In general, birds commonly represent a spirit, the soul, transcendence, thought, and imagination. Large birds are often associated with solar, thunder, and wind gods. More specifically, individual species have their own symbolism. Following is a brief look at individual birds.
Blackbird: Christian symbol of the temptations of the flesh, the devil appears as a blackbird to Saint Benedict
Crane: allegory of justice, longevity, and the good and diligent soul; Chinese symbol of the solar, yang, good fortune; a messenger of the gods; able to enter into higher states of consciousness; in Japan, known as the Honorable Lord Crane, believed to act as intermediary between heaven and earth
Crow: being black in color, represents the idea of the beginning, maternal night, primigeneal darkness; considered a messenger; North American Indian symbol of the great civilizer and the creator of the visible world; in Roman and Greek myth endowed with mystic powers, believed to be a seer of the future; Chinese symbol of yang when drawn in a solar disk with three legs, each leg representing the first light of day or rising sun, zenith or midday sun, and sunset or setting sun; when paired with the white heron, a symbol of yin-yang, in alchemy, called the nigredo, represents the first stage of matter in the Great Work; in Shintoism, messenger of deities and associated with temples
Dove: symbol of spirituality, life spirit, the soul, innocence, peace; sacred to all Great Mothers, depicts femininity and maternity; Slavic container for the soul at death; Christian symbol of purity and inspired thought, also the third person in the Trinity, the holy ghost; Egyptian symbol of innocence, associated with the Tree of Life; Greek and Roman symbol of love and renewal, Zeus was fed by doves, also sacred to Athene, Adonis, Bacchus, Venus; Hebrew representation of purity, meekness, gentleness, harmlessness; Minoan attribute of the Great Mother and when paired with the snake, represents air and earth
(continued in Bird Symbolism Part 2)