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Q: Birds ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Birds
Category: Health
Asked by: realtorguy-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 15 Apr 2006 10:57 PDT
Expires: 15 May 2006 10:57 PDT
Question ID: 719215
Is it safe to eat a bird like a sparrow or a crow?
Subject: Re: Birds
Answered By: denco-ga on 15 Apr 2006 13:19 PDT
Howdy realtorguy-ga,

Sparrows and crows are not unlike other "game" birds that people readily eat,
such as quail, squab (pigeon) or pheasant.  As such, I have found no reason
they would not only be safe to eat, but have historically been eaten with no
harm to the person that ate them.

As explained on the "Crow Busters" website, there appears to be a "cultural
prejudice" against eating (literal, and not metaphoric) crow.

"Our revulsion seems to center around the fact that the crow and it's close
relatives are scavengers and therefore unfit to eat."

The above pages goes on to show the preparation and several recipes for crow.

Dr. Kevin J. McGowan of Cornell University has a Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) web page about crows that also addresses your question.

"I have seen two references to the edibility of crows in the technical
ornithological literature ... and they are widely divergent.
I have had several opportunities to sample the flesh of crows ... In my
opinion, crow tastes just fine. It is similar to wild duck or any other wild
bird with very dark meat."

There is even such specifics about sparrows, with historic information about
sparrows being eaten with no problems.  As sparrows eat insects, seeds and
such, the same diet of quails, etc., I can't see any reason as to why they
would not be currently edible.

Tim Case on the "" website speaks to the price of sparrow meat
during the Roman Empire.

"According to the tariff the cheapest meat in the empire were sparrows and 10
sparrows were to be sold for no more than 16 denarii ..."

The website has a "House Sparrow History" page compiled by E.A.
Zimmerman, which indicates that no less than the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) advocated eating sparrows.

"In 1912 'The English Sparrow As a Pest' Farmers Bulletin #493, by USDA noted
they eat more than half their own weight in grain or other food a day. It
contained recipe for house sparrows."

A "Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists" posting contains an excerpt from the above
mentioned bulletin.

"English Sparrow as Food ... There is no reason why the birds should not be
utilized for food in this country, as they have been in the Old World for
centuries. [Their] flesh is palatable, and though their bodies are small,
their numbers fully compensate for their lack of size.
Sparrows may be cooked by any of the methods employed for reedbirds or quail.
When boned, broiled, buttered, and served on toast they are particularly good
and compare favorably with the best kinds of small game ..."

If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.

Search strategy:

Google search on: sparrow OR sparrows recipe OR recipes

Google search on: crow OR crows recipe OR recipes

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Answer by denco-ga on 15 Apr 2006 15:02 PDT
My friend and colleague, Pink (pinkfreud), made the suggestion (Thanks!) that
I mention that "bird flu," also know as "Avian Influenza" and "Avian
Influenza A" (H5N1) Virus, could possibly be a concern in some places
in the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Questions and Answers
About Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus" points
out that the risks, at least in the United States, are minimal, at most.

"There is no evidence of H5N1 having caused disease in birds or people in
the United States. ... Generally, perching birds (Passeriformes) are the
predominate type of birds at feeders. While there are documented cases of
H5N1 causing death in some Passeriformes (e.g., house sparrow, Eurasian
tree-sparrow, house finch), in both free-ranging and experimental settings,
most of the wild birds that are traditionally associated with avian influenza
viruses are waterfowl and shore birds."

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Birds
From: risingsun-ga on 23 Apr 2006 06:12 PDT
I have heard it said that Avian flu is a little karma for all of the
millions of birds slaughtered with cruelty for our food...

Mad cow disease is more of the same...
Subject: Re: Birds
From: myoarin-ga on 23 Apr 2006 07:47 PDT
Although the expression "eat crow" seems to suggest that crow meat is
unpalatable, which is supported by discussions, this site says the

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