Do People Eat Eagles? (Is it legal?)

Eagles are large birds that roam the planet. Most people know the Bald Eagle off the top of their heads for being a symbol of the United States or being sacred in Native American Culture. As humans, we eat a lot of animals, specifically birds. Many people eat chicken, duck, quail, and even pigeons. So, do people eat eagles?

Yes! People have and still do eat eagles. Hunting and eating these birds have dated back centuries and are linked to several cultures. But, depending on the culture and where you are, eating eagles is frowned upon and even illegal.

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Hunting and Eating Eagle is Illegal in the United States

I know I said that people still do eat eagle, and they do. But in the United States, hunting and eating these animals is illegal. Doing one or both of these acts violates the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. If you’re caught poaching and eating these eagles, you can face jail time and severe financial fines.

The Bald Eagle is a patriotic symbol in the United States, and a lot of people take it personally when these animals are shot and eaten. For example, a man in Texas was supposedly defending this farm from a predator, the eagle, and shot it down.

Not only did he violate the first part of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, he then cooked the eagle. He was arrested, and many Texans are so outraged, they’re requesting the death penalty.

Now, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be sentenced to death for this, but it just goes to show you that citizens and law enforcement take this law seriously.

Baby Eagle
Baby Eagle

Native Americans and Their Connection to Eagles

In many Native American cultures, the eagle is a sacred creature. These birds are considered medicine birds and serve as a spiritual and religious connection for them. Many Native Americans see the eagle as a symbol of vision, strength, and leadership.

Depending on the tribe, eating an eagle is considered a massive sin. Many of them believe that if someone eats any part of an eagle, they’ll become a monster. It’s an unforgivable act in many Native American tribes.

But this may not be true for all tribes. Some tribes were allowed to kill eagles, but only certain people within the tribe and only at certain times of the year. This varies between tribes, though.

For example, in the Cherokee tribe, they could only hunt these birds during the winter, and in some Southeastern tribes, only a man with eagle medicine could poach them.

Eagles Have Been Eaten in the Past

Mother bald eagle and baby eagle
Mother bald eagle and baby eagle

There were many tribes and groups of people who did eat eagles throughout history. The majority of these tribes that did consume the bird only did so out of necessity. This means that they never regularly ate these birds.

If they were running low on food or couldn’t find anything else, they would hunt the birds so they wouldn’t starve.

These groups of people hunted the birds with bows and arrows or traps set with dead fish. Some tribes that have been known to hunt and eat these birds are the Sahtu Got’ine, Kwakiutl, and Tlingit.

How Does Eagle Taste Like?

Even though it’s illegal to hunt and eat these birds in the United States and thought to be disgraceful in many cultures, people still eat these birds. So, what does an eagle taste like?

There aren’t a lot of accounts on what eagles taste like since many of them are endangered, and it’s illegal to hunt and eat them. Many people assume that they wouldn’t taste very good because of what they eat.

How an animal’s meat taste is dependent on its diet. Many people assume that their meat is very oily, and they don’t give you as much meat as eating a chicken would.

Baby Eaglet
Baby Eaglet

How Many Species of Eagle Are There?

There are around 68 species of eagles on our planet. The most well-known, the Bald Eagle, has been on the endangered species list before. It was first added to the endangered species list in 1978 when populations were dwindling faster than they could reproduce.

It’s always a wonderful thing when a species is removed from the endangered species list. And that’s what happened to this bird in 2007.

Where Do Bald Eagles Live?

The majority of the world’s bald eagle population lives in North America. They live as far north as Alaska and Canada and as south as northern Mexico.

If you want to see one of these beautiful creatures in the wild, you’ll want to go where most of them live. About 50% of the world’s bald eagle population lives in Alaska.

How Fast Are Eagles?

Did you know that eagles can fly very fast? These birds can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour when in regular flight. But when they’re diving to catch a meal, they can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

What Do Eagles Eat?

The primary meal that eagles feast on is fish. They’ll dive from the sky into the water to catch themselves a meal. They will often eat small animals such as rodents, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels. Many eagles are opportunistic hunters.

They’ll not only eat the meat of their prey but their bones too. So, if another animal has caught itself a meal and the eagle sees an opportunity to steal it, they probably will. Work smarter, not harder, right?

Unlike humans and some other animals, eagles don’t need to eat every day. They often eat larger quantities of food at once to hold them over in case food cannot be located the next day or two. But a large quantity to us is not the same for eagles. Their stomachs are only about the size of a walnut.

This bird of prey has sharp talons that they use to catch and kill their prey. Eagles have four talons on each of their feet. Each talon can exert about 400 pounds of pressure per square inch. I wouldn’t want to be caught in their talons.

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