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Can You Keep Hummingbirds as Pets

can you keep hummingbirds as pets

Many birders will agree that seeing hummingbirds in their backyard is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. The bird’s unique flying ability and their mere presence in your garden will make the surroundings more lively and beautiful.

With these benefits, can you keep hummingbirds as pets? Unfortunately, keeping the birds as pets is not allowed in your home because it is illegal under the law. In addition, the way the hummingbirds are naturally built to survive may not be perfect for them to be inside. More details on this information can be found below:

Keeping Hummingbirds as Pets is Illegal Under the Law

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects the hummingbirds and other birds on the list from trading because it can affect their survival and can possibly cause extinction. The law automatically prohibits anyone from trapping and keeping hummingbirds as pets.

The law also protects other parts of the birds, such as the eggs, nests, and feathers. Positioning these parts is also a violation of the law. As of 2020, there are 1093 bird species including the hummingbirds, on the list.

However, the law provides exemptions to individuals, but you need to secure a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Getting a permit will never be easy because it only allows certain activities such as scientific and educational purposes for the permit to be given. Without the permit, keeping the hummingbirds as pets is indeed illegal.

If you still want to trap and capture hummingbirds, make sure you are ready to face the consequences. A violation of this law will cost someone from $15000 to $200000, which is quite expensive. Therefore, keeping hummingbirds at home is illegal and will cost you so much money if you still do it.

Keeping Hummingbirds as Pets is Challenging

Another reason it is advised not to keep hummingbirds as pets apart from the law is the challenge of taking care of them. Hummingbirds require high maintenance, and having them in captivity requires a very complex diet.

These energetic little birds’ food requirements involve fresh food that must be prepared daily to make the sugar and protein balance. With these high maintenance needs, these birds rarely survive once they are in activity.

This bird species is also highly territorial, which means keeping more than one bird in a cage can lead to a disaster. When you do it, expect the two birds to be fighting, which can cause stress and injuries which can possibly shorten their life.

Hummingbird’s Physical Limitations

hummingbirds physical limitations

Another reason why it is impossible to keep hummingbirds as pets is because of their physical limitations. The hummingbird’s size may be the most obvious reason it is considered a challenge to keep the hummingbirds as a pet. Please check below for more information:

Hummingbird’s Size

The hummingbird’s natural size is too small, making it difficult for anyone to keep it as a pet. The typical size of hummingbirds in the United States is only 3 to 4 inches. The hummingbird is considered one of the smallest bird species in all of America.

With this limitation, it will be difficult taking care of a very small bird. Imagine when you are feeding the bird, it can be very difficult to hold the birds because of their miniature. If you are not careful, you might accidentally hurt or even kill them.

Difficult Dietary Requirements

When it comes to taking care of a bird in captivity, their dietary needs are the most essential thing to consider. Unfortunately, hummingbirds have one of the most difficult nutritional needs, which are very difficult to meet.

Hummingbirds require nectar as part of their dietary requirements. However, the nectar must be in the exact water to sugar ratio to fit their requirements. They do not like drinking concentrated or even diluted nectar concentration.

In addition, they also need to eat other bird food, mainly insects. Gnats and fruit flies are essential to their diet to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Failing to meet the bird’s dietary requirements can lead them to die.

Hummingbird’s Fast Metabolism

Hummingbirds are also very active birds as they fly so fast. These constant movements mean that they have a very high or fast metabolism. The birds need to eat every 10 to 15 minutes with their fast metabolism. Providing them with food can be a significant problem if they are in captivity.

Their ability to take very fast and quick flights while flapping their wings very quickly makes them use so much energy in every movement. If you make them pets, you will need to provide them with food continuously, which can be challenging.

Hummingbird’s Strong Beaks

It can be very difficult to make the hummingbird a pet because of its strong beaks. When these birds feel in danger, they can attack anyone, including humans. Their strong beaks will be used on the attack and can possibly cause serious damage to anyone.

It can also be challenging to make hummingbirds as pets with this physical feature. If you are feeding them, they might attack using their strong beaks, which can lead them to hurt your hand. They might be small, but their strong beaks can possibly hurt you.


They may be beautiful and lively birds, but can you keep hummingbirds as pets? No, you cannot make hummingbirds pets because the law protects them. Not following the law means you will be liable and pay a considerable amount of money if caught.

In addition, keeping the hummingbirds as pets is too tricky with their small size and other physical limitations. Their fast metabolism means that you will need to feed them every 15 minutes, which can be very difficult as a pet owner.

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