What birds are safe to eat?

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by gundogs » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:29 am

Cowgirl wrote:Many birds in the USA are illegal to kill at any time. Shooting some could land you in federal prison. Others are legal to kill in season. You need to check with your local fish and wildlife authorities for specifics. Feral pigeons may not require a license or season (check your local laws).
After the SHTF are you gonna worry about laws when hungry?

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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by NamelessStain » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:32 am

gundogs wrote:
Cowgirl wrote:Many birds in the USA are illegal to kill at any time. Shooting some could land you in federal prison. Others are legal to kill in season. You need to check with your local fish and wildlife authorities for specifics. Feral pigeons may not require a license or season (check your local laws).
After the SHTF are you gonna worry about laws when hungry?
Yes, because on this forum we do not discuss illegal activities according to current laws.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by Ad'lan » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:35 am

gundogs wrote:
Cowgirl wrote:Many birds in the USA are illegal to kill at any time. Shooting some could land you in federal prison. Others are legal to kill in season. You need to check with your local fish and wildlife authorities for specifics. Feral pigeons may not require a license or season (check your local laws).
After the SHTF are you gonna worry about laws when hungry?
On this website, yes, yes you will. We don't advocate or discuss illegal activity. If you have any questions, give the Rules a read, and drop me a PM.
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I don't keep up with their season, but a Dove shoot was underway this past weekend in Georgia. IIRC, they are basically a pigeon?
The wild ancestor of modern city pigeons is the rock dove, but basically the term is interchangable, and roughly used as Dove = small members of the Family Columbidae, and Pigeon for larger members.

Interestingly, the Dodo was also a Columbidae.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by desert fox » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:44 pm

Off topic: Ive never understood why one theoretical is ok to talk about but another is not :?:
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by maldon007 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:08 pm

desert fox wrote:Off topic: Ive never understood why one theoretical is ok to talk about but another is not :?:
As far as I know, the only time discussion of breaking laws is ok here, is when it is clearly fictional... But never in a real or even theoretical way, if it advocates for it... whether present/future/unlikely event/impossible reality/whatever. At least that's my take...

On topic, are there any birds not safe to eat?
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by angelofwar » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:34 pm

maldon007 wrote:
desert fox wrote:Off topic: Ive never understood why one theoretical is ok to talk about but another is not :?:
As far as I know, the only time discussion of breaking laws is ok here, is when it is clearly fictional... But never in a real or even theoretical way, if it advocates for it... whether present/future/unlikely event/impossible reality/whatever. At least that's my take...

On topic, are there any birds not safe to eat?
Properly prepared? Nope. Only ones that taste better.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by Ad'lan » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:38 am

:|
maldon007 wrote:
desert fox wrote:Off topic: Ive never understood why one theoretical is ok to talk about but another is not :?:
As far as I know, the only time discussion of breaking laws is ok here, is when it is clearly fictional... But never in a real or even theoretical way, if it advocates for it... whether present/future/unlikely event/impossible reality/whatever. At least that's my take...

On topic, are there any birds not safe to eat?
I think the rules are pretty self explanatory, Here they are. ZS is a charity, the forum is a large part of the internet face of ZS, ZS has connections with other real world groups, groups that won't want to associate with an organisation that discusses say, poaching. It's simply not polite to be messing with ZS's face.
desert fox wrote: On topic, are there any birds not safe to eat?
Quails, in a little understood way, are toxic after certain migrations in the Europe and the Near East. There's lots of hypothesises, but as it's not found in domesticated birds and is absent from Asia and America, I think most of you will find that merely a titbit for a quiz night.

Predatory birds are commonly regarded as unpalatable, and could have a build up of toxins from pesticides or other environmental sources, being at the top of their local food chain.

Scavengers are also not well regarded, like city pigeons, there is no odds genetically between them and domestic pigeons, but one is fed corn and is palatable, the other pecks puke and plastic and is not. Of course, in dire straits a throughly cooked flying rat would be welcome.

There are also some exotic birds that feed on toxic plants, but they all seem too small to make much of a meal anyway.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by omega_man » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:19 pm

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes killing just about any songbird illegal. Are Robins safe to eat? Yes. Legal to kill? No. Exceptions to this are 3 species of songbirds: House Sparrow (not really a sparrow), Pigeon, and European Starling. All 3 species are introduced exotics from Europe. Same for Raptors. Hell, it's illegal just to possess a Bald Eagle feather. These laws stem back to the early 1900's when market hunting nearly wiped (and did in the case of the passenger pigeon and carolina parakeet) many songbird species. Also, the effects of heavy DDT use in the '60's nearly wiped out many raptor species.

Game birds (Wild Turkey, Grouse, Pheasant, Dove, Waterfowl, etc...) are covered under local fish and games and additional permits may be required in addition to a hunting license. A federal "Duck Stamp" is required for all waterfowl hunting. Lastly, all proceeds from these permits, stamps, tags, licenses, etc go directly back into conservation and natural resources :D

That's the law for now.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by NamelessStain » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:32 pm

omega_man wrote:The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes killing just about any songbird illegal. Are Robins safe to eat? Yes. Legal to kill? No. Exceptions to this are 3 species of songbirds: House Sparrow (not really a sparrow), Pigeon, and European Starling. All 3 species are introduced exotics from Europe. Same for Raptors. Hell, it's illegal just to possess a Bald Eagle feather. These laws stem back to the early 1900's when market hunting nearly wiped (and did in the case of the passenger pigeon and carolina parakeet) many songbird species. Also, the effects of heavy DDT use in the '60's nearly wiped out many raptor species.

Game birds (Wild Turkey, Grouse, Pheasant, Dove, Waterfowl, etc...) are covered under local fish and games and additional permits may be required in addition to a hunting license. A federal "Duck Stamp" is required for all waterfowl hunting. Lastly, all proceeds from these permits, stamps, tags, licenses, etc go directly back into conservation and natural resources :D

That's the law for now.
I think Native Americans can have some raptor feathers for ceremonial purposes depending on tribal customs. I could be wrong though.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by mr_slappy75 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:52 pm

Ad'lan wrote:
ForgeCorvus wrote:
JFlagg wrote:Robins are a popular game bird in England, much like quail in the US, so I'm sure that homeless fellow was telling the truth.
Are they?
No , certainly not since the 1950's. BCAS Quarry Guide has a list of legal quarry in the UK if anyone is interested.

Rook is good, at least, fledgling rook is. A traditional activity (and thus, growing rare) is a rook shoot in the spring, where a rook colony is found, and as the young birds walk the branches, they make most accommodating targets (for a traditional victorian rook shoot, see the pickwick papers).

Pigeons are something you could probably start hunting right away, they are a major pest. City pigeons I wouldn't eat though. Wood pigeons are fair game to me though.

Seagulls were traditionally buried for a few weeks in cold soil, and this removed the 'taint' from the meat, though I assume this only refers to taste, rather than any risk of infection or parasites.
Seagulls in the Mid-western states tend to be referred to as 'flying rats', having worked at a warehousing facility where our building’s roof also served as a rookery for the buggers, I am rather biased on my opinion of them.
Being that there is virtually nothing that one would find a seagull eating in the wild over these parts, it is safe to assume that they live off human society’s spoils. That is to say, they dumpster dive like no ones business.

I would like to make one observation about pigeons:
In suburban and rural areas of the US, in corn 'n soy growing country many colonies of pigeons take hold at train yards, granaries, feed stores and farm barns and/or near silos.
They have a relatively wholesome diet considering how they get by on grain stock spillage, are also considered nuances by the land owners/operators and by the by and large are not protected.

I am at work currently so I cannot link the YouTube video but there is very good footage of a fellow (name regrettably escapes me right now) actually testing out a Gamo air rifle on one such place at the request of the owner, I do believe that this was all the permission he required to take the quarry and he does indeed bag several pigeons ‘for the pot’.

If anyone is interested search for “Gamo- Whisper Spec Ops review” or some such, it is one of the top 5-7 videos that will show up.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by Maverick299 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:00 pm

Anyone else reminded of "That 70's Show" episode where Fez catches a "pheasant" and cooks it but it turns out to be a crow? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by omega_man » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:20 pm

NamelessStain wrote:
omega_man wrote:The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes killing just about any songbird illegal. Are Robins safe to eat? Yes. Legal to kill? No. Exceptions to this are 3 species of songbirds: House Sparrow (not really a sparrow), Pigeon, and European Starling. All 3 species are introduced exotics from Europe. Same for Raptors. Hell, it's illegal just to possess a Bald Eagle feather. These laws stem back to the early 1900's when market hunting nearly wiped (and did in the case of the passenger pigeon and carolina parakeet) many songbird species. Also, the effects of heavy DDT use in the '60's nearly wiped out many raptor species.

Game birds (Wild Turkey, Grouse, Pheasant, Dove, Waterfowl, etc...) are covered under local fish and games and additional permits may be required in addition to a hunting license. A federal "Duck Stamp" is required for all waterfowl hunting. Lastly, all proceeds from these permits, stamps, tags, licenses, etc go directly back into conservation and natural resources :D

That's the law for now.
I think Native Americans can have some raptor feathers for ceremonial purposes depending on tribal customs. I could be wrong though.
Yes. That is the exception. You get a cookie :lol:
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by NamelessStain » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:10 pm

omega_man wrote:
NamelessStain wrote:
I think Native Americans can have some raptor feathers for ceremonial purposes depending on tribal customs. I could be wrong though.
Yes. That is the exception. You get a cookie :lol:

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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by mr.trooper » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:25 am

As stated above, European Starlings are really the only bird that is common in most of the USA that is legal to kill whenever, being it is an invasive pest.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by procyon » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:18 am

mr_slappy75 wrote:I would like to make one observation about pigeons:
In suburban and rural areas of the US, in corn 'n soy growing country many colonies of pigeons take hold at train yards, granaries, feed stores and farm barns and/or near silos.
They have a relatively wholesome diet considering how they get by on grain stock spillage, are also considered nuances by the land owners/operators and by the by and large are not protected.
Here in Iowa you can take pigeons within 200 yard of farm outbuildings or bridges (don't think it includes farm dwellings, but haven't checked for several years), year round. You just have to have permission to hunt and be able to hunt in a legal manner.

So we tend to end up with pigeons as campfire meals when we are camping in the pastures. They taste pretty good.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by gundogs » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:40 am

mr.trooper wrote:As stated above, European Starlings are really the only bird that is common in most of the USA that is legal to kill whenever, being it is an invasive pest.
The only birds not protected by any state or federal law are European starlings, English sparrows, feral rock doves (common pigeon - Columba livia) and Eurasian collared-doves; these species may be killed at any time, their nests or eggs destroyed, and their feathers may be possessed.
Yellow-headed, red-winged, rusty, or Brewer's blackbirds and all grackles, cowbirds (does not include cattle egret), crows, or magpies may be controlled without a federal or state depredation permit when found committing or about to commit depredations on ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in numbers and in a manner that constitutes a health hazard or other nuisance.

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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by Mikeyboy » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:40 am

Ad'lan wrote:
ForgeCorvus wrote:
JFlagg wrote:Robins are a popular game bird in England, much like quail in the US, so I'm sure that homeless fellow was telling the truth.
Are they?
No , certainly not since the 1950's. BCAS Quarry Guide has a list of legal quarry in the UK if anyone is interested.

Rook is good, at least, fledgling rook is. A traditional activity (and thus, growing rare) is a rook shoot in the spring, where a rook colony is found, and as the young birds walk the branches, they make most accommodating targets (for a traditional victorian rook shoot, see the pickwick papers).

Pigeons are something you could probably start hunting right away, they are a major pest. City pigeons I wouldn't eat though. Wood pigeons are fair game to me though.

Seagulls were traditionally buried for a few weeks in cold soil, and this removed the 'taint' from the meat, though I assume this only refers to taste, rather than any risk of infection or parasites.
I read a few "Homeless Survival Guides" and pretty much the consensus is that Seagull is the worst tasting bird you will ever eat. Maybe its because they are trash eaters, I don't know. I would personally avoid Seagulls and Vultures if other Post SHTF game birds is available.

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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by M14fan » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:07 am

If you want a guide to which birds or game animals are safest, look at the Old Testament descriptions of clean and unclean animals. Before you think this has to do with religion, look at the list and do a little homework on the diseases and parasites carried by these animals. Those listed as "unclean" more frequently carry parasites or diseases that are communicable to humans. With knowledge comes the ability to avoid those pitfalls but it remains a useful guide as to which animals, absent commercial meat irradiation and heavy doses of antibiotics, are less likely to make you ill.

Interestingly, the rest of that chapter dealing with people who are ill, bleeding, or have oozing wounds is little more than primitive Universal Precautions.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by Mikeyboy » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:36 am

M14fan wrote:If you want a guide to which birds or game animals are safest, look at the Old Testament descriptions of clean and unclean animals. Before you think this has to do with religion, look at the list and do a little homework on the diseases and parasites carried by these animals. Those listed as "unclean" more frequently carry parasites or diseases that are communicable to humans. With knowledge comes the ability to avoid those pitfalls but it remains a useful guide as to which animals, absent commercial meat irradiation and heavy doses of antibiotics, are less likely to make you ill.

Interestingly, the rest of that chapter dealing with people who are ill, bleeding, or have oozing wounds is little more than primitive Universal Precautions.
No to get in a deep religious discussion but you do have a point. Some ancient writings had legit reasoning behind them. You figure that almost every "creation" story from various cultures around the world involved floods, probably because most early cultures started at the end of the last ice age, with glacial melting and heavy flooding being a real issue. Same with most cultures believing in marriages. Its makes more sense in terms of keeping cross breeding down in small communities.

Maybe the reasoning behind the Clean vs. Unclean animal rules in some religions was to prevent some diseases. Desperate, hungry people will eat anything, and if the consequence is that they catch a disease, and spread it to others, a solution would be to make that act illegal. In a theocracy, passing a law eventually becomes religious dogma.

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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by Ad'lan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:48 pm

Mikeyboy wrote:
M14fan wrote:If you want a guide to which birds or game animals are safest, look at the Old Testament descriptions of clean and unclean animals. Before you think this has to do with religion, look at the list and do a little homework on the diseases and parasites carried by these animals. Those listed as "unclean" more frequently carry parasites or diseases that are communicable to humans. With knowledge comes the ability to avoid those pitfalls but it remains a useful guide as to which animals, absent commercial meat irradiation and heavy doses of antibiotics, are less likely to make you ill.

Interestingly, the rest of that chapter dealing with people who are ill, bleeding, or have oozing wounds is little more than primitive Universal Precautions.
No to get in a deep religious discussion but you do have a point. Some ancient writings had legit reasoning behind them. You figure that almost every "creation" story from various cultures around the world involved floods, probably because most early cultures started at the end of the last ice age, with glacial melting and heavy flooding being a real issue. Same with most cultures believing in marriages. Its makes more sense in terms of keeping cross breeding down in small communities.

Maybe the reasoning behind the Clean vs. Unclean animal rules in some religions was to prevent some diseases. Desperate, hungry people will eat anything, and if the consequence is that they catch a disease, and spread it to others, a solution would be to make that act illegal. In a theocracy, passing a law eventually becomes religious dogma.
Not all cultural taboo's are based in real health factors, or maintain the health practices that may have been involved in their founding. And this is definitely not the place to discuss religious issues or creation stories.

If we want to extract from the texts for the relevent questions, please crack on, but don't cite scripture, ask the direct questions (eg: Can you eat Ravens or Storks).

I don't want to get another warning for religious discussion, so lets stick to the topic at hand :lol:


Continental Europe has a long tradition of catching and eating song birds, I also know some islanders in the indian ocean use nets and bait on a rope to catch fruit bats. These techniques are better than guns or bows for preserving the meat on smaller birds.
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Re: What birds are safe to eat?

Post by M14fan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:35 pm

Not a religious discussion at all. Just an interesting and reasonably accurate reference for animals of all flavors based on safety.
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