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Can You Eat Owl Meat? (Is It Legal?)

can you eat owl

Can You Eat Owl Meat? (Is It Legal?)

Hey there, curious souls! Today we are tackling a question that may ruffle some feathers: Can you eat owls? 

Now, we know what you are thinking – why on earth would anyone want to eat these magnificent avians? 

While it may seem bizarre and possibly even taboo, the consumption of owls has been around for centuries, with some cultures viewing them as a delicacy. 

But is it ethical? Is it legal? Is it even safe?

In this article, we’ll discuss in detail why consuming owl eggs or meat is a bad idea.

Let’s dive in!

Is it Legal to Eat Owls?

You can’t eat owls, no. Eating owls is illegal since these wild birds are protected by laws and regulations prohibiting their consumption, trade, or possession.

For example, in the United States, it is illegal to harm or possess any migratory bird or its parts, including owls, without a valid federal permit.

This means that if you are caught with an owl’s eggs or any other part of the bird, you could face serious consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, or both. 

The U.S. is not the only country with laws protecting these majestic avians. But, aside from legal issues, some cultures consider consuming owls or their parts taboo due to their symbolic significance or religious beliefs. 

So, before you dig into that plate of owl meat, make sure you are aware of the potential consequences!

why can't you eat owls

The Laws of Owl Consumption

The consumption of owl meat is a topic governed by legal regulations that vary by country. But let’s dig deeper and see what the laws are for specific countries.

United States

In the United States, owls are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, signed in 1918. This law forbids keeping or eating both owls and their eggs. Holding an owl in captivity can lead to fines of up to $15,000.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the law that protects owls. Injuring, killing, and captivating owls is strictly prohibited. Yet, keeping wild owls in captivity is possible, but it requires owning a special license.


The Fish And Wildlife Conversation Act is the most important wildlife protection law in Canada. The law forbids hunting owls or any other birds of prey. However, if there is damage on your property caused by owls, you may capture or deter a bird.

Related Article: Can You Eat Peacocks?

What Does Owl Meat Taste Like?

For those who have tried owl meat, the flavor is described as being similar to that of chicken but with stronger, slightly gamey notes. Also, an owl’s meat is chewy and tough, with a texture that can be compared to a rabbit’s. However, the taste can also vary depending on the owl species, the diet, and how it is prepared.

Owls’ diet includes insects, spiders, snails, mice, voles, and shrews, among other animals. Besides, you might be surprised to learn that they are also scavengers, meaning they will gladly chow down on dead organisms!

So, the truth is most people find the taste of owl meat to be downright unpleasant and inedible. And even if you could get past the taste, there is very little meat on these birds, so you’d likely be left feeling pretty unsatisfied.

Regarding nutritional value, owl and chicken meat are pretty similar, so you can easily swap them out in your favorite recipes. Yet, even though some people may find wild meat to be delicious, we wouldn’t suggest placing owls on your dinner plate any time soon.

If you are looking for a delicious bird meat option, we recommend trying game birds like Ruffed Grouse, Bobwhite Quail, and Wood Duck. These birds are full of flavor and are a much better choice than a raptor bird such as an owl.

Can You Eat Owl Eggs?

While it’s true that owl eggs are technically edible, it’s important to understand that there are a number of legal and ethical considerations surrounding their consumption. 

In fact, harassing or interfering with owl nests (in many parts of the world), including the removal of eggs, can result in significant fines and penalties.

So, while owl eggs may be tempting to try, it’s best to leave them be and admire these magnificent birds from a safe and respectful distance.

But if you are curious to know how do owl eggs look like, they are typically quite small, measuring in at around 2-2.2 inches in size and boasting a nearly spherical shape. 

What’s more, they are pure white in color, adding to their simplicity and beauty. 

It’s worth noting that owl clutch sizes can vary from species to species, with most laying between three to five eggs. 

Once laid, the female owl takes on the important role of incubating the eggs and safeguarding the nest from any potential predators. Meanwhile, the male owl is tasked with providing sustenance for his mate and their soon-to-be hatchlings.


Well, folks, it’s time for a quick summary. While it may come as a surprise to some, it’s true – you can technically eat owls. 

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that these night creatures are often protected by law, and tampering with them in any way can result in significant legal consequences. On top of that, even if it were legal to consume owl meat, it’s not exactly a delicacy that will please everyone’s palate.

So, while the idea of digging into some owl cuisine may pique your interest, I’d advise you to think carefully before sinking teeth into this raptor bird. 

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