The split tailed swallow symbolizes a sailors good luck. Usually before the ships watch shouted land ahoy, the sight of this bird was the first indication of land.
But wait, what's this, a note she carries? A classic Dear John letter is gripped by bird claws. This 1910 tattoo image by Thomas Berg has great sweeping tail feathers and an upward pose. Before swinging back to shore she bears the news, quashing a seaman's hope of his loved one faithfully awaiting. Oh well, didn't like her that much anyway.