Seagull Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Seagull Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Bird tattoos often have quite a lot of symbolism to them and one choice that you don’t see every day is seagull tattoos. So, what do these ivory-feathered seabirds really mean?

In today’s article, we’ll explore the symbolism, meanings, and more behind seagull tattoos so that you can have a good idea about the legends and lore of these beautiful sea-birds and who knows? When you hear what we’ve found out about them, you might just want a seagull tattoo of your own.

 Read on and see what you think!

What is the History of Seagull Tattoos?

The American Herring Gull, or ‘common Seagull’, has quite a lot of mythology behind it and can mean different things to many different people, depending on the region that you’re in.

For instance, to the indigenous people of British Columbia known as the ‘Haida’, Seagulls are bringers of wisdom that act as spiritual guides for those who know to listen. In one Welsh legend, a baby that would grow up to be Saint Kenneth of Wales was abandoned and found by seagulls, who took him to their island and raised him.

They were also considered to be harbingers of the storms that came to Wales, as well, and some Native American myths portray them as selfish or even kind and clever tricksters that can help you or set you up for a fall – depending on how you treat them.

An old sailor’s belief was that seagulls carried the souls of dead sailors and that their cries were those of the newly-departed men – warning other sailors also not to harm these birds on their sacred journey to the next world. With so much folklore on these birds, the first seagull tattoos are likely very old, indeed!


What Do Seagull Tattoos Symbolize?

Seagull tattoos can symbolize a lot of things. For instance, to some this tattoo is worn to signify that the owner of the skin art is a bit of a loner. These tattoos are also a popular choice for those who have served in the naval branch of the military, though they are also common simply to those who love the sea.

These birds represent freedom and self-sufficiency, as well as a certain reputation for cleverness. If you’ve spent a lot of time around the sea, you’ve seen these little opportunists at work, and they’re pretty good at coaxing a few choice snacks out of whomever happens to be nearby.

This is also a good bird to tattoo for a traveler. After all, seagulls are found worldwide and sailors have seen them often flying over a hundred miles from the nearest shore. These are just a few examples of the meanings but as you can see, the common seagull is not so common after all!

What Do Seagull Tattoos Mean?

Your tattoo meanings can vary a lot, based on what you put with the Seagull, the colors that you choose, and more, but some examples include wearing a Seagull to tell the world that you’ve travelled to many distant beaches and shores across the world.

A Seagull can also indicate the soul of a loner, or if one prefers the Native American takes then the seagull could represent a trickster or could even be used as a metaphor for things like corporate greed.

The meaning starts with how you feel about Seagulls, of course, though you can certainly add to the design to give people hints. That’s part of the fun of skin art, after all – ultimately, it’s a riddle and something deeply personal to you – unless, of course, you simply love the aesthetics.

It’s all up to you and what you want to say to the world!


Where Do Seagull Tattoos Usually Go?

One of the joys of this skin-art choice is the instant recognition of these birds. Seagulls are found all over the planet, so you don’t have to ‘go big’ to get your point across. A tiny seagull, even one that you’ve stylized is going to be known for exactly what it is.

As such, you can put a seagull on each finger if you’re feeling bold and it says something about you, or you can put a tiny one on your ankle, outer arm, or even on your hip if these birds say something intimate and secret about your inner-nature.

They also make appearances on backpieces, although more often than not they are part of the background of a glorious, colored coast, though depending on your view of these birds, the coast might just be the aesthetics while the seagulls carry the actual message.

Wherever you decide to put your seagull tattoo is going to be fine – big, small, or stylized, anyone who seas it will recognize this bird, but the meaning is going to be much more personal and determined completely by you!


Characteristics and Styles of Seagull Tattoos

Seagulls are a worldwide icon, so you can use all sorts of styles and they are going to be effective as symbols and looking good in the process.

For instance, Japanese tattoo styles can really capture the grace of these amazing and beautiful birds, while a New School style is perfect for a more lighthearted Gull with a bit of humor and wild coloration behind it. With Watercolor tattooing, you can place those seagulls on a picture-perfect beach that can look truly amazing.

A Pro-tip for your design is to compose it first so that you know what goes where and what it’s supposed to mean. After that, spend a little time going through your artist’s portfolio to see if they have any styles that really get your imagination going.

This will take your design to the next level and all it takes is a small investment of your personal time. Considering that you’ll be enjoying your Seagull tattoo for a lifetime, it’s well-worth it so that you can get exactly what you wanted and more!


Some closing comments on Seagull tattoos

Whether they are stealing your sandwich on the beach or carrying the souls of sailors into the next world, the meanings and symbolism behind seagull tattoos have quite a lot of variety to them and thus the potential for some truly epic skin art.

Just don’t forget to check your artist’s portfolio and to take your time with the design. You don’t see a lot of seagull tattoos, so this is a unique option and a chance to tell the world a little more about who you really are. So, take your time and do it right – we can’t wait to see your Seagull tattoos!

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