fly away.
The appearance of the swallow indicates you are about to embark on a spiritual or physical journey. The swallow encourages you to embrace a new adventure, and to return home once your quest is fulfilled. People with the swallow as their totem have happy and eager personalities.
Power, grace, and mystery are the qualities embodied in the swan. Swans mate for life and so are worthy representatives of romance and long marriages. If you are lucky enough to be with your soul mate, create a special world exclusive to the two of you.
The thrush is able to offer reassurance and guidance in times of struggle and stress. It is courageous and does what it needs to do with minimal drama. Thrush tells you to be aware of signs, symbols and coincidences; they appear for a reason.
Death and rebirth are symbolized in this disconcerting bird. Vulture cleanses and recycles to provide the way for a new beginning. As nature’s clean-up operator, vulture also represents endless patience. Vulture’s message is always to take the long view.
Like a shamanic drummer, the woodpecker takes consciousness through to the spirit world. The sound opens up your third eye and brings awareness to your soul. Woodpecker reveals secrets you hold deep in your soul and encourages you to dig them out and set them free.
The wren is sociable and family oriented. It is always active and energetic. The wren tells you to make the most of every moment, be courageous, do your best for others, and to maintain a happy heart.
Reality Files: Bird Symbolism