The scriptures are filled with references to birds, from Genesis to the book of Revelation and as always the context of the dream will determine whether the bird represents something positive or negative. We see Jesus using the symbol of the bird in a positive way when He teaches that our heavenly Father takes care of us through His divine providence (Matthew 6:26), just as He does with the little birds. But then we hear Him teaching us in the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20) that the birds represent Satan who comes to carry away the seed that was sown on the edge of the path.
Birds usually represent spiritual beings or human beings that are either good or bad and they can represent blessings or curses. The colour will often play an important role in the decoding of the message just as natural traits and characteristics can help us understand the reason for the use of that particular symbol. This is where a search online can be very helpful.
We can also look at whether the bird is caged or flying; whether it's alive or dying. Is the bird hatching or is a female bird nesting? Is the bird flying high or is it low to the ground? Is the focus of the dream on the bird's eye or is it on its song? To give you an example of how the Lord can use the symbolism of a bird, the following is a dream I had in December 2014, almost 2 years into our move to Brantford.
I was standing outside and it was clear that it was the Fall season because the trees were bare of leaves. I looked up and saw a brown owl perched on a tree branch with another owl that was flying around. The owl in the tree was very still and he was looking me directly in the eyes. I was looking at him and he was looking at me. I knew that this owl was trying to communicate with me and that the other owl was kind of hanging around, waiting for his turn.
This was a condition dream, telling me where I was at spiritually but also a prophetic guidance dream. Trees will often represent leaders and owls can represent wisdom. Putting those two symbols together, we see that the Lord was trying to tell me that a humble leader (colour brown) would soon appear in my life who would communicate his spiritual wisdom to me as I was navigating my way through a season of my life that was coming to an end (the Fall season with the bare tree branches). The other owl was another person of wisdom who would also have an impact on me but at a later date (since he was still flying and hadn't yet landed in the tree).
Sure enough, 5 months later, on Easter Sunday morning, I discovered the first "owl" online; this man of God has had a tremendous impact on me spiritually and I'm so grateful to the Lord that He led me to him. The second owl turned out to be a Christian doctor that I also discovered online and his teachings have steered both Marcel and I into greater paths of physical wellness. In His goodness, the Lord had prepared me so that when I did discover these two men, I would be quite certain that their teachings were in line with His plans for me and that I could listen to what they had to say with no fears of being led astray. Also, the Lord really wanted me to know that He is always completely aware of my needs and that He's got the solution prepared way ahead of time, releasing it into my life at exactly the right time. By His grace I was given the dream, but it was also by grace that I found those two men of God online.
Finally, as with so many of the dream symbols, there can be a play on words such as "birds of a feather flock together"; "having an albatross around one's neck", "flying high in the Spirit"; "as the crow flies", "free as a bird"; "proud as a peacock"; "eagle eye"; "feather your nest"; "night owl"; "ugly duckling" and so many others!
Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet our heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are?
Like an eagle watching its nest,
hovering over its young,
he spreads out his wings to hold him,
he supports him on his pinions.