Wild Edible Birds
A photo gallery Connecticut wild edible bird species. If you have not already done so, please read our Connecticut Wild Edibles for Beginners article for a basic introduction to safety regarding wild edibles.
NOTICE: Connecticutwilderness.com and it's associates believe that killing any wild animal, unless it is for self-defense or an emergency survival situation, is an immoral act and that such an action is strongly discouraged. The information we are providing on the edibility of living animals is for survival or informational purposes only.

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American Black Duck
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
Like the domestic duck, American Black Ducks can be eaten and prepared as any duck. Frozen and fresh domesticated ducks can be purchased from most supermarkets. They are a good approximation for American Black Duck. Duck is also featured on the menus of many Asian and gourmet restaurants.
American Tree Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)
Reportedly edible, but such a small amount of meat, generally not considered worth it. Must be foraged in the wild. Please don't eat these little birdies unless it's a survival situation. They are much better enjoyed alive.
Barnacle Goose
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Like other geese, it is edible. Look for domestic geese in your local supermarket or gourmet food stores as a good alternative.
Cackling Goose
Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)
Like other geese, it is edible. Look for domestic geese for sale in supermarkets and gourmet food stores as a good alternative.
Canada Goose
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Canada geese are edible, but they have stonger. 'gamey' flavor compared to the domestic goose. They lack the fat of a domestic goose and require barding or larding when cooking. Domestic geese can often be bought in supermarkets and gourmet food stores, especially around the winter holidays, and are the closest approximation for Canada geese.
Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus)
Chicken is well known to be edible. You can buy chicken at almost any food store, supermarket, deli or restaurant in Connecticut.
Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Reported to be likely edible, but couldn't find any first-hand reports of the experience. Generally not enough meat to be considered worth it. Must be foraged in the wild. Please don't eat these little birdies unless it's a survival situation. They are much better enjoyed alive.
Common Pheasant
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Pheasant is a commonly eaten gamebird. Can be sometimes found in gourmet food stores and sometimes supermarkets. If you don't see it in stock, check with a manager and see if it can be ordered. Otherwise, pheasant are also commonly hunted.
Domestic Pigeon
Domestic Pigeon (Columba livia domestica)
In culinary terminology, squab is a young domestic pigeon or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken. May be available in specialty food stores, though that is not common. Otherwise, must be hunted in the wild.
European Starling
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Yes, starlings are edible - they are the most likely 'blackbird baked in a pie' in the old rhyme. Must be foraged in the wild after positive identification. Please don't eat these little birdies, unless it's a survival situation. They are much better enjoyed alive.
Greater Prairie Chicken
Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)
It is edible, but due to its threatened status, it should not be eaten.
Greater White-fronted Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Like other geese, it is edible. Look for domestic geese in your local supermarkets or gourmet food stores as an alternative.
Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
Reported to be edible and tasty. Must be hunted in the wild. These ducks are a treat to watch and much better enjoyed alive.
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Like other ducks, it is edible. Look for domestic duck in your local supermarket as a good alternative.
Long Island Duck
Long Island Duck (Anas platyrhynchos domestica)
A domesticated duck that is bred for meat and egg production, both of which are edible and flavorful. Frozen and fresh domestic ducks are found year-round in most supermarkets as well as Asian and gourmet restaurants.
Mallard Duck
Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos)
Most domestic duck species (apart from the Muscovy Duck) are descended from the common Mallard Duck. Duck meat can be found fresh or frozen in most supermarkets and specialty food stores. Also commonly available in Asian restaurants as well as gourmet restaurants of all kinds.
Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
It is edible, and commonly hunted and eaten. Look for fresh or frozen quail in supermarkets or gourmet food stores. Quail eggs are also available in supermarkets and gourmet food stores, as well as Japanese restaurants.
Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern shovelers are edible. Consider purchasing store-bought duck as a similar alternative.
Pink-footed Goose
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Like other wild geese, this species is edible, however not recommended. Domestic geese are often available in supermarkets and gourmet food stores, especially around the winter holidays and are a good and tastier approximation. Also, this is a rare visitor to Connecticut and should not be killed for food.
Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
It is edible. The meat is known as squab, however that is more typically of domestic pigeons. Look for squab in gourmet food stores or you can order it frozen, online.
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*** In the event of a suspected life-threatening poisoning emergency, call 911 immediately.***

Otherwise, the following phone numbers may be helpful:

Connecticut Poison Control Center: (860) 679-4540
American Association of Poison Control Centers: (800) 222-1222

NOTICE: ConnecticutWilderness.com and it's associates do not advocate the taking of wild species for the purpose of consumption. Information posted on this website regarding wild edibles is for educational purposes only. Consumption of wild species includes the risk of death, poisoning, vomiting, allergic reactions, and other potentially serious medical conditions. .. Read More...

Information posted on ConnecticutWilderness.com regarding the edibility of species may be inaccurate or incorrect. While we make efforts to provide accurate information, judgements made to consume a wild species should never be made based on information provided solely by ConnecticutWilderness.com alone. Positive identification of a wild species can only come with first-hand experience with the species and may require advanced identification techniques, including microscopic and chemical analysis, especially regarding fungi. In all cases, a positive identification should never be considered 100% unless a full DNA analysis is completed. It is critical to factor-in the risk of misidentification when consuming wild species.

Local laws and regulations of public and private property may, and often do, prohibit the taking, killing, or disturbance of any wild species on its property. Check your local laws and regulations.

The consumption of wild species, even after positive identification, can result in serious or deadly medical conditions. Some persons may experience an allergic reaction to wild species, even if it is generally considered safe for consumption. For many wild species, only certain parts of the species are edible, while other parts may be inedible or even poisonous. Care must be taken to avoid consumption of the poisonous parts. Many wild species require special processing such as cooking, drying, soaking, roasting, or treating with chemicals before they are safe for consumption. Failure to properly process the wild species could result in illness or death. Wild species, even after positive identification and proper preparation can cause illness or death due to contaminants. Wild species may absorb toxins from the soil or water sources. Never consume wild species from roadsides, waste areas, garbage dumps, or areas that are known or likely to contain toxins. Wild species may also cause illness as caused by decomposition or infestation caused by insects, molds, fungi, and bacteria. Consuming animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians may carry an increased risk of illness due to viruses and bacteria, including rabies. Some edible wild species can become toxic due to exposure to nearby toxic plants. If you ever have what you think may be an unpleasant or bad reaction to consuming a wild species, get medical attention immediately.

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