June 11, 2020

What does a bird symbolize?


Sunrise, captured at its predictable time — it was 5:19 — with the sudden appearance of a bird. Seeing it only now, as I process this morning's photographs, I wonder what does a bird symbolize?

The internet answers most simplistically: Freedom!

Which cues "Ballad in Plain D"...
Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me
“How good, how good does it feel to be free?”
And I answer them most mysteriously
“Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?
ADDED: I have made a study of the birds of the Bible, and I have produced a list of 8 quotations, which I've ranked in the order that seemed right to me:
8. Matthew 8:20 — "Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'"

7. Ezekiel 38:20 — "The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground."

6. Psalm 50:11 — "I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine."

5. Ecclesiastes 9:12 — "Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them."

4. Job 12:7-8 — "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."

3. Psalm 102:7  — "I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse."

2. Matthew 6:26 — "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

1. Job 41:1-5 —"Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook? Will it keep begging you for mercy? Will it speak to you with gentle words? Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life? Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?"


Meade said...

Trump will put birds back in the chains of the skyway. If you don't know that, you ain't bird, man!

tcrosse said...

What does a bird symbolize? Twitter.

rhhardin said...

It means breakfast. I used to take off at dawn and fly to a distant small airport with a restaurant. What was it called, Flying W, I think.

rcocean said...

The early bird gets the worm. So, it symbolizes energy and persistence.

Kay said...

The bird is flying just underneath the horizon, so maybe the idea is freedom, but you can only enjoy that kind of freedom if you keep your head down low.

traditionalguy said...

You have an F4u Corsair infestation.

Yancey Ward said...

White privilege.

Tommy Duncan said...

The bird on the wing (or on a wire) symbolizes freedom. But that bird is not free from hunger, predators, the ravages of summer storms or the cold of winter. It is so much better to be a bird in a cage, with free food, free shelter and safety. Freedom is illusory. Come and join us and know the joys of equality, safety and conformity that are yours when you live in a cage. Your joy will be complete when you join us in the cage and embrace the state as your protector.

Terry di Tufo said...

This is the song Dylan later wrote that he regretted recording. Too hard on Suze's family and particularly her sister.

tim in vermont said...

I was sitting on my dock the other day and saw a seagull on the jetty catch and eat a crayfish. It swallowed it, but the thing was still alive in its now swollen crop and you could see that it was flipping it’s tail and ruffling the feathers of the bird’s neck. After a couple of minutes there was just one feather twitched with what must have been the last flick, then the seagull did kind of a slow motion swimming motion with its wings I never saw before, which I assume was it completing the swallowing of the unlucky creature. So if you are a crayfish, it means death from above.

Another seagull was following a Caspian tern as it flew up the shore and then when the tern turned around, the seagull turned around too, probably hoping to mug the tern as it caught a fish, so if you are a tern, you probably see the seagulls as neighborhood toughs.

Lately too there has been an osprey that when it catches a fish circles around high above screeching and screeching so everybody knows it caught a fish. It also built a nest at the top of a power pole on the main road that has had the power company out to take it down almost every day for a week.

And yesterday I saw a couple of orioles mobbing a raven, the colors and shapes of the birds was very cool. it was like a Maryland civil war.

That’s the news from isolation at Lake Wobegone.

tcrosse said...

Don't you know about the bird?
Everybody knows that the bird is a word.

Fernandinande said...

I like the list of abominations:

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;

Every raven after his kind;

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

Fernandinande said...

I axed my BunnyHun if people ever told her to smile and she said "No, because I'm already smiling!"

Jersey Fled said...

I think it symbolizes a bird flying over the water at dawn.

chickelit said...

To everyday turn, turn, turn!

Narr said...

"The owl of Minerva flies at dusk," said Hegel.

"This bird you cannot change," said Skynyrd.

Freebird, the other national anthem

Quaestor said...

A previous verse from Ezekiel, the 38th chapter: ...also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.

Well, gaah-leee. Shazam! Sgt. Carter, the Lord says I should command the platoon. Is that ok with the company CO? Who is Beth Togarmah, Sarge? Is she that lady who runs the all-night donuts and coffee shop that you and the other DIs go to on weekend passes? You know, the one you won't tell me about.

See, even Ezekiel didn't want to use a binary pronoun when referring to a gay man. How progressive these 5th century BC prophets were.

Sally327 said...

"If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now
Cause there's too many places I've got to see..."

Bird...Free...Free Bird...play it pretty for Atlanta...

"So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

A verse that seems to fit with these apocalyptic times. Which might not fit the theme of this post, I'm not sure. I think I'll stick with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

mccullough said...

The symbolism depends on the type of bird.

Skylark, Nightingale, Windhover, Raven, Swan, Vulture, etc.

NCMoss said...

White bird in a golden cage
On a winter's day, in the rain
White bird in a golden cage
Alone (white bird privilege)

M Jordan said...

The Ecclesiastes verse got me. How quickly our built up world falls. The people of CHAZ will soon find out.


gilbar said...

Matthew 10:29
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

Good or Bad, Happy or Sad; it ALL Happens, 'cause GOD wanted it to. Which says a lot about GOD

NCMoss said...

2. Matthew 6:26 — "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?


Carol said...

I used to take off at dawn and fly to a distant small airport with a restaurant.

Gee, and I just get something out of the fridge.

rhhardin said...

"If freedom has wings," taught Reb Idrash, "it also has eyes, a forehead, genitals. Each time it takes wing, it transfigures a bit of both the world and man in the excitement of its flowering."
And Reb Lima: "In the beginning, freedom was ten times engraved on the tables of the Law. But we so little deserved it that the Prophet broke them in his anger."
"Any coercion is a ferment of freedom," Reb Idrash taught further. "How can you hope to be free if you are not bound with all our blood to your God and to man?"
And Reb Lima: "Freedom awakens gradually as we become conscious of our ties, like the sleeper of his senses. Then, finally, our actions have a name."
A teaching which Reb Zale translated into this image: "You think it is the bird which is free. Wrong: it is the flower."
And Reb Elat into this motto: "Love your ties to their last splendor, and you will be free."

Jabes, Book of Questions

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Leonard Cohen by Judy Collins

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"
Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Birkel said...

If you want more freedom, you should want less government; they are inversely proportional.

There should be fewer laws and fewer excuses for the government to insinuate itself into your life.
That doesn't mean anarchy.
It means devolving power from the larger institutions that are less responsive to demands of the people who are responsible citizens in a republican form of government.

Quaestor said...

Trump will put birds back in the chains of the skyway. If you don't know that, you ain't bird, man!

Like everything else, birds back in chains will be a mixed blessing.

On the plus side of the ledger, it signals the return of those old, treasured avian theropod spirituals, such as:

Ya gotta jump down, (Haaw!)
Spin around, (Haaw!)
Pick a bale o' Dacron.

Ya gotta jump down, (Haaw!)
Spin around. (Haaw!)
Pick some Nylon, too.

Earnest Prole said...

When I awoke
I was alone
This bird had flown

Oso Negro said...

“I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

Yahweh as drunken, abusive father.

Earnest Prole said...

The early bird gets the worm. So, it symbolizes energy and persistence.

The early worm gets eaten by the bird.

heyboom said...

It wasn't a baby seagull. You never see them in public.

heyboom said...

Speaking of seagulls, I killed one after landing at John Wayne airport in a C172. It was in the middle of the runway and waited until the last minute to fly away. Right into the propellor. Felt bad about it.

That same year I killed a hummingbird when it flew into my 6-iron on the golf course. I had lifted the club to check my grip when two hummingbirds flew by. One of them collided with the head of the iron. It was just perfect timing.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Entire Hack-D press ignoring what is going down in Seattle. Why? The leftwing collective support Antifa.

Michel said...

“My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.“ Psalm 55

bagoh20 said...

"What does a bird symbolize?"


Churchy LaFemme: said...

Obviously 2020 is giving us the bird.

stevew said...

In Blade Runner it indicated Roy had died, and symbolized that he was now free from the prison of being a Replicant that had no rights and was, in effect, a simple man-made machine. That he was to all appearances human, with a human sense of self, also made him a slave.

To fly wherever you want is to be free.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

But if you *want* a song..

Ken B said...

Maybe it symbolizes
- Democrats fleeing “Defund the police”
- the inconstancy of the Minneapolis council, not yet defunding the police
- wise souls leaving blue cities

narciso said...

the armed services committee voted to go buddha bamiyan,

DanTheMan said...

>>Trump will put birds back in the chains of the skyway. If you don't know that, you ain't bird, man!

John 18:38 "Truth?" said Pilate, "What is the truth?"

He was literally looking the Way, the Truth and the Light in the face. And couldn't recognize the Truth.

There's a lot of that going on now, too.

sparrow said...

Doves symbolize the Holy Spirit or, with an olive branch in its beak, peace.

I choose the name sparrow for the Matthew 10:31 reference: "Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows."

Rick.T. said...

rcocean said...
The early bird gets the worm. So, it symbolizes energy and persistence
But it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

wild chicken said...

I have been attacked by hummingbirds.

Many times.

Rick.T. said...

We've got a summer tanager in the back who for the last several weeks was constantly attacking the windows starting at dawn, likely because he thinks his reflection is a rival. It's toned down to an occasional pecking and look see.

I thought he was a scarlet tanager but saw one of those in the front last week. The pileated woodpecker - Ha-ha-ha-HAAAAA HA! -sounds like a jackhammer going off a couple times a day. I love all the birds chattering all day but it drives the city girl nuts.

FWBuff said...

For these times, not "free as a bird", but "Flee as a Bird":

"Flee as a bird to your mountain,
Thou who art weary of sin;
Go to the clear flowing fountain
Where you may wash and be clean.
Fly, for th'avenger is near thee,
Call, and the Savior will hear thee;
He on His bosom will bear thee,
O thou who art weary of sin,
O thou who art weary of sin."

Richard Dolan said...

Genesis 8: 6-12 (Robert Alter tr.):

And it happened at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark he had made. And he sent out the raven and it went forth to and fro until the waters should dry up from the earth. And he sent out the dove to see whether the waters had abated from the surface of the ground. But the dove found no resting place for its foot and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were over all the earth. And he reached out and took it and brought it back to him into the ark. Then he waited another seven days and again sent the dove out from the ark. And the dove came back to him at eventide and, look, a plucked olive leaf was in its bill, and Noah knew that the waters had abated from the earth. Then he waited another seven days and sent out the dove, and it did not return to him again.

Fernandinande said...

Here's an important part of our Cultural History™ which is no longer taught to the soot-faced proles shunned by God and man in the government's public indoctrination systems, and fortunately it's pretty short at 2:13.

Easy Rider - If You Want to Be a Bird

Just glide there through the clear air
Makin' figure eights through the Pearly Gates
Where the soul and the universe meet

If you want to be a bird
It won't take much to get you up there
But when you come down land on your feet

RichardJohnson said...

Have you heard about the bird? Everybody knows bird is a word.

Kevin said...

Hey Mr. Policeman, is it time for getting away?
Is it time for driving down the mother fuckin' road
And running from your ass today

Now tell me if do you agree
Or tell me if I'm makin' you bleed
I got a few more minutes and
I'm gonna cut to what you need
So one of six so tell me
One do you want to live
And one of seven tell me
Is it time for your muthafuckin' ass to give
Tell me is it time to get down on your muthafuckin' knees
Come on baby tell me, yes we aim to please

Music and Lyrics by Pigeonhead
Dance Moves by Nancy Pelosi and the House Dems

Paddy O said...

Depends on the bird. A dove is one thing. An eagle is another. A raven a third.

Bird tidbit: did you know the verb in Genesis 1:2, of the Spirit (or wind... same word) hovering over the waters is a rare verb that is used in Deuteronomy 32:11 of an eagle hovering over its nest.

Also, speaking of ravens, don't forget 1 Kings 17 where the ravens feed Elijah. But then there is Proverbs 30:17, and that's a much different picture of ravens.

YoungHegelian said...

Preach it, Sistah Ann! Puh-Reech!

Jon Ericson said...

Let's not discuss anything important.
Let's talk about what birds symbolize.
They know where I live.
Let me stick my fingers in my ears.
I don't want to write anything offensive.
I might get paint on my sidewalk, or car, or door.
I don't want to lose any more of my friends.
I want everyone to think that I am a good person.
I am just like Nancy Pelosi.
I think the slogans on the boarded up businesses are fine.

Frankly I don't blame you.
Be like Inga.
This too shall pass.
I'm sure you could re-write the Constitution so everyone is happy.
Or in jail.
Perfect outcomes for all.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?

It’s really starting to creep me out.

tcrosse said...

Sometimes a bird is just a bird.

Jon Ericson said...

Symbolic birb

Jon Ericson said...

He was sort of right, the insurgency is not being televised.

Jon Ericson said...

Be confused.

Andrew said...

The greatest orchestral piece about a bird:


Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Luvin' today's Althouse!

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howard said...

The wings look like the old American Airlines Logo I remember from the 1960's

The Godfather said...

Jesus said, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." Matthew 23:37.

And they killed him.

ken in tx said...

"If in the morning, when I look out, the first thing I see is bird fly at dawn, then the new child is named Bird Fly At Dawn."

"Why do you ask this question, Puking Dog?"

Rusty said...

A target.

gk boyle said...

I have thought for some time now that the phrasing of "are birds ever free from the chains of the sky way" to be a years-early form of what becomes "tangled up in blue" in a later expression of love & woe.

Sam L. said...