In a survival situation, especially one where you are caught and prepared or have depleted all of your stored food, you might be forced to eat all sorts of animals and other things that you would have never considered before.
Luckily, even though they might not appear on our weekly menus many wild animals make for good eating in a pinch. How about the humble pigeon? Can you eat pigeons in a survival situation?
Yes, you can eat pigeons in a survival situation so long as they are properly prepared. Like most birds, pigeons are nutritious but they can be host to various diseases and parasites that can infect humans if not cooked or improperly cooked.
One of the most plentiful species of bird found all over the world, no matter where you live there are probably going to be plenty of pigeons to be found.
These might be among the easiest birds to bring down when hunting since they commonly live in or near areas of human habitation.
Keep reading to learn more about eating pigeons in a survival situation.
Where Do Pigeons Live?
It turns out that pigeons have a surprisingly diverse range of habitats. While most pigeons are found in temperate regions, some species live in tropical climates. Pigeons can also be found in forests, grasslands, and even deserts.
Pigeons are one of the most ubiquitous birds in and around areas of significant human habitation, often seen nesting on ledges or scavenging for food in urban areas where they are considered invasive pests.
These adaptable birds have managed to make themselves at home in nearly every corner of the globe, and unless you are in the very hottest or very coldest regions on the planet you will likely have plenty around. A big advantage when it comes to survival game!
Are Pigeons Nutritious?
Yes. While most people wouldn’t consider eating pigeon as part of their usual menu, several cultures still raise pigeon as poultry just like chicken and duck.
This common bird actually has a lot to offer in terms of nutrition: Pigeon meat is a good source of protein and iron, and it also contains vitamins and minerals such as zinc, copper, and selenium.
What’s more, wild pigeon meat is typically low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthier option all around than many types of red meat.
Don’t be so quick to write it off as unworthy of effort or energy in a survival scenario. This bird is actually a great addition to your diet.
What Does Pigeon Taste Like?
Pigeon meat is often compared to dark meat chicken or duck. It is a lean meat with a slightly gamey flavor that is still popular in many cuisines around the world.
The flavor of pigeon meat will also vary depending on the bird’s diet and the cooking method.
For example, pigeons that eat a lot of grain will have a sweeter flavor, while those that eat more insects will tend to be more savory.
Pigeon meat is usually cooked slowly to tenderize it since it is pretty touch compared to the usual poultry you are probably used to.
This is best done by braising, stewing, or roasting. Pigeon meat can of course be grilled or fried depending on what you have available and takes seasoning very well.
No matter how it is cooked, pigeon meat is definitely nutritious though it can be an acquired taste.
Is it Safe to Eat Pigeon Raw?
No! Pigeon meat, like all poultry, should never be eaten raw. Pigeons can carry various diseases and parasites that can infect humans if the meat is not properly cooked.
The most common of these is salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps. In severe cases, it can lead to death.
To be safe, always cook pigeon meat thoroughly before eating it. The best way to do this is to cook it until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Lacking a thermometer, always cook the meat until very well done.
Can You Eat the Skin of a Pigeon?
Yes, assuming you pluck and clean it properly. Pigeon skin is actually quite edible, like chicken skin, and can be cooked along with the meat.
Whether it is worth the extra effort under the circumstances is up to you, but it can add some flavor and extra nutrition to your meal.
Are Pigeon Eggs Safe to Eat?
Yes. Like most bird eggs, pigeon eggs are an excellent source of protein and many other nutrients. They can be eaten raw in a pinch, though it is always safer to cook them first.
Pigeon eggs can be prepared like chicken eggs, though they are much smaller and you’ll need more of them to make a proper meal.
If you find a pigeon nest, you may be able to get several eggs at once which can be a real boon in a survival situation.
Can You Eat Pigeon Bones Safely?
No, not generally. Bones are problematic as food because they can splinter and cause choking or even injuries. They can also be very difficult to digest, especially if they are not cooked properly.
That said, in a survival situation you may wind up eating some small bones by accident, in which case you should not worry too much.
Alternately, you can crack open the bones and suck out what little marrow is inside since it is very nutritious, or consider grinding the bones to bulk up a broth or stew.
Can You Eat Pigeon Organ Meat?
Yes, though the palatability of the organs varies widely. The heart, liver, and gizzard are all perfectly safe to eat and can be cooked just like the rest of the meat.
Many people actually consider these to be the best part of the bird.
Other organs like the lungs and kidney can also be eaten but they may have a nasty flavor that is decidedly unpleasant. These are best cooked very well after soaking in water or milk, or else discarded.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.