The Indian tradition places birds in an exalted position. The genesis of birds is described in several places in our scriptures.
Birds symbolize flight, thought, lightness, and the freedom to soar without boundaries. Taittiriya Samhita (4.1.10) tells us that we are birds of golden wings capable of rising to higher levels of consciousness.
The Veda mentions that Yajnavalkya vomited all the knowledge that he had learned from his guru Vaishampayana as a result of a conflict that arose between the teacher and the pupil. The other disciples of Vaishampayana, eager to pick up this knowledge, at once assumed the form of ‘tittiri’ birds (partridges) and pecked at all that Yajnavalkya had regurgitated. Hence, that knowledge became famous as the Taittiriya Samhita (a derivation of tittiri).
Other Upanishads such as Mundaka and Shvetashvatara have used the metaphor of birds to describe the relationship between the individual human soul and the Supreme Soul. The two are depicted as birds residing on the same tree that represents the material world. The bird that depicts the individual soul eats the fruits of the tree and suffers from joys and sorrows. The bird that represents the Supreme Soul witnesses the actions of the other bird, and yet remains free from any temptation to eat the fruits of the tree. The Supreme Soul thus remains ever unperturbed.
In the Ramayana, while narrating his family lineage to Rama, Jatayu, the huge vulture, touched upon the origin of his species. According to his narration, Tamra, the wife of Sage Kashyapa gave birth to five daughters, Kraunchi, Bhasi, Shyeni, Dhrtarashtri, and Shuki. Kraunchi gave birth to owls, Bhasi gave birth to crows, chickens and waterfowls, Shyeni gave birth to kites and vultures, Dhrtarashtri gave birth to swans, geese, and cuckoos, and in Shuki’s lineage were born Aruna, and Garuda, the eagle. Parrots share their lineage with eagles.