It seems that first and foremost, sparrow tattoos were originally popular with sailors. Life on the high seas was brutally rough in days gone by, and a lot of sailors that put out to sea never returned. Whether they succumbed to storms, rough waves or other sailors, it was considered a badge of honor just to make it back to port. Enter sparrow tattoos. It became a tradition for a sailor to get one sparrow tattoo for every 5,000 nautical miles of travel. Sparrows were also believed to bring a sailor good luck, so sometimes a seaman would get his tat before heading out in the hopes it would act as a talisman, and help bring him safely home again. Sparrows in nautical themes are often depicted with stars, perhaps as a symbol of following one’s destiny. Sparrow tattoos also have their place in prison culture, where the birds symbolize freedom. Certainly everyone with a sparrow tat isn’t a convict, but some convicts choose sparrows as a statement about their own freedom, especially when they are nearing release. These tattoos are typically worn somewhere on the hands, wrists or arms, but they can really be placed anywhere.