Because birds fly, they can be representative of higher thought, inspiration, conscience, hopes and your ability to transcend limitations. The behavior and well-being of birds in a dream will portray your current sense of optimism in these areas. Birds associated with a nest will often signify issues of independence or dependence. Parrots ‘mimic’ what they have been trained to say, but they are also colorful and exotic creatures that can symbolize untapped abilities and unique qualities yet to be expressed in you.
The blackbird, crow or raven can have mythical associations that tie it to the ‘Trickster.’ They portray aspects of the evolving mind that can ‘trick’ you into growth, like Freudian slips. Often we dream of the Crow when we are first breaking through a difficult transformation. It calls for a sacrifice of the past in order to meet the future. In some situations, becoming crafty is a necessity, unlike the ostrich, which is a symbol of keeping your head below the ground or not facing something.
Like the bluebird of happiness, it is associated with hope, while a group of birds can suggest migratory behavior or following the crowd while still following instincts. Seeing birds in flight suggests following your drummer and to only believe in your success to make it happen. Ducks and waterfowl remain at the surface of the great sea, representing the unconscious stirring, as a way of suggesting your movement into this area. Dreaming of a duck can be a message about being an easy target or victim (as in sitting duck) as you explore being vulnerable or defenseless in some situation. Of all birds, the duck is multi terrestrial or living in many habitats. It seeks sustenance below the water; ascends to the sky and walks on land. Dreaming of a duck can offer you a message about being multi faceted or acknowledging your talent to function successfully in many capacities.
You can be ‘chicken,’ or ‘cuckoo’ and sometimes act predatorily like the hawk and eagle, suggesting the ability to ‘see’ clearly the things below, which remain hidden. The owl is a symbol of the patience that comes from intelligence and experience. The canary is said to know of danger before it is obvious.
Reptiles use shade and the warmth of the sun to regulate body temperature. As some dinosaurs evolved into birds, feathers became an evolved way of trapping warmth and cooling the body. Beyond their association with survival, feathers can symbolize the ability to rise above beliefs or move toward evolution in this way. Finding a feather describes insight related to the type of bird or color of the feather. Representing accomplishment, you can ‘have a feather in your cap.’ The elaborate feathers of a peacock can symbolize your fearlessness in demonstrating new abilities or expressing your beauty. A rooster crows and can represent the need to speak your mind - or it can offer a wake-up call to do something differently. Their association with being virile can make roosters and cocks a sexual symbol.
The quail and pheasant are unusual in that they only fly short distances and live in the brush. They can symbolize aspirations that are grounded in both the positive and negative sense. The quail has an interesting top feather and can symbolize the desire to have 'a feather in one's cap.' The pheasant has unusually long tail feathers - and like the peacock, can symbolize the idea of one's exotic beauty. These game birds can also be associated with feeling preyed upon.
Farmyard birds have different associations. You can be 'chicken' or not acknowledging fear in some area or need to talk 'turkey' or get at the truth. If someone were to call you a turkey, it would signify copping out. Dreaming of a turkey may be a way of exploring this quality. These birds' association with food give them a meaning more in line with how we might experience self esteem or inner nourishment. Since neither bird really flies, dreaming of them explores the more grounded ideas of sustenance.