Are you carefree? Do you love the freedom to do what you want and go where you want to go? If that is so, the perfect piece for you are bird tattoos. These designs represent freedom.
Ever since mankind’s first civilizations, we have been fascinated by birds. They have become deities and religious symbols. These creatures have represented both good and bad things in our world. Birds have also been connected to spiritual world. While birds have become a general icon for freedom, its meanings have become diverse. It usually depends on what kind of bird we are talking about.
The same goes for bird tattoos. The most common and widely used representation of bird inks were freedom and travel. However, the meaning can change depending on what type of bird you have in your design.
General Meaning of Bird Tattoos
Apart from freedom, bird tattoos also have other general meanings. These are often based on birds’ characteristics.
Bird tattoo designs could also generally mean beauty, elegance, knowledge and keen intellect. Apart from their traits, meanings were also drawn from old civilizations’ impressions on birds. Here are more of the bird tattoo meanings:
- Spiritual guidance and protection
- Motherhood and family
- Love and peace
Variations of Bird Tattoos and their Meanings
There is no wonder bird tattoos are getting more popular in the tattoo industry. As many birds species there are, the variations of bird ink designs you can have. That being said, this is a versatile subject for inks. Here are some of the more common bird tattoo variations you can get plus what they mean.
Bird of paradise – If birds were humans, birds of paradise are likely the divas and the superstars. They are known for their style. Others even see these kinds of birds as even more stylish than peacocks. But unlike peacocks, birds of paradise were not tarnished with egotism and arrogance. In fact, these birds were religious icons in Papua, New Guinea. As a tattoo, these represent beauty, elegance, and grace.
Cardinals – These birds are noted for their colors – bright red and brown. They are closely connected to German culture and are known to represent joy and happiness. Cardinals are also known to be fiery and passionate little birds, even in the middle of winter. They bring light and warmth with their lively songs and their upbeat movements. It is no wonder these little creatures represented energy, vitality, youth, and passion.
Owls – Owl are more connected to Native American and Greek cultures. For the Native Americans, owls are harbingers of death. Hearing them cry or seeing them is a lot like getting an invitation from Death. However, they are also known as protectors of lost souls and guide of the dead to the underworld. For Greeks, owls are the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Therefore, they see owls as representations of wisdom and intelligence. Hence, owls have various meanings from protection to wisdom.
Cranes – In Japanese culture, cranes are believed to bring good fortune. They are also symbols of a good marriage. This is the reason why cranes are not just famous tattoo designs, they are also found on kimonos and other decorations. It is also believed that folding a thousand paper cranes can make wishes come true. Therefore, cranes also became a symbol of hope, peace, prosperity, and purity.
Eagle – If there is a king of birds, the eagle will most probably be it. It has become a cultural symbol for many people around the world. This bird is a symbol of USA; known as the favored creature of Greek god Zeus; and the incarnation of the great Thunderbird spirit. In general, an eagle tattoo represents spirituality, wisdom, and power.
More Bird Tattoo Designs for your Next Ink
There are many other birds in the world. While not every type of bird has been used as subject on tattoos, there are more that have become widely popular. Of course, these are used to represent the wearer’s personality or to tell the world more about them. Here are more of the bird tattoos you can get for your next ink:
- Dove bird tattoo – Doves are important for Christianity and Christians as this is the symbol of love and peace. The dove is mentioned in the Bible many times, especially on important occasions. Most notably, bringing hope to the survivors of the Great Flood. However, the dove is not only a symbolic bird in the religion. It’s also noted on many others, especially with the Greeks as the symbol of the goddess Aphrodite.
- Chicken tattoos – Chickens are perhaps the most domestic of all the birds. They can be pets but they are most known for source of delicious chicken dishes. However, chickens can also be great symbol for family and protection. They are known for being territorial so it’s really no surprise.
- Falcon bird tattoo – Falcons, just like eagles and hawks, are known as noble creatures. Symbolically, these are known as harbinger of hope and new opportunity. Apart from that, they are formidable hunters and also an emblem of the rising sun. For those who are hopeful, they can have a tattoo of a falcon.
- Hawk bird tattoo – Hawks, falcons and eagles are known as noble creatures. Just like its cousins, the hawk is an amazing hunter with a keen sense of sight. Because of that, it became a symbol for intelligence, foresight, and intuition. Apart from that, the hawk has also been known to guide souls of the dead to the afterlife. That being said, getting a hawk bird tattoo could also mean spirituality and the divine.
- Swallow tattoo – Swallows maybe small, but they have stood as a sign of safe voyage for sailors for a long time. These birds were also known to protect the souls of the dead. Getting a tattoo of a swallow is perfect for sailors and members of the Navy. As a tattoo, this design is also a representation of motherhood, peace, protection, and beauty.
- Parrot tattoos – Parrots are beloved by humans for their uncanny ability of mimicking human speech and other sounds. That is probably why they have been known to represent companionship, communication, intelligence, and even family. If you have a parrot tattoo, it could mean you are outgoing, friendly, smart, and has an unwavering love for people you care about.
Humankind has always had that certain fascination with birds. They’ve been created as deities or connected to some. They have become symbolical to various cultures around the world. Most of all, these amazing creatures got to be the basis of some mythical creatures.
These legendary mythical creatures do not only tickle human’s imaginations, they also represent something more than just fantasy.
The Thunderbird is one of the mythical birds. Its origins go back to the Native Americans. They consider it as a supernatural being of strength and power. Native Americans believe that the Thunderbird was reincarnated as an eagle. Therefore, a lot of its depictions were in an eagle form.
You can get a Thunderbird tattoo. Getting one could represent your nobility, dominance, valor and honor.
Another mythical bird is the Phoenix. This legendary creature is known as an emblem of survival and symbol of rebirth. It is also known as the epitome of the cycle of life. According to Greek myth, the phoenix burns to its death but is then reborn from its own ashes. Other religions have adopted the phoenix. As a tattoo, it could symbolize resilience and rising from your own problems.
Diversity and Design
Probably the main reason why many get bird tattoos is their ability to provide a divers and complex design. Anyone who wants to get a tattoo has thought about getting the most unique tattoo as possible. Bird tattoos allow for that.
Since there are many species to choose from, it is easy to find one that haven’t always been the center of the spotlight. Then, it can be designed to look like its real-life counterpart (or as close as to how its described if its a mythical creature). Nonetheless, it has enough room for playing around.
Many choose to create colorful designs – almost like a homage to the colorful birds that exist in our world. Others choose to incorporate other types of styles such as tribal and geometric patterns. These offer a more unique approach to the design. Now, apart from its deeper meaning, its aesthetic value is also improved.
Popular Bird Tattoo Designs
Besides the many species you can have for your tattoo, there are also more popular designs that include other elements.
Perhaps the most famous is the silhouette of flying birds. These are perfect for both men and women and often includes anonymous types of birds flying. The design is very simple but birds at flight represent freedom and carefree life. Many chose to be inspired by birds’ freedom to create a more carefree life free from anxiety and problems.
Couple bird tattoos are also getting more popular. Usually, designs show lovebirds paired together. It often signifies you and your partner. Another design is two swans forming a heart. It’s almost a universal symbol for love and passion.
The good versus evil concept is also a familiar concept in the territory of bird tattoos. Birds often represent the good and snakes are often the bad. The design for this is usually with the bird clutching the snake on its claws. This could mean that good always conquers evil.
Origami style bird tattoos are also getting more popular these days. These could be on the minimalist category since it’s basically just line work. It resembles an origami bird with lines to distinguish the folds. This kind of style is not just popular with bird designs. Other animals such as dogs, elephants, and even monkeys got this style as well.
Feathers and Birds
There won’t be birds without feathers. It is safe to say that feather tattoos fall under bird tattoos, as they are typically from birds. Getting a feather tattoo also has a variety of meaning and this usually depends on what bird it was from.
Dove feathers are also used to symbolize love, passion, and peace. Peacock feather tattoos are for beauty, grace, and elegance. Eagle feather tattoos are for strength, power, and nobility.
Where Should You Have Your Tattoo?
The placement is a very important factor in any tattoo. It is tough to choose where you should have your tattoo but your design could help you figure it out.
The size matters. If it’s a small or average-sized tattoo, you would want to place it on a place with enough space for the tattoo. Usually, placing a small one on a wide area swallows the design and it’s hard to focus on the design. However, if that is the effect you want, there is definitely no problem.
The length of the tattoo is also a factor. Since birds are often elongated, you’d want to place it on your arm, forearm, chest, back, legs, or thighs to make the design look more effective.
Nonetheless, when it comes to choosing the area, imagine how your tattoo would look like. You’d also want to consider body changes. For example, you might want to have a tattoo on your stomach but you have gained or lost weight. This would affect how your tattoo will look after the change.
Exposure is also something you should take note. Do you want to have it exposed or somewhere where you can easily hide it? Sun exposure also makes tattoo fade away faster so are you ready to commit to a daily routine of SPF lotions or you’d rather hide it under a layer of protective clothing? Will your employer complain if you have an exposed tattoo or it could risk your job?
All of these are things you have to bear in mind when it comes to finding a placement for your bird tattoos. That is why it is best to think twice and think hard until you are a hundred percent sure of the design and its placement before getting one.