There are many reasons to choose a traditional bird tattoo–as many as there are designs to choose from, in fact.
For the Audobon devotee, a realistic black-and-white ink rendering or bold avian illustration is a timelessly elegant and on-trend way to express one’s love of nature, scientific study, and the fragile resiliency of creatures.
The swallow, and to a lesser degree the bluebird, have been sacred symbols for hundreds of years, not only representing hope and personal freedom, but also serving as protective emblems for those who make their living at sea. Sailors have long believed that if one of their own should drown at sea, a swallow will deliver their soul to heaven.
Additionally, the swallow represents loyalty and love, an assurance that though one may travel far, his friends, sweethearts, and family will no be forgotten. Some couples even choose to celebrate their union with matching dove or sparrow tattoos, a reminder that though they may wander far, they are forever joined.
Whether you find solace in the forest or by the water’s edge, a traditional bird tattoo is the mark of a man who treads lightly but travels far, who devotes himself fully to those he loves and values the spirit of freedom above all else.