Mockingbird Symbolism (Meanings & Interpretations)

Mockingbirds are common birds that aren’t brightly colored and are often overlooked. However there is still plenty of interesting symbolism around this bird we can dive into based on its personality and how others have viewed them through history.  In this article we’ll give you insight regarding mockingbird dreams, tattoos, totems, spiritual relevance, various mockingbird symbolism, and more.

What does a Mockingbird symbolize?

We can deduce what a mockingbird symbolizes based how they conduct themselves. If you have ever watched one you may have noticed that they are quite bold and aggressive. They don’t seem to fear anything, even larger birds, animals or people. Mockingbirds are also known for being quite vocal, singing all hours of the day. Not only do they have several loud calls but they can also mimic other birds and sounds.

Here is some of the most common symbolism associated with mockingbirds:

  • Protection / Possessiveness
  • Confidence / Inner Strength
  • Imitation / Mirroring
  • Innocence
  • Curiosity

1. Protection 

When it comes to protecting their young, these birds don’t mess around. Mockingbirds are a small to medium sized songbird, but that doesn’t scare them away from going after any large creature that gets too close to their nest. They will chase after hawks, snakes, cats, dogs, even people! Squawking noisily and dive bombing. 

This behavior can be symbolic of over possessiveness. But also of protection and doing anything necessary to protect one’s family and loved ones.   

2. Confidence

As stated above, their behavior is bold and aggressive. They seem like fearless birds. In this way they can also symbolize confidence and inner strength, a willingness to stand up to any obstacle no matter the size. 

3. Imitation

Mockingbirds belong to the mimid family, which include birds that have highly developed mimic capabilities. They most often mimic the songs of other bird species, but also any noise they hear be it mechanical or even human. Some mockingbirds can learn upwards of 200 songs throughout their life. 

This is a cool ability, however, is often seen to symbolize a lack of authenticity. If all you are doing is imitating others, you aren’t being authentic or bringing any of your own personality to the table.  

4. Innocence

It’s hard to mention a mockingbird without thinking of the classic novel that contains their name, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. In this book, the mockingbird symbolizes innocence and the idea of innocence. 

Even though the mockingbirds song is a mimic of others, it is truly beautiful to hear. They sing loud and often in long strings of different melodies. Perhaps it is their cheerful sounding song or their proclivity to protect their young, not out of malice but out of love, that they were chosen to represent the spirit of innocence. 

In the novel, when the main character kills a mockingbird it is meant to symbolize the end of innocence. 

5. Curiosity

Mockingbirds are often seen as curious birds. They are intelligent and vigilant of their surroundings, ready to investigate anything that catches their eye. This curiosity can serve them well in finding food sources or learning a new sound they can imitate to attract a mate or scare off a predator. 

What do Mockingbird Dreams Symbolize?

Firstly, think about how you felt if you saw a mockingbird in your dream. Where you scared and fearful or excited and happy? This alone can help you decipher if it was a positive or negative symbol in your dream.

Dreams about mockingbirds have been interpreted by many cultures through history. Here are some ways that mockingbirds are interpreted in dreams today:

  • A Mockingbird Sings to You: if a mockingbird is singing it’s mimic song in your dream it could be telling you that you are spending too much time just following along with the crowd or trying to copy others to fit in. It might be time let more of your authentic personality shine through. 
  • Seeing a mockingbird Feed its Young: Initially, it may be bringing back memories of familial ideals that you’ve long since forgotten. How long has it been since you spoke to your loved ones? Try to get back in touch with them if you can.
  • Confidence to change up your routine: If you’ve been feeling stuck in life and that you aren’t doing what you really want, the mockingbird can remind you that you have the ability to follow any path. Just as the mockingbird can mimic any song, so too can you be anyone you want to be. You are stronger than you realize and it may be time to change your course in life to something that brings you more joy. 
  • Feeling Copied: is there someone in your life who you feel is copying you or trying to take credit for your ideas? If you feel someone is trying to mimic and overshadow you, perhaps at work, now is the time to confront them.
  • If you are the mockingbird in your dream: becoming a mockingbird may indicate that you feel you are taking credit for the labor of others or succeeding via the use of someone else’s ideas. Express remorse and accept accountability if you’ve been plagued by guilt and shame.
  • You Killed a Mockingbird: as we mentioned above, killing a mockingbird is often seen as a sign of lost innocence. Has there been a recent event in your life that made you change the way you look at things? Shame over something you have done, or hurt over something that was done to you, can indicate you feel you have lost some of your innocence and may not be able to view things in the same light.
  • You Dreamt of a Mockingbird Hatching: Every birth is a miracle, whether it’s a human being, an animal, or even a bird. So, if you’ve ever dreamed about an incredible event, it’s a sure sign that something even more incredible is on the horizon.
  • An Angry Mockingbird: Seeing a mockingbird yelling at you fiercely in your dreams could be a warning sign that you are abusing the position of authority you’ve earned. And if that’s the case, you should be aware that any future misuse of this information will have terrible consequences for you.
  • Seeing a Mockingbird defend its nest: This could indicate that you are sensing trouble for a loved one or family member and are feeling protective. Is there someone in your life who could use your help or defending?

Symbolism in Visits or Encounters with Mockingbirds

Depending on where you live, mockingbirds may be very common and birds that you see all the time. However if you notice an interesting pattern or feel your encounter with a mockingbird was unique, here are some common symbolic meanings and omens. 

If you keep seeing a mockingbird in the same place or feel they follow you on a daily route, it could be a call that you need to make time for friends and family. It’s easy to get stuck in life’s daily routine and not reach out to others. The mockingbird can serve to remind you to make time for those who mean the most to us. Reach out, plan a get-together, visit those you care about. 

Superstitions about Mockingbirds

  • Mockingbirds are magical creatures and will sometimes answer questions that you ask them.
  • Mockingbirds are considered a symbol of new beginnings and innocence
  • An unmarried woman will get married within one year of a mockingbird flying over her head
  • If you hear a mockingbird singing while falling asleep, you will have good luck

Mockingbirds as Spirit Animals & Totems

Mockingbird Spirit Animal

The mockingbird is a useful spirit animal to call upon when considering how we mirror and are mirrored in life. Are you being a good role model for others? Take time to cultivate positive traits and characteristics that others will want to imitate. 

On the flip side of the mirror, what behaviors might you be picking up from other people? Are you getting sucked into their toxic traits or doing things that don’t sit well with you just to fit in? Take time to consider who in your life you respect and look up to, and focus on what positive traits you can learn from them, rather than trying to blend in with people who bring negativity to your life.

When it comes to getting your voice heard, it’s crucial to look for the best chances. If you want your message to be heard, don’t try to outshine everyone else by shouting it from the rooftops.

The mockingbird spirit animal may also appear when your “nest” (home / family) is under attack. This could come in the form of gossip, arguments, jealousy or any number of other negative actions. As protectors, the mockingbird spirit can help give you courage to protect your space and family, even if this means removing toxic people from your life.

Mockingbird Totem Animal

People born under the mockingbird totem are often talented. They tend to blend into the crowd but know how to stand out when they need to. 

Those with the mockingbird totem aren’t easily fooled. They are vigilant and learn quickly, so pulling the wool over their eyes isn’t so easy as they have “heard that song before”. 

Like the mockingbird they poses a fearless attitude at heart, ready to defend themselves and those they love without hesitation. They may also extend this spirit to those less fortunate in society or those that cannot stand up for themselves. 

Spiritual and Cultural Meaning of Mockingbirds

For several Christians, the presence of a migrating Mockingbird bird is a sign of God’s mercy and compassion. In the Scripture, it is said that God’s children shall be rewarded with a lifetime of good fortune and compassion.

That is why the mockingbird can represent goodness and mercy. When a mockingbird follows you, it’s a lucky omen for your future endeavors.

They are also viewed as signs that your guardian angel is guiding you. When you feel alone and unprotected, the mockingbird brings the message that your angels in fact are looking out for you, protecting you, and steering you in the right direction.

Native American Mockingbird symbolism

The Mockingbird has been credited with teaching the Hopi and sometimes other Pueblo groups to talk in their creation tales.

The Mockingbird, according to Shasta Indian mythology, is a keeper of the souls of the departed. 

Symbolic of intelligence, the mockingbird’s head was given to Cherokee youngsters to eat because they believed it would render them smarter.

Mockingbirds were revered as medicine animals by the Maricopa, and to dream of one was a sign that one had been endowed with exceptional abilities. Mockingbirds were looked at as mediators in the mythology of Pima and Papago.

There is even a Mayan legend about mockingbirds called “How The Mockingbird Became The Best Singer“. In this story despite the beautiful appearance of the cardinal, who is assumed will have the best singing ability, it is in face the drab-looking mockingbird that learns how to sign and surpasses all other birds in the forest. 

Mockingbird tattoo symbolism

A mockingbird tattoo shows that you are a person with a bold and courageous spirit. Some of the most common meanings of mockingbird tattoos are:

  • Innocence
  • Playfulness
  • Intelligence and Cleverness
  • Protection
  • Being a gifted singer
  • Imitation and mirroring
  • Representing the states where they are the official state bird: Florida, Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi

Are Mockingbirds Good Luck?

Mockingbird encounters are typically seen as good omens or having a generally positive message, according to both folklore and modern wisdom.

They are viewed as signs from guardian angels, or spirit animals encouraging you to express yourself, tap into your individuality, and protection of those you love. 

Conclusion

Although the mockingbird is just a small bird, you can harness its strength for the greater good. Tiny but mighty, these unassuming birds will strike out in an instant to protect their family. This spirit of fierce protection can help us feel empowered and aid us in empowering those around us. Their skills at mimicry show their intelligence and ability to learn quickly, while also serving as a reminder that sometimes we need to be a leader in our own lives, not just followers. 

About Mary Richardson

Mary is an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, and amateur birdwatcher that enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.