Pigeons are found throughout the world and, for most cultures, they are a sign of good luck, peace, and harmony.
As a bird, they can also symbolize the freedom of flight and a person’s ability to choose their own path in life.
The pigeon is a popular and much-loved subject for tattoos. Although its symbolism and meaning differs from person to person and culture to culture, there are several universal elements that we can discuss.
This article outlines all the possible meanings of a pigeon tattoo, as well as some background information about pigeons themselves so that you can see whether this type of tattoo is right for you.
What is a pigeon?
Pigeons, and their close relative the doves, belong to the Columbidae family. Although these birds are found all over the world, by far the greatest variety can be found in parts of the subcontinent and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and Papua New Guinea.
You can spot a pigeon by its short neck, round and squat body, and short, slim beaks.
Pigeons tend to feed on seeds, fruit, and plants and they make their nests from small sticks and leaves.
Although they tend to make their nests in trees, you can also find pigeon nests on building ledges, on the ground, and even on your outdoor furniture. They have large, strong wings and are excellent fliers.
Unlike most bird species, pigeons have no natural urge to migrate. With an excellent ability to withstand the cold, they are able to live and prosper in the same location the whole year-round.
Interestingly, both the male and female parents produce a type of milk called “crop milk” to feed their young. It is secreted from fluid-filled cells located in the crop, which is where the pigeon stores its food.
What does a pigeon tattoo symbolize?
The pigeon is a very popular subject for tattoos and it can symbolize different things for different people. Here is a list of some of the more common meanings for pigeon tattoos:
- Love and Hope
Considered a good sign in many cultures, pigeons are seen to be pure and humble and so are a great way to represent the purity and sanctity of love.
White pigeons, especially, are a sign of hope and that there are good times ahead.
- Humility and depth
If you look at a pigeon from afar, it might look dull and grey. But if you take a closer look, you can see a rainbow of colors within its feathers, which may also have a beautiful shine.
Pigeons are a great way to symbolize that the best things in life are often more than skin deep, and you need to take the time and make an effort to uncover them.
Birds, with the ability to fly away whenever and wherever they want, are fantastic symbols of freedom, and pigeons are no exception.
Pigeons are very loyal to each other. Once they find a mate, they mate for life and will only find another partner if the other one dies.
Pigeons can symbolize a person’s desire to go higher and be a better version of themselves. For those of us who are always trying to be stronger, happier, and healthier, the pigeon is a way to show this asset.
- Messengers and communication
From the dove of the Bible who carried an olive branch to let people know that the flood was receding, to modern pigeons who can race and carry messengers, they are a great way to represent our continuing need to keep in touch.
- Stability and strength
Pigeons don’t migrate and they spend their lives in one location and with the same mate. Strong and stable, they are a great way to represent consistency.
Why is the pigeon a popular tattoo choice?
The pigeon is a popular tattoo choice for many reasons:
- Pigeons can be shown in many ways and positions, from alight in flight to standing, feeding, or sitting in a nest
- Pigeons have many meanings and can symbolize many things
- Pigeon tattoos can be any size and they suit almost every part of the body
- Pigeon images are great on their own or can be part of a montage of birds or nature
- Pigeon feathers are tinged with color, including green, silver, blue and purple. They are a great way to introduce color to your tattoos.
What are the best locations for a pigeon tattoo?
There is no ‘best’ location for a pigeon tattoo, but there is a ‘best’ location for you.
If you want a large tattoo, having a pigeon with outstretched wings on your back is a powerful statement.
However, if a smaller image is more your style, a pigeon tattoo on your arm or leg is a better option. And if you want to be able to see your tattoo easily, a spot on your forearm is perfect.
The most important thing to consider when choosing the site for your tattoo is to be yourself. Place your tattoo on the part of your body that feels right for you.
Does my pigeon tattoo need to be in color?
No, a pigeon tattoo will look great in black and white as well as color. A simple monochrome image will highlight the bird’s form, feather pattern, and strength.
Although pigeons are generally grey in color, their feathers are actually tinged with greens, silvers, pinks, and blues, which can be depicted on a tattoo.
So, is a pigeon tattoo right for you?
When considering getting a tattoo, it’s always worth taking the time to research the symbolism and what it means.
A pigeon tattoo can symbolize many things, including freedom, loyalty, love, hope, humility, and new beginnings.
If you think that any of these meanings apply to you, the pigeon might just be the tattoo you need.
This article shows that if you’re thinking about getting a pigeon tattoo, there are many meanings that might be right for you.