Leave a Comment

seven + 3 =


This a big entry and is in three parts, the general first part. The second Bird Situations – and the third Different Birds.

The life cycle of a bird has so many similarities with important human stages of growth we frequently use birds to represent parts of our own deeply felt experience.

In general the bird in your dream can depict imagination, intuition, the mind, freedom from restraints, thoughts or hidden wishes or hopes, or your longings to move beyond limitations or boundaries, or even love or a lover. Because the word is sometimes used to indicate a woman, it can have that meaning – i.e. a ‘bird’.

The meaning depends on the context in which the bird appears in the dream. So in some dreams, especially if the bird is flying high, or you identify and become the bird, it can show an expanded awareness or a greater insight into your life and the meaning of your life. This type of dream usually appears as a large bird that can fly high. This is because wider – or spiritual – awareness is like a higher, overall view of things.

Meeting this enlarged awareness may be painful or frightening as we approach it. The enlargement of what you experience is a form of growth and brings new possibilities, all of which can strip away old ways of life and relationship. This expansion of our viewpoint, the uplift of our emotions or mind, can be a link between the world we experience with our physical senses, and the deep world of our often unconscious passions, intuitions and insights.

But in some dreams birds are messengers – For instance a swallow is a symbol of spring, a rooster can be symbolic of a new day (or a new beginning), doves can be symbolic of love, a relationship or peace, and so forth. Both crows and vultures are symbolic of a “death” or the ending of something.

Bird Situations

A huge bird: The power of the collective mind or unconscious. It may uplift or be felt as threatening; something that can protect or be felt as a threat. If felt as a threat remember that dreams are like computer game, nothing can actually harm you, see Dream as Computer Game.

Bird attacking: Fear of ideas, ideals or opinions; verbal or mental (suggestions or suggestive behaviour) attack by others; fear of going beyond ones narrow boundaries. Be daring and face the restrain that holds you back.

Bird descending: A wider view or experience becoming known to you, or becoming available. In practical terms this may be experienced as inspiration or new insights regarding work or creativity, or a bursting of ones previous views or concepts into a wider insight.

Bird in house: Hope that something interesting or new will enter ones life; a wish for new love; a new idea; an intuition or precognition; a new person or event entering your life; or something trapped in you that seeks freedom.

Black or carrion birds: Because such birds often feed on dead animals, they have the association with death or news of death. This may not be connected with someone dying, but perhaps that some project, love or aspect of yourself is being left to die; feelings or fears about death. Or it could be about something you are unaware of but is on the edge of consciousness.

Bluebird: Especially represents the personality or flight of the soul after death. But it can also show the flight of awareness into new or wider experience. The colour gives it a link with the heavens and it is therefore a symbol of your own ability to reach a wider awareness – the spiritual. See Definition of Spirit.

Useful Questions and Hints:

What way am I relating to the bluebird?

Do I feel anything on seeing the bird?

Have I been meditating or doing something uplifting recently?

Try Being the Person or Thing and Talking As

Dead bird: Threat to ideals or hopes of freedom; feeling life is only material; ones spirit feeling defeated or crushed. Also a loss of sense of beauty or meaning in life; an ideal or hope has died; a flight of imagination or creativity has fallen.

Feather: See: feathers.

Fighting birds: Family disputes; arguments about viewpoints.

Flock of birds: Sometimes shows you feeling a deeply intuitive sense of connection with thousands of others, all being moved by life itself flowing through you. Describing his recovery from feelings of being ill at ease within herself, Gloria writes:

As this occurred I had a wonderful sense of being a lovely bird that has been in some way ill all its life. This meant it never flew when the flock took flight. Instead, to deal with its own difficulty it felt feelings of not wanting to fly like the others, of not wanting to be like them and do the meaningless things they do. But with the healing came the realisation I could fly, and I took wing and joined the flock. Now I am a creature of spirit, which I have always been, and I asked the Light to help me learn the ways of ‘flying’ in the spirit.

It can also point to how you add your influence to others socially.

Flying: Rising above something; an escape from a feeling of being trapped, or some fear; independence; freedom; self expression; ones love or thoughts winging its way to someone. The sexual act – possibly because during sex we may feel released and uplifted.

Hatching from the egg: Our birth and infancy; rebirth. Something new and uplifting coming into your life, or coming to life in you.

In cage: Feelings of being restricted or trapped; holding back love or inspiration; safety in restriction. If there are positive feelings around the caged bird, it might suggest the need to withhold love or freedom, but it could suggest feeling trapped in a relationship, especially if there are two birds in the cage.

Leaving nest: Gaining independence; meeting change or leaving a dependent relationship.

Making nest: Home building; parental urges; partnership if with another bird.

Nest: Home; family environment; security; even the womb.

The baby bird: Our own childhood, as in the following example. The old lady in the second example is once more reference to the mother, who the bird is first connected with before moving on to the difficulty of independence.

Freud said the bird represents the male phallus, and flying means the sexual act. Many languages use the word ‘bird’ to mean woman. In Italy it alludes to penis. The bird is also used to denote a sense of death and survival.

The example shows Pauline using the bird to depict her own urge to be independent of her mother’s influence, opinions, likes, dislikes and decisions. Later in the dream her mother hands Pauline the ribbon to hold, suggesting an offer of independence.

Example: ‘I was standing outside the house of my teens, with my mother. She had a very young bird on a long ribbon and the bird was flying very high in the sky. As soon as she lets go the ribbon, a huge black bird attacks the ribboned one.’ Pauline.

The ribbons are a reference to Pauline’s own girlhood. When she lets go of her girlhood, moving toward independent womanhood, she feels threatened by her internal feelings of guilt – i.e. a child feels guilty if it acts differently to what its mother wants. This is the black bird. To become independent we have to find a way of doing what we wish despite this internalised mother. (Internalised means all the standards, self controls she learned from her life with her mother, she now carries within her as her own urges even if absent from her mother.)

Example: ‘An old lady made room for me to sit at the end of one of the three seats of a bus. As we drove away a very large chicken size baby bird flew in. It had short stubby wings and yellow down, but flew expertly. I believe it first landed on the lady and chirped squeakily. But in it’s squeaks it actually spoke, saying it had lost it’s mother. It sounded as if it were crying.’ Andrew.

This dream is clearly about Andrew becoming aware that at some time he felt abandoned by his mother, and this part of him needs helping to grow into greater independence.

Different Birds

blackbird or black bird Unconscious urges. At times we may relate to enormous waves of feeling in an anxious way, and this relationship of anxiety may be represented by a black bird. The bird may be shown attacking something or oneself because that is how we relate to the emotions or energies – i.e. we feel attacked by them. The black bird can also link with feelings about death, the negative aspect of mother, or something unconscious that we are becoming aware of.

chicken If being eaten suggests nourishment. Otherwise a female, or the female in a male; being ‘chicken’ or scared.

Example: A large cockerel was amongst them and to my amused pleasure began immediately to chase the hens. They all ran madly away. My father was there now and said the chickens wouldn’t lay with that chicken chasing them. I said it wasn’t a chicken that a cockerel, and they would soon calm down. My mother now came. I said the chickens would stop running eventually because the cockerel was bigger than they. She said, no, it wasn’t the size, but the manner and attitude of his approach. She meant it caused an instinctive responses them.

When I explored the dream I realised that of course. I am a cockerel that is inwardly a chicken. I am chicken because I won’t see my own homosexuality. I am chicken because I have made myself a passive female. My mother says it is not the size, its the – inner – attitude. Of course, my inner attitude, as a chicken, is changing. I have been the size of a cockerel, but with the soul of a chicken – female.

The cock: a male or the male sexual characteristics; confidence.

The hen: Mother; motherhood; being immersed in motherhood concerns and perhaps not having a life beyond that.

Chicks: This is a reference either to your own babyhood and feelings or events associated with it, or to external baby or babies. This may at times point to vulnerable people or assets.

Idioms: chicken feed; chicken hearted; she’s no chicken; cock of the walk; don’t count your chicks/chickens before they are hatched..

crow rook raven Being carrion birds, and so often seen near corpses, they are linked with death or feelings about death; bad news; fear; unconscious feelings. Some people see them as associated with death, mostly because that is how they are used in films. But crows are a group bird and are supportive of their fellows.

It can at times depict the negative aspect of father. The dark intelligence in underhanded people or animals; forces in life that seem to have intelligent direction yet are not outwardly visible.

cormorant Intellectual ideas that have the power to dig deep and bring up unconscious wisdom. Because the cormorant is used to dive and catch fish, it might suggest you are practising some form of introspection or self examination.

crane Inner feelings about wholeness; good luck. The ability to deal harmoniously with the libido or energy within.

cuckoo Wanting to, or feeling your partner is, having sex outside your relationship; pregnant with child from another man than ones partner.

dove Peace; lacking aggressiveness; awareness of one’s potential; religious experience; relatedness. See: religion and dreams.

duck Because a duck can fly and also dive under water it can represent both your ability to raise your awareness, to expand your mind and horizons, and also to look into what is hidden under the surface of life. And its ability to float and swim on the surface of water shows it can survive in the conscious mind.

Idioms can also suggest other meanings such as sitting duck, like a duck takes to water, dead duck and lame duck.

eagle buzzard hawk Sometimes the hunting, providing parent; dominance; a male figure; an uplifting power of feelings or ideas; a protective influence; a threatening influence. Often the ability to develop an integrated vision or perception out of a wide range of experience. This is because the height of the bird and its steady gaze give it unusual perception and wide awareness.

Idioms: Watch like a hawk; eagle eyed.

feather or feathers See: feather.

goose/geese Freedom; your soul; wanderlust; foolishness or group conformity. In some cases you might use the goose as a symbol for life long relationship.

hawk Often a messenger or a far seeing creature. Because it flies high it had an overview of what it surveys. It can therefore signify the spirit or the flight of the soul.

heron A heron is a very still bird and often stands for ages looking into the water. So in your dream it may signify patience and the ability to look deeply into you. As such it may show you things about yourself that are very important.

It catches fish, meaning it brings up things that are usually hidden and are for your personal growth and nourishment. To explore its deeper meaning see Techniques for Exploring your Dreams

owl Because the owl sees in the dark it represents our intuitive sense that ‘sees’ what is happening in the subtle areas of our feeling and experience. This sense ‘feeds’ by watching or acting as an integrating function with the many dark or hidden aspects of our experience and behaviour. Because this part of our mental process is aware of the hidden activities in the depths of our body and mind, it can initiate our conscious self into the mysteries of life and death. If one can imagine having a council of all living things, we would all have in common the drive to reproduce, and there would be huge links of understanding regarding care and rearing of young and perhaps of love for mate. The unconscious seems to have a sense of this synthesis of all life, and the owl, representing it, speaks with this sort of collective wisdom; a wise advisor.

Because the owl as a dream symbol is an actual doorway to the usually hidden side of life, we may sometimes feel fear or danger in regard to it. In some mythologies the owl was connected with death, and might act as a messenger regarding the death of a family member. For instance in Jewish tradition it is unlucky to dream of an owl, but okay to dream of any other bird.

Example: ‘I was standing with my wife at the end of the garden of the house I lived in as a child. We were looking over the fence to the rising meadow beyond. She said, ‘Look at that bird in the tree there.’ On our right, in a small ash tree, an enormous owl perched. It was at least four feet high, the biggest bird I have ever seen. I recognised it in the dream as a greater hooded owl, which was not native to our country. I was so excited I ran into the house to telephone someone – zoo, police, newspapers? – to tell them about the bird. I cannot remember contacting anyone, but felt the bird was there in some way to meet me. Also it was hungry and looking at next door’s bantams. So I wondered what I could give it to eat.’ David P.

This shows the positive side of David’s relationship with his wife. The garden represents the behaviour boundaries which arose from his childhood. But he is growing – the garden – and looking beyond them through his marriage. The amazing bird is the deep feelings he touches because he has a mate like any other natural creature. Out of his mating he becomes aware of drives to build a home – nest – and give himself to his mate. These are natural and are a part of his unconscious or spiritual nature. The bird is a hooded owl which can see in the dark – the unconscious – meaning David is realising things he had never ‘seen’ before. The bird is masked, because David through loving is learning to put his ego aside, which is a necessity for touching the wider dimension of life or the unconscious. The hunger of the bird shows an intimate detail of what David has learned from his wife. She had been working as a waitress and bringing home pieces of chicken for him, saved from her own meal. The spiritual side of David wants to develop this quality of self-giving, which his wife’s love had helped him see.

See aura; spiritual life in dreams. Idioms: Wise old owl; wisdom of the owl; night owl; owlish – looking wise or solemn.

parrot Repeating without judgement what others have said; accepting or copying something without evaluating it. Ability to speak.

peacock Pride; self display; vanity; the desire to be more attractive; sometimes the same as phoenix.

In some cultures the peacock represent the soul or psyche – ones sense of self with all ones individual memories and characteristics. Because the peacock could shed all its beautiful feathers and then grow them again, early Christians saw it as a symbol of resurrection and immortality.

As the peacock is a male bird displaying for the sake of a mate, it can also obviously represent male sexuality in its proud, ostentatious or displaying mode.

Example: There were trees and a grassy patch of ground. A dog was having puppies. But a great flock of small black birds emerged running and skimming over the grass. I heard myself remark, “They are smaller than the others and there are more of them.” Then, from among the trees emerged a large peacock, tail half raised. The dream left me feeling that from small things could emerge something large and beautiful. Mrs E. E.

penguin The penguin hardly ever appears in dreams, or in fact in literature generally, so I have not been able to gather from people’s dreams how they use this symbol. From common associations however, it is likely to represent foolishness; a difficult life situation; coldness in relationships. Because of recent studies of the penguin and the major National Geographic film, the penguin might now depict lasting love and wonderful care and survival skills.

It can also represent something the rare and unusual.

phoenix The ability to find a new impulse, new strength, new growth even in death; the power in oneself to transform the dying, depressed, dark and desperate into new endeavour and growth.

sparrow The ordinary but living parts of you that are special.

stork The soul; symbol of birth or babyhood, and perhaps parenthood; the beauty of the wider awareness of the unconscious.

swan Grace; beauty; dignity. In mythology often represents the psyche or soul and its connection with a spiritual world; the side of human nature usually hidden because unconscious, often referred to as the spiritual – meaning the consciousness of connection with all life.

The swan in your dream may be linked with an ending of something due to the association with ‘the swan song’ – a final act. It can also suggest amorousness, or the ideal of love in sexuality, and as such may represent virginity or a blend of male and female.

vulture A relative waiting for you to die – or vice versa; people around you trying to live on you – or vice versa; difficult feelings about dependants; an environment of ill will or hopelessness.

white bird Anything white usually depicts thoughts and feeling that are inspirational or uplifting. They are often shown as similar to the white Pegasus, the lower sexual energies lifted into a power of wider awareness.

Idioms: Charm the birds from the trees; a bird told me; the bird has flown; bird in the hand; bird of ill omen; free as a bird; odd bird.

Useful Questions and Hints:

Is the bird in my dream expressing any of the important stages of growth such as babyhood, leaving the nest, or making a nest?

What quality or attitude is the bird expressing and how does that relate to me?

What is the rest of the dream indicating about the bird?

Definitely try using Talking As and Processing Dreams.



-Samantha 2016-06-13 5:11:27

I dreamt that i was showing someone around and there were tons of ground owls playing in the dirt like mother hens and chicks. I remeber telling the person that i was excited their numbers were growing.


-gloria burgess 2016-08-29 17:42:47

I need help figuring out a dream I had.
I was walking down a grassy lane. I came across a hawk trapped in a fence. When I got closer I saw it was trapped in a wire with its leg almost severed. (Never saw blood) when I picked the hawk up to try and free it, its leg detached from its body. I cradled the hawk in my arms and freed the now severed leg from the wire and began to walk down the lane going to look for a vet. I looked down at the hawk. It looked back at me. Then when I looked down at the hawk again it was now an owl, and it looked at me. It never struggled. It was if the hawk then the owl both knew I was not going to hurt it/them??? I woke up after seeing the hawk had changed into a Very confusing dream.


    -Tony Crisp 2016-09-01 7:39:13

    Gloria – People often think that the people or animals they dream of actually about real people and animals. That is not so. We are an animal, a mammal, and through evolution we carried the traces of our inner animals with us in our body and brain. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/brain-levels-and-dreams/

    The hawk you cradled represents a part of your own nature, that you have become slightly aware of, that has the ability to gain a greater awareness of your life and your environment. The ability to ‘spread your wings’ and climb to greater awareness was trapped or injured by past attitudes or life events. But your love and care for animals and for the animal nature alive in you has freed this ability. The hawk became a dream owl because the owl represents your intuitive ability which will now slowly become apparent.



-jesse 2016-09-04 15:43:37

What does it mean when you’re a bird flying away from a huge bird like the size of a small plane? I’m like a bird that’s my height flying away from that huge bird, and I trapped that bird and got out stuck as I flew threw small spaces in my town and got it stuck. Then in mid air I turned back into myself and was flying around.


-Jessica 2016-09-04 16:37:01

I have a good cryptic one for ya. We had just landed in Australia and went to a outdoor grocery store at night. (we meaning me, my husband my brother and his girlfriend) we go to check out and the only check stand open has blood on the conveyor belt, and at the end where bagging is there’s a mangled up small pile of what the cashier told me was an owl. Apparently it flew down from the street wires above and smacked into the check stand and rolled down to the end so they were waiting for someone to come clean it up! We were confused, the people in line ahead of us along the cashier were standing around like its no big thing. So I’m wondering… I usually dream things that will happen in the future, should I be concerned?


    -Tony Crisp 2016-09-05 10:46:52

    Jessica – Your IP address suggest you do not live in Oz. So to really understand your ‘cryptic’ dream it would help if you really explained your dream – See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/not-enough-information/

    The checkout is a very ordinary setting in which you are in an environment of the everyday people. This suggests you are, at the time of the dream immersed in the ordinary world and its thoughts. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/archetype-of-the-paradigm/

    But when you come to paying for what you bought during your excursion you see the blood and crushed body of an owl.

    It seems that you have overlooked your heritage. You, like everybody, started your life as the primeval slime of your parents mating. In other word single celled life forms – the seeds of your beginning. As you grew in our mother womb you developed through the levels of evolution. At one time you were like a fish with gills, and so within you is all levels of our past that is usually closed to your waking mind, but there is within you your Global Mind. So we have within us all animals which is often shown in dreams.

    The owl is simply an image used in dreams to show your link with your expanded awareness, and in some unfortunate way you have crushed this wonderful faculty that you have.

    Fortunately, in the different world and dimension of dreams, nothing is ever dead, but the death shown in your dream. describes how you could live your life in the world of consumerism – the grocery store. You can of course bring life back to the ability you crushed to death by exploring http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/opening-to-life/ Maybe also see http://dreamhawk.com/news/there-is-a-huge-change-happening/ and http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/lifes-little-secrets/



-Jennifer 2016-09-15 22:01:32

I had a dream I am standing in my apartment holding a white bird by its feet. It is upright in my hands, is like a crane or egret but with shorter legs and shorter neck, medium bill. It starts pecking at my hands (I expect this) and draws just a little blood, not a big deal or fearful thing.

I let it go, and notice a hole in the wall plaster near the floor, the plaster seems to be bleeding from the inside of the wall out. The plaster is soaked around the hole. A mouse comes out of the hole, and I see it is wounded at the nape of its neck. It is slow and disoriented. I note that logically the amount of blood soaking the wall could not have all come from the little mouse. I wonder if the bird somehow pecked the mouse’s neck, but don’t see how since I have had the bird the whole time. The bird hops down to the mouse, and I don’t want it to harm the mouse any further.

My cat (my real-life cat: Anya) sees the mouse and walks toward it. My mind quickly tries to assess things: Anya will go for the mouse, I don’t want the mouse to feel hunted or afraid or be further injured. The bird will likely attack Anya for interfering with the bird’s prey (the mouse). Will Anya attack the bird or run away? Can Anya fight off the bird? No, I don’t think so. The bird’s bill will seriously injure Anya, even if she gets a few bites in.

I look at the wall, and the hole is bigger now, bloodier, and more blood pooled on the floor. Before I can decide how to best protect Anya and the mouse, I wake up.

Even writing about this now, I feel such a huge sorrow for the mouse, I am nearly in tears.


    -Tony Crisp 2016-09-16 9:54:12

    Jennifer – You become aware of a flying predator. Often this represents things you have been thinking, something you have been handling that you had stopped, but when it irritated you it was released.

    The wall often relates to codes of behaviour, belief systems, attitudes – often unconscious – you live within, or are protected by; the boundaries of behaviour or thought you exist within, are fearful of extending beyond, or are trapped by – thereby what one feels to be barriers or restrictions. Also one’s feelings of confidence which protect against anxiety or social ‘knocks’. So it could be fear that keeps you limited in your activities. The feelings or attitudes you keep people away with – the walls we put up between us to maintain privacy, stop being hurt, or to maintain a role or status. Or a special feeling situation which you have created, such as developing a sense of one’s own value.

    But the wall is bleeding, showing that you are losing energy – an energy leak, probably because of feelings, fears or the sorrow you feel about a worry that has been gnawing away within you.

    Those are just my understandings based on past experience, but you are the creator of your dream out feeling you have that are put in images. You can find out for yourself by using http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson



      -Jennifer 2016-09-16 18:50:46

      Hi Tony,

      I find it so generous of you to take the time to respond to folks who write in here, thank you! I will check out the link you left.

      What you say makes sense. I feel like I have not had many healthy relationships (even friendships and work relationships) in my life before now, though now I am more aware and have some better things going on since I have worked to learn about myself. Anyway, I really struggle now when I feel the need to put up a wall between me and others, I struggle to discern: is that a fearful defense, or a wise intuition that should be heeded. I guess I will just feel my way forward and continue to gain knowledge along the way.

      Thanks again!


-Brandon 2016-09-24 6:37:51

Just woke up from the weirdest dream. I was flying through the sky being carried by a huge bird . Ironically I was not scared but befuddled I do remember asking the bird if it can support my weight. (We conversed as if it were a friend or mentor..weirrd) After confirming it could support my weight there was an overwhelming comfort and I “gave in” to the flight. We traveled throughout the high and low through the city sometimes even dodging other birds gracefully. I felt as if I were “one” with the bird. I remember even reaching and grabbing hold of the enormous wings to test the authenticity. I could feel the strong bone structure of the wing through the thick feathers …surreal. I was convinced this experience was real. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!? Does this mean anything. !??


-Karen 2016-10-19 13:50:40

I had a dream that I was in a house and there was a bird cage with no bird. So I decided to look for the bird. Beside the cage was a sheet or blanket. When I lift up the sheet a lot of baby birds came out flying around the house and the odd thing about the dream was that the birds had just hatch and were already flying. So I looked over and seen the recently hatch egg, the nest and the mother bird which was a mixture of both a parrot in the face and in the body however it had the wings of a peacock. The colors of both the mother bird and baby birds were red, blue and yellow. The mother bird looked tired after possibly nursing. However once she went inside her cage she look fearless and graceful and beautiful. I watch in awe. Then I open the window to let the chirping, flying baby birds out the house.


Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved