A forest ranger is making rounds in a remote part of the wooded reserve when he comes across an unkempt man, sitting at a makeshift campfire. To the ranger's horror, the man is eating a fish and a bald eagle.

He immediately arrests the man and puts him in jail. The following morning, the man appears before the Judge.

"Are you aware that eating a Bald Eagle is a federal offense?" asks the Judge.

"Yes, I am," replies the man, "but please allow me to explain what happened."

"You may proceed," instructs the Judge.

"I was lost in the woods and hadn't had anything real to eat for two weeks," explains the man. "I was so hungry, I was eating plants to stay alive."

"Then one day, I arrive at a lake. I see a Bald Eagle swooping down to the water and flying away with a fish in its talons. I thought, 'if I startled the Eagle, maybe I could steal the fish.'"

"Low and behold, the eagle lighted upon a nearby tree stump to eat the fish. So, I picked up a rock and threw it. I meant to hit the stump and startle the bird. I hoped he would drop the fish and fly away."

"Unfortunately, in my weakened condition, my aim was off. The rock hit the eagle squarely on his poor little head, and killed it. I agonized over what had happened, but I figured that since it was dead I might as well eat it."

The Judge says he will take a recess to analyze the defendant's statement. Fifteen minutes later, the Judge returns.

"Due to the extreme circumstances, and because you did not intend to kill the eagle, the court will dismiss the charges." The Judge then leans over the bench and whispers, "If you don't mind my asking, what does a bald eagle taste like?"

"Well, Your Honor, it's a little difficult to explain," the defendant says. "The best way I can describe it is to say that it's far more tender than a California Condor, but the meat is quite bland compared to a Spotted Owl."