Are You Thinking About Getting A Bird Tattoo?

Find out what to look for in a tattoo artist, and what each bird symbolizes.

Bird tattoos
Are you interested in getting a bird tattoo? 

Tattoos can be a personal and permanent form of self-expression. To some, they are status symbols; to others, declarations of love or unity. Whatever the reason for getting one, they are perpetual reminders of whatever the image stands for.

Tattoos have been around for about 5,000 years and are popular in numerous cultures. The word “tattoo?is thought to have been derived from two Pacific Rim cultures. The Polynesian word ta, which means to strike something, and the Tahitian word tatau, meaning “to mark something.?

Birds in general are wildly popular images to employ as a tattoo, and various meanings have been attributed to different species of birds. Generally speaking, birds have been symbolic of a connection to the heavens or the gods and the association is thought to come from their gift of flight. Throughout history, birds have been symbolic of freedom. For instance, the bald eagle, the national symbol for the United States, is a representation of freedom, patriotism and independence.

Legendary as companions to humans, a parrot tattoo often represented a guardian.

The choice of a tattoo tends to be very personal and with that comes different meanings to each person for each tattoo. Some tattoos are chosen for their meaning and some just for their sheer beauty.

Clara Vann from North Carolina has a tattoo and said, “I have a tattoo of a swallow in the colors of my normal Indian ring necks. I got this one mainly as a ?est?tattoo in preparation for a larger one of my first ring neck, Indy. I love the meaning behind it though, as it means ?lose to home?back in the sailor days. For me it means close to my heart as it represents my feeling for all my ring necks and pretty much all my other birds as well.?

Amy Huq of Penrith, New South Wales in Australia has made a tattoo of her rose-breasted cockatoo, Lilo, a tribute. “I have one of Princess Lilo holding a heart with Mum written in a banner underneath. It was a memorial tattoo for my Mum.?

Ann Wykoski, owner of the South East Iowa Parrot Rescue, in Keokuk, Iowa got her tattoo as a celebration. “I have a tattoo of a scarlet macaw on my left upper chest. I did it to celebrate my rescue.?

Some reasons for getting a tattoo are not as specific. Paco Dozier of Fort Lauderdale, Florida has a “Nekhbet?design on his back. Dozier explained, “It is an ancient Egyptian deity represented as a white vulture holding two shen rings. A shen ring is a hieroglyph of a circle seated on a straight line. It represents ‘eternity’ and ‘infinity.’ Why? Because I have a certain fondness for ancient Egypt and its art and architecture. It’s fascinating.?

Carrie Jacob Gonzalez and her husband got their tattoos simply because they love their birds. Gonzalez explained, “My husband, Carlos, and I both have tattoos of our birds. I have our grey, Allison on my shoulder. He has our blue-fronted Amazon on one shoulder and our Eclectus on the other. These were not our first tattoos and we plan on getting more of our birds. We got them because we love our birds and think that they make beautiful artwork.?

And then there are the people sitting on the “tattoo sidelines? that is, those who have no tattoos yet, but are thinking about getting one. There is a quote from an unknown tattoo artist who said, “Think before you ink!?

Some individuals who are considering getting a tattoo of their bird already have a plan. Karen Quinn seems to have thought long and hard about what kind of tattoo she wants. “I don’t have the tattoo yet,?she said. “But [I] fully intend to get one that has various elements, but the focus will be our dear departed Hispanolian Amazon, Cuca. She is the reason I have fallen in love with birds and she was an absolute joy. So much love, so much personality, so much acceptance. I miss her every single day!?

Whatever the reason for getting a tattoo with an avian theme, remember to do your research and select a design you love and can live with for a very long time. Because you will be carrying it for the rest of your days!

What You Need To Know About Getting A Tattoo
Before you get a tattoo there are certain things you should know.

You must be of legal age: This varies from state to state so make sure you?e old enough.

You cannot donate blood for a year after you get a tattoo: If you donate blood or plasma, they will ask you a series of questions to determine if you are an eligible candidate to donate. They don’t want to risk accepting contaminated blood. It is routine to fill out a form asking about personal information, and current health status including whether or not you have gotten a tattoo or piercing within the last twelve months.

Look for a safe, clean reputable studio: It should have separate areas for tattooing and piercing.

Ask the staff if they have and use an autoclave (equipment used to sterilize their equipment).

The word “tattoo?is thought to have been derived from two Pacific Rim cultures. The Polynesian word ta, which means to strike something, and the Tahitian word tatau, meaning “to mark something.?lt;/span>

Needles should be new, taken out of sealed packages and disposed of. Make sure the artist is wearing latex gloves.

Ensure that the ink used in applying your tattoo be placed in a small cup and then disposed of. Ink should never be applied directly from a common bottle or returned to that bottle!

Ask to see photos of the artist? work. Ask questions. If you don? have a good feeling about the artist or the studio, think about getting recommendations from people who? tattoos you admire. They will probably be happy to give you the name of their artist.

Which Tattoo Are You?
Doves: Doves have long thought to be symbols of peace, and the white dove a symbol of purity or hope. However, they are not as popular in some areas of the world as they are considered emblems representing death in some cultures. They are also used as a memorial for a loved one who has passed on.

Swallows: These small birds have long been a popular tattoo design choice. Sometimes they are associated with sailors due to the fact that they believed a tattoo of a swallow symbolized a safe landing. If sailors on the seas saw birds, they knew land was close. Swallows also always return home every year, which of course was always on the minds of sailors!

Swallows were also tattooed on a sailor? chest to represent having traveled 5,000 nautical miles. The more swallows, the more experienced and well-traveled the sailor was.

Owls: Known as both birds of prey and creatures of the night, owls have been associated with witchcraft, wisdom, even evil. In early Native American folklore, owls represent wisdom and helpfulness. To the Zuni and Keres Pueblo people, the owl is highly respected. Considered to be clever and astute, he is the under the guise of the departed wise elders and leaders’ spirits. The owl hunts silently and is often associated with darkness and night as well as keen eyes and skillful hunting. However, in other cultures, the owl is considered a bad omen, a prophesy of death.

Parrots: In Native American cultures, the parrot is associated with the sun as well as with the coming of the rains. Considered carriers of specific prayers to the gods, the parrot would bestow blessings. Parrots were also very costly. Consequently, this symbol denoted prosperity. They have been quite popular as tattoos due to their vivid color and exotic beauty. Legendary as companions to humans, a parrot tattoo often represented a guardian. Their speaking ability has also made them a symbol of communication. They are considered totems of mischief and mockery due to their habit of repeating what they have heard. And of course, ever since the publication of Robert Louis Stevenson? book, Treasure Island, the parrot has long been associated with pirates.

Cranes: Cranes are a unique bird and, with that, an unusual symbol. One of the oldest species of birds, the crane is considered to be a symbol of peace throughout Asia. As a tattoo, the crane is also a totem of grace, wisdom and love of life. In many cultures, imitating the dance of a crane is considered a dance of joy.

Origami cranes are a symbol of peace and hope. In Japan, folding 1,000 of them, stringing them on a string and giving them as a gift grants a wish to the receiver.

Hummingbirds: Hummingbirds have seen a rise as favored tattoos as of late and are now rivaling eagles in popularity. They seem to be more prevalent as a choice among women. Thought by some to have supernatural powers, some cultures considered this particular totem a symbol of energy and tirelessness. In the Andes Mountains of South America they are symbols of resurrection; they go into a seeming state of suspended animation at night, a state called torpor, and then “come to life?again at sunrise.

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Birds · Lifestyle