Sirin or the Bird of Sorrow is a magnificent but cruel bird-maiden of Russian legends. Her body of a giant bird of prey is covered in thousand midnight-coloured feathers and a set of sharp claws, big enough to crush a horse. From the chest up, she’s of human appearance and her sinister face of a beautiful woman is adorned by a golden crown or nimbus. Sirin lays her precious eggs on distant seashores before casting them into the waves. When the eggs hatch, a thunderstorm sets over the oceans till they become so rough that no soul can travel across. She is a death-bringer. Her honey-tongued singing voice stupefies mortals, making them forget everything they had ever known in this world and announces their imminent death. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirin by shooting cannons, ringing bells and covering their ears but to no avail. Her terrifying smirk is the last thing they see before she plunges down at them with her claws and carries them away to the realm of death called Nav where she forever resides with her brighter counterpart Alkonost, her beloved sister otherwise known as the Bird of Joy.
Sirin is a mythological creature of Russian legends, with the head and chest of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird. According to myth, the Sirins lived “in Indian lands” near Eden or around the Euphrates River.
These half-women half-birds are directly based on the Greek myths and later folklore about sirens. They were usually portrayed wearing a crown or with a nimbus. Sirins sang beautiful songs to the saints, foretelling future joys. For mortals, however, the birds were dangerous. Men who heard them would forget everything on earth, follow them, and ultimately die. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirins by shooting cannons, ringing bells and making other loud noises to scare the bird off. Later (17-18th century), the image of Sirins changed and they started to symbolize world harmony (as they live near paradise). People in those times believed only really happy people could hear a Sirin, while only very few could see one because she is as fast and difficult to catch as human happiness. She symbolizes eternal joy and heavenly happiness.