This has to be one of the funniest stories I remember hearing, and I need to apologize upfront to PETA and to many wildlife lovers. I was raised in Africa and I love the wild, but please see the humor in this one without having your sensibilities violated!
The story revolved around a man going to court facing a felony conviction for being caught, red handed, eating a bald eagle. It appeared to be an open and shut case. The man was caught by park authorities, bird in mouth. The accused requested no lawyer, as the law was clear and the penalties were laid out by the state of California. The sentence mandated by the legislature was six months in a federal prison and a minimum $10,000 fine. The prosecution described the case and the judge was about to rule, when the accused raised his hand, requesting an opportunity to give a defense.
The judge allowed the accused to approach the bench. “Sir,” the man began, “please allow me to share my side of the story. You see I went hiking alone in the wilderness and got hopelessly lost. I ate all my supplies and drank all the water I had taken with me. After three days I was almost delirious with dehydration and came over a high mountain. There, far down below I saw a river and made my way carefully down the mountain to it. I was so relieved to find water, and I drank and drank to satiate my thirst. At this point I was starving and suddenly noticed some beautiful fish swimming in the river. I wished I had the tackle and bait to catch one of them, but I had none. Suddenly, right in front of me, a gorgeous bald eagle swooped down, picked up one of those fish, and flew up into the tree above my head. Then I began to think, if only I could get that eagle to drop the fish, I could at least eat the fish and satisfy my aching hunger. I picked up a nearby log and threw it at the eagle, never intending to hit it but just hoping to scare it into dropping the fish. Unfortunately, the log struck the eagle and killed it. Now I had a dead eagle, I was starving and I thought. ‘There is no use wasting it.’ I prepared it and had just started eating when a search party sent out to look for me arrived on the scene and arrested me.”
The judge was clearly moved. He struck his gavel and dismissed the case. As the accused was leaving the courtroom, the judge called him up to the bench one more time. This time in a whisper he said, “Sir, I was really moved by your story, but I have one personal question. Out of pure curiosity, please tell me, what does a bald eagle taste like?”
The man paused with a quizzical look on his face, “Well your honor, it’s more tender than a California condor, but not quite as tender as a spotted owl.”