What Does Bald Eagle Taste Like?

Throughout the world, there are many cultures and regions where the people eat things that seem strange to others – and the same could be said about the west as well, where eating things like pigs and cows is seen as abhorrent and unsanitary. 

These differences are what make us unique, and they are forged through centuries of tradition, necessity, and cultural practice.

What Does Bald Eagle Taste Like?

Case and point, in many parts of the world, it is not unlikely that people will eat the meat of a bald eagle – a creature that in the US especially is protected and revered as a symbol of their national fabric. 

But where exactly is bald eagle consumed, and what does it actually taste like? 

Where Do People Eat Bald Eagles? 

Generally speaking, the highest concentration of bald eagles can be found in the United States, however you are unlikely to see people regularly eating them there due to the distinct cultural and historical association that the country has with the bird. 

However, historians have stated that, historically, eagles and other birds of prey were abundant and widely caught and eaten by the indigenous tribes of North America – namely the Algonquian and Iroquoian people of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, as well as the Great Lakes. 

Of course, in those times readily available food wasn’t a thing like it is today, and food needed to be foraged and hunted if people were going to eat well.

Unfortunately, with this lifestyle, hunters cannot afford to be too picky about the meat they eat, and in many cases eagles were indeed consumed for their flesh. 

Eagles have historically also been consumed throughout Asia, where sources of meat were also more limited, and access to game and livestock wasn’t always an option. 

What Does Eagle Meat Taste Like?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is actually relatively little about this on the internet, with only a few rough accounts actually existing online. 

Those few accounts however do not talk about eagle meat in a particularly positive way, describing it as being gamey in taste and oily in texture and feel.

When compared to other birds like chicken, which people all over the world regularly eat without even thinking about it, eagle meat is certainly less pleasant. 

However, this more than likely depends on the age of the bird in question, the freshness of the meat, and the way that it is prepared and consumed. 

Is Eagle Meat Safe To Eat? 

Like most birds and poultry, the trick is to ensure that you store the meat correctly – i.e. at the right temperature – and that you cook it to a proper degree, so that all the pathogens and bacteria are eliminated and the meat is safe to eat. 

However, the thing with consuming wild animals is that you do not know what they have been exposed to, or indeed what illnesses and diseases they might have.

We get our meat from farms because we want a degree of safety and assurance that the meat we are eating is clean and healthy.

With wild animals this is not a guarantee, which is why the practices are generally less common nowadays. 

Is Eagle Meat Nutritious? 

While illegal and largely frowned on, eagle meat (like all meat) has certain nutritional benefits. 

Generally speaking, eagle meat is high in protein, and low in calories – with around 115 calories per serving.

They also retain nutrients in their bodies due to possessing a highly effective digestive system. This means that they are generally more nutritious than other birds and poultry. 

Eagle meat is low in saturated fat, high in iron, and high in calcium – all of which are highly beneficial for the body and its functionality.

Their meat is also high in vitamin A, as well as omega-3 fatty acids – both of which are great for reducing the risk of heart disease and related conditions. 

Is It Legal To Eat Eagle Meat? 

Is It Legal To Eat Eagle Meat? 

This entirely depends where in the world you live, and the specific laws surrounding hunting. 

The United States

In the United States, the bald eagle is a protected species, both due to its status as a national symbol of freedom and patriotism, but also due to the fact that they have at times faced extinction. 

This was true in the 1960s and 70s, when the pesticide DDT was introduced.

While initially designed to kill insects and protect crops, this had a distinct effect on the bald eagle population – helping to poison both the eagle population itself, as well as the prey the birds were feeding on. 

After DDT was banned and regulated, efforts were taken to protect the bald eagle and allow it to once more thrive in the American wild. 

In present times, only indigenous people are legally allowed to hunt for eagles and forage for eagle eggs – and only if they are members of federally recognized indigenous tribes, and have the proper hunting permits from the government. 

Is It Right To Eat Eagles? 

Generally speaking, while being linked in many ways, morality and legality are often two very different things, and can divert on a number of issues.

This means that it is certainly worth asking whether or not it is morally right to hunt and consume the meat of bald eagles – as well as other birds of prey and higher birds throughout the world. 

This can obviously bring up many complicated areas of debate – debates that people can get heated over.

However, as far as the American bald eagle is concerned, I imagine even the pro-hunting advocates would even have a problem with killing them, primarily due to them being a symbol of America, and a sign of liberty, freedom, and patriotism. 

From a purely detached perspective, one could argue that an eagle is similar in size and proportion to that of a turkey or other large birds – birds that we readily consume on a yearly basis for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We also have been known – in some parts of the world – to kill and consume the meat of ostriches and other birds that would be considered sentient and ‘exotic’. 

However, from a purely nutritious standpoint, eagles do not possess high enough nutritional benefits to warrant them being hunted and killed for their meat.

When combined with the fact that they breed slowly and sporadically, and have faced endangerment, there is an overwhelming argument for them to be protected, and the eating of their meat remaining illegal. 

Is Eagle Meat Unsustainable? 

From another standpoint, the act of hunting eagles for their meat is also unsustainable – both in terms of sustaining their numbers, but also in terms of the work to reward ratio. 

Hard To Catch

Firstly, eagles generally live at higher altitudes than other birds of prey, which makes them harder to catch and kill. This means that they are unsuitable as a livestock bird like chickens and turkeys. 

They are also solitary animals – relatively speaking – so the number of birds caught per hunting trip would not be worth the effort of the trip itself. 

Taste Bad

Even if you are set on hunting eagles, their meat is widely considered to be bad tasting, tough, oily, and hard to tenderise.

This means that even if you are prepared to ignore the law, ignore morality, and ignore the hard work involved, the meat is still not delicious even when prepared correctly. 

Limited Numbers

As we mentioned, they are also limited in their numbers, which makes them unsuitable for mass consumption. 

While they mate each year, they only produce between 1 and 3 eggs, which means their numbers could not replenish fast enough. 

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, everything you need to know about bald eagles, where and how they are consumed, and what they taste like. 

It’s true that in many parts of the world, bald eagles are consumed for their meat, and while this might seem shocking – especially to those in the United States, where the bald eagle has long been revered and protected as a symbol – this in fact does happen regularly. 

However, it is important to note that culture and tradition determine what we eat and do, and certainly what is good for one group of people might not be good for another.

However, most of us won’t be eating a bald eagle anytime soon!

What Does Bald Eagle Taste Like?

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Taste Like


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