Blue is the color of the endless sky, the deep seas, and the soft embrace of evening. The symbolism of the color blue is often deeply connected with freedom, serenity, loyalty, calm, wisdom, and gentleness. The bluebird is similarly connected with many of the virtues associated with its namesake color. A messenger of joy and optimism, this little bird has quite a large impact on human cultures and imaginations.
Often connected with springtime, warmth, and happiness, the bluebird is, for many people, the quintessential songbird. Its cheerful singing, colorful plumage, and freedom to embrace the sky calls out to the hearts of humans throughout North America, where these delightful birds are found.
- Bluebird Symbolism & Meaning
- Bluebird Native American Symbolism
- Bluebird Christianity Symbolism
- Bluebird Celtic Symbolism
- Bluebird in Dreams
- Bluebird Encounters and Omens
- Bluebird Mythology and Folklore
- Bluebird Spirit Animal
- Bluebird Totem Animal
- Bluebird Power Animal
- Bluebird Tattoo Meaning
Bluebird Symbolism and Meaning
Belonging to the thrush family, the three types of bluebirds are all known for their charming songs and brilliant blue plumage. The thrush family, which includes many common backyard birds such as the American Robin, is a family that is chock full of songbirds with stunning voices. (1)
So, what does a bluebird mean?
The most common symbolism associated with the bluebird is that of the “bluebird of happiness.” Bluebirds are often thought to be bringers of happiness and symbols of good cheer. Interestingly, this symbolism seems to be true on an almost global scale, with bluebirds representing happiness in cultures around the world. What’s interesting about this is that the “bluebird” as we know it is found only in North America. Other cultural traditions either stem from these birds or refer to birds with blue plumage, such as the Blue Rock Thrush of Europe. In any case, worldwide symbols attached to birds with blue feathers apply just as easily to the bluebirds of North America. (2)
Related: 11 Simple Tips to Attract Bluebirds to Your Backyard (2022)
Bluebird Native American Symbolism
Bluebirds are especially significant in Native American cultures. While the symbolism of the bluebird varies quite a bit between tribes, the bluebird is a symbol of light and positivity amongst most Native tribes which revere it. (3)
Navajo & Iroquois Tribe
Amongst the Iroquois, the bluebird is an important symbol of springtime and vitality. According to the Iroquois creation myth, life on earth began when two brothers were born from a woman who fell from the sky. The first brother was born naturally and was a good man who created all of the animals that humans treasure. The second brother, Tawiscaron, was evil and cut himself out of his mother instead of waiting to be born. After killing his mother, Tawiscaron became the father of death and darkness and the bringer of winter. It is said that each spring, the song of the bluebird is what drives Tawiscaron and his cold and barren winter away. (4)
In Navajo folklore, the bluebird is associated with the sun and the morning. At Navajo ceremonies, a song is sometimes performed which includes lyrics that connect the bluebird to the break of day. (5)
The Pima people associate the bluebird with transformation and humility. This is because of a particular myth about this vibrant little bird. According to a Pima legend, the bluebird was once very dull in color. The bluebird lived alongside a deep blue lake whose pure blue water attracted the bird. Every day for four days, the bluebird would sing a magic song and bathe in the blue waters. Eventually, all of the bluebird’s feathers fell away and bright blue ones grew in their place. The bluebird’s color was so impressive that when the proud coyote saw it, he became jealous and asked how he might become blue too. The bluebird explained the magic of the blue water to the coyote who promptly began to sing and bathe in the blue waters. Eventually, the coyote became as blue as the bluebird. The coyote was delighted and proud and began to strut and show off his shiny blue coat. Too excited for words, the coyote even began to run and watch his shadow to see if his shadow might be blue too. While coyote was running and looking down, though, he hit a stump and crashed into the dirt. Because the bluebird was humble and the coyote was proud, the bluebird remains bright blue but the coyote is the color of the dust into which he crashed. (6)
The Cochiti people believe that the sun is the father of two heroic boys by the names of Turquoise and Bluebird. According to legend, the boys’ mother was human. When they got big enough, their mother sent them to meet their father who taught both boys to bring light to the morning sky. (7)
The Ojibwe people sometimes associate the bluebird with rainbows. This is due to a creation myth featuring Nanabozho, the Ojibwe culture hero. According to legend, Nanabozho was dismayed when he noticed that all the flowers were the same color, so he decided to paint them. As he painted the flowers in all of their brilliant hues, a pair of bluebirds began to frolic and play above his head. The bluebirds would circle and dive and began spilling paint all over themselves. As the birds continued to fly around and around with Nanabozho’s paint on their wings, they began to leave streaks of color behind them in the sky. Eventually, those color streaks began to form into the shape of a rainbow. Nanabozho was so pleased with this rainbow that he decided that whenever the light of the sun shines on the water, a rainbow will form. Thus, the bluebird is the inventor of the rainbow. (8)
Bluebird Christianity Symbolism
Bluebirds aren’t exactly biblical symbols, however these birds are still important to many Christians as messengers of hope, joy, and the bounty of nature. Birds and other animals are used throughout the Bible to demonstrate the perfection of creation. Job 12:7-9 states:
“”But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?””(9)
The bluebird specifically, since it is so associated with the return of spring each year and with joy itself, is a reminder of the promise of paradise and the hope that faith can bring.
Bluebird Celtic Symbolism
Bluebirds are nonexistent in Europe, though there are a few birds with some blue plumage. In any case, Celtic cultures do not have very strong associations with this bird in general.
Related: 5 Best Bluebird Feeders (incl. Beginners Guide)
Bluebird in Dreams
Dreaming of bluebirds can be a very touching and impactful experience. While context certainly matters, bluebird dreams are largely positive and often signal a bright future ahead. Dreaming of a bluebird may signal the end of a metaphorical “winter” and the beginning of a period of warmth and possibility.
Birds, and bluebirds especially, are often seen as messengers who bring happy news. For those going through a difficult period or grieving a loss, the bluebird might appear in dreams as a messenger to lift your spirits and convey that you are loved.
Bluebirds are excellent singers, so a bluebird dream might be a reminder to express yourself and embrace the power of your voice.
Most of all, bluebird dreams often signify the importance of gratitude. Bluebirds in dreams appear as reminders to count one’s blessings and think happy thoughts. Gratitude has a special way of attracting ever more positivity to it.
Bluebird Mythology and Folklore
While true bluebirds only exist in the Americas, folklore from around the world features birds with blue plumage.
There are many instances of “blue birds” in Russian and French fairytales. Generally, these “blue birds” bring good news or joy. The people of Lorraine believe bluebirds to personify happiness itself. Similarly, in Korean traditions, legend has it that the bluebirds are a messenger of God. They flutter around people and report back the deeds to God. Some also believe them to be a messenger between distant but true lovers.
Chinese folklore also features a mystical “blue bird.” Legend has it that a bone oracle in the Shang Dynasty dubbed the “blue birds” as the messengers of Xi Wangmu, who was the queen Goddess of the west. Xi Wangmu was known as a protectress of priestesses, nuns, singing girls, and adepts. If you spot the bluebird on a three-legged tree, then you can be sure of Xi Wangmu’s presence and, therefore, her protection. (10)
It is quite telling of the impact of this special little bird that even in cultures which do not even have true “bluebirds,” the blue bird of happiness remains a strong cultural tradition. Something about the cheerful blue color and heavenly freedom of the bluebird just sings of elation to the human heart.
Bluebird Spirit Animal
As previously stated, many of the symbolic virtues of the color blue can be connected to the bluebird. Depth, loyalty, trust, wisdom, confidence, sincerity, faith, and peacefulness are all traits that relate to the bluebird spirit animal. Many cultures believe the color blue to bring peace and keep the negative energy away. People with the bluebird spirit animal are born peacemakers.
The spiritual meaning of the bluebird is joy and happiness. People with the bluebird as their spirit animal have no higher calling than to bring as much joy as possible into the lives of others. From comedians to artists to first responders, the bluebird spirit animal is most often found in people who are born to help bring joy to others.
In some traditions, the bluebird is also associated with growth, transformation, and humility. People with the bluebird spirit animal have the wisdom and stability in their hearts to accept change and grow with each challenge they face. Because of their positivity, people with the bluebird spirit animal are extremely tenacious and are undeterred by difficult situations.
Bluebird Totem Animal
The bluebird totem animal is deeply connected to the home and family. To the bluebird totem animal, the nest is a sacred space that should be protected. The nest of the bluebird totem is a space that is welcoming, comfortable, and warm.
For people with bluebird animal totem, solid foundations are very important. Having a stable home allows these people to stretch their wings and explore their unique talents. With a safe and comfortable home, the bluebird totem can thrive and blossom into the wise and nurturing individual that it is destined to be.
A bluebird totem also tends to mean that a person is very romantic and monogamous. They often yearn for a soul mate who shares their values and will build a simple life with them. Once they find their life partner, they tend to start a family pretty soon. Like the bluebird, they are very protective of their nest and don’t allow anyone to disrupt the loving peace of their lives.
A bluebird totem may bring the carrier into the divine service of the great spirits in some way. You can become a helpmate or a spiritual guide to others, which in itself is a true example of bluebird medicine at its finest.
Bluebird Power Animal
The bluebird power animal represents healing. People with this power animal have an incredible ability to embrace their inner child, accept the events of the past, and push forward as a more complete and content person than before.
This incredible talent for healing is not limited to the bluebirds themselves. People with this power animal are drawn to the types of people whom they can help. The bluebird power animal seeks to soothe the souls of damaged people and bring hope and healing into their lives.
People with the bluebird power animal must sometimes remind themselves to be selfish on occasion. Other people may need help, but one person can only do so much. Beware of being taken advantage of or spreading yourself too thin.
Bluebird Tattoo Meaning
The bluebird symbol is one of good luck and innocence. It is often used in nautical-themed designs. The bluebird tattoo is often confused with a swallow or the swift because of its similar coloring, but in fact, all three of them are quite different and have distinctive characteristics.
The bluebird tattoo is often associated with its mythological and symbolic importance, that is, with prosperity, happiness, the arrival of spring, or good luck. The beautiful blue of the bird also highlights eternal happiness and reminds the person of the far-stretching sky and the freedom that it symbolizes.
Few birds, or even creatures, can claim to be so wholly and completely connected with sheer and utter joy. From hope to serenity to optimism, the many meanings of the bluebird really boil down to one thing: happiness. This bird is so special, so cheerful, and so charming, that we have come to see it as the embodiment of our most positive emotional experience. There can be no higher praise than that!
Related: Bluebird vs. Blue Jay: Songs, Habitat & Identification
7 thoughts on “Bluebird Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”
About a month ago I saw an eastern bluebird at the bottom of my steps. I walked down while talking to him and he stayed put. So I reached down to pick him up and check him out to see if he was OK. He was fine! So I put him on my chest and covered him with my long hair and we walked around the yard for about 30 minutes. Then he flew away.
What an incredible encounter! Thank you for sharing with us!
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ WorldBirds
My brother James passed away on St. Patrick’s Day and we are to bury him on this coming Tuesday. Needless to say we are all devastated because it wasn’t expected. Literally just now sitting in my living room, the biggest bluest bird came flying out of my fireplace which has been closed off for years due to a new tin roof being put on. Our kitten, Mystery, chased him all over the house. He ended up behind the curtain and window in my office. Before I could let him out, he disappeared. We cannot find him anywhere. We are still looking. This was an amazing experience because of what I just read on here.
Wow! That certainly feels like a sign to me. What a crazy encounter!!!
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ World Birds
I had a great experience upon my mother passing approximately 24 years ago with the bird that came to my house after a voice told me that my mother was going to come back as a bird a few minutes later the bird landed on the steering wheel of my car it was around my home for parts only a one-year the day when we were planning her funeral a couple of days after she had passed the bird kept flying into the window as we sat in the house doing the arrangements of the funeral it was a strange accident but forget many things including going into my car in the panel of the card pulling out my mother’s obituary of herself flying up and letting the obituary fall to the ground face up that said her name. It was amazing, and it brought me comfort after my mother’s death.
What a beautiful message! I’m glad it brought you so much joy and comfort.
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ WorldBirds
A precious friend recently had a heart attack , Followed by a stroke. She is in ICU and as I was talking to her 5 bluebirds landed on the railing outside my bedroom. I have not ever seen a bluebird at my house in 25 years. I looked up bluebirds and found wonderful, spiritual messages about bluebirds. I’d this a sign?