Many people opt for a bird when they get a tattoo. Perhaps it is because birds represent flight, and freedom, that they are a popular design. After all, who hasn’t wanted to sprout wings and soar across a clear blue sky at one time or another? From flightless birds like penguins to common ones like robins and sparrows, to majestic raptors, there is certainly an avian design to fit nearly anyone’s ideal.
Photo by “Anne Mari” on Flickr
Birds are used as the symbol of many different things. Doves represent peace; eagles signify freedom and the United States; hawks denote a keen sense of sight and predatory instinct; peacocks represent beauty and vanity. Mythological birds like the phoenix are often used as symbols of power and the ability to rise from the ashes.
Photo by “SMN” on Flickr
Many people who have been in the military opt for an eagle. Navy sailors often choose a swallow because the sighting of this bird meant that land had to be nearby. Parrots are popular with sailors, too, especially those who have been to exotic ports of call. A blue scissor-tail is commonly seen in prison tattoos as the representation of overcoming past addictions. Then there is the “bluebird of happiness,” a very positive connotation.
Photo by “Listen Missy!” on Flickr
Because tattoos are an extremely personal form of art, it is important to think about what each particular bird symbolizes and how that fits into your life and your personality. Women tend to favor doves and small, beautiful birds while men are more attracted to the powerful forms of eagles, hawks, and even roosters. A wide wingspread across the back and shoulder muscles is quite striking but even a small bird inked across an ankle or at the top of a hip can be a colorful addition to your body art.