Feathers are usually associated with birds or wings or Native American imagery in most tattoo designs. A single feather as a tattoo design may represent or symbolize the ability to take flight, either spiritually, emotionally or creatively.
Some feathers are so distinctive in their shape and size that they are easily identified with a specific species of bird, such as the feathers of the Eagle, Peacock, Ostrich Plume, and Egret, just to name a few. Such a feather would represent the characteristics attributed to that bird.
Many Native American cultures held Eagle feathers to be sacred and they were seen as powerful symbols of Chiefs, Elders, Shamans, Healers and Medicine Men. The eagle feathers assisted these individuals in having their prayers and wishes guided to their intended Spirits and Gods. Eagle feather were often used to fan smoke in a similar fashion. Warriors used eagle feathers in their battle dress to summon the courage, strength and qualities associated with the eagle, and eagle feathers decorated shields, spears, other weapons and personal clothing.