The Birds People Used To Eat That Would Be Illegal To Eat Today

If you paid a visit to the markets where Americans did their grocery shopping during the 1800s, you would see a familiar assortment of potatoes and carrots next to cuts of beef and freshly caught fish. However, mixed in with the meat and produce, you would also find an incredible variety of wild birds. Depending on the season, you might see barrels of pigeons, or sparrows hung in rows, or even exotic fare like owls and herons. To supply these markets, hunters killed so many birds that they began disappearing at an alarming rate. Concerned bird-lovers organized a response that led to Congress passing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, which made it illegal to kill or sell most native birds, or even to own their feathers. The law kept many birds from going extinct, but it also means you’ll never get to eat like a 19th century American.