The Northern Mockingbird was originally recommended to become the symbolic bird of Texas in 1920 by the Texas Federation of Women's Club, for the way in which it fiercely defends its home, much like Texans. The mockingbird officially became our state bird when it was approved by Governor Dan Moody several years later in 1927. The bird has since become a huge part of Texas's heritage and most of us can point it out with ease.

That being said, is it illegal to eat a mockingbird in Texas?

According to Texas law, it's absolutely illegal to kill or eat a mockingbird. You also can't capture one to keep as a pet. Mockingbirds actually almost became extinct in the 19th century because everyone wanted to catch the songbirds and keep them in cages at home. They were even sold for around $50, which translates to about $1300 in today's currency. Luckily, they have since made a comeback, population-wise.

So, what happens if you kill one?

If you get caught killing a mockingbird for munching on the vegetables in your garden, or for any other nefarious reason, that's considered a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500. If you get caught killing more than one, you're in for a LOT of trouble and could be sentenced to major jail time and extensive fines.

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

So, what do you do if a mockingbird is driving you nuts, pestering your plant life, or attacking the pets in your backyard?

They say the best way to get a mockingbird to leave you alone is to scare them, and since owls are one of their natural predators, it's suggested that you put a fake owl up in your trees or in the area where mockingbirds are seen most often on your property.

Whatever you do, don't kill one...and if you're hungry, find something a bit more substantial than two or three bites of Texas history. You can do better!

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