Hummingbirds are one of the most beautiful and unique creatures on Earth. This is because their wings can flap up to 70 wingbeats per second. Not only that, but they have a lot of stamina, and they come in multiple colors. If you are lucky enough, you will see a hummingbird come to your doorstep and eat off of your homemade hummingbird food.
Given that information, you might wonder if you can keep a hummingbird as a pet. Let’s find out below.
Keeping a hummingbird as a pet in the United States is illegal. In 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed, making it unlawful to hunt, take, kill, capture, pursue, or sell nearly 1100 bird species listed as migratory birds. In this case, it is best to watch from a distance, as capturing a hummingbird can lead to federal fines and imprisonment.
In this article, we will discuss why hummingbirds are not suitable as pets, whether you can purchase hummingbird eggs, and whether you can befriend one of these magnificent creatures. Although hummingbirds are beautiful creatures, getting rid of the temptations of having them inside your home is essential. However, let us continue for more information.
Is It Illegal to Have a Pet Hummingbird?
Yes, it is illegal to have a pet hummingbird. This is because they are birds that migrate from region to region. Not only that, but researchers have found hummingbirds can travel up to 23 miles in a single day and up to 500 miles during migration season.
A hummingbird's average speed is between 20 to 30 miles per hour. Hummingbirds should not be enclosed for these reasons, as they will not easily survive.
On the other hand, some zoos have hummingbirds inside specially built environments that are meant to replicate their natural habitat. However, many zoos have not been successful at keeping such creatures. Therefore, it is not a common practice among zoos and other wildlife sanctuaries.
Why Are Hummingbirds Not Suitable as Pets?
Although hummingbirds are relatively small, they are not suitable pets for many reasons. However, the leading cause is that creatures are highly active and need much space to forage and fly around. Essentially, their nature is to be free, and we should respect that. Hummingbirds also travel an average of 23 miles daily; certain species can fly up to 60 miles per hour.
If you are active, one of the many things you might do is walk around everywhere or go to the gym to release all that energy. In a hummingbird's case, they need to do the same essentially. If they were living in a cage, they would not get the luxury of having their “daily workout,” so to speak.
Not only this, but despite a hummingbird’s size, they have extremely high metabolisms. Keeping up with the bird's nutritional needs would be challenging if you had a 9-5 job or were hardly home. In retrospect, a hummingbird feeds every 10 to 15 minutes, visiting 1000 to 2000 flowers daily. They feed on nectar and bugs, which we cannot adequately provide.
Can Hummingbirds Survive in Captivity?
Yes, hummingbirds can survive in captivity, but that is a very slim chance as they are challenging to care for. This is because of their tiny size and metabolism. However, as mentioned previously, some zoos have successfully cared for hummingbirds in their sanctuaries, but these are few and far between.
Can You Keep a Hummingbird in an Aviary?
No, you cannot keep a hummingbird in an aviary as it is an unsuitable environment for them. Also, hummingbirds need more than plenty of space to forage for flowers and plants around them, which an aviary or cage does not possess.
Can Hummingbirds Be Tamed?
Technically, you cannot tame a hummingbird, as this means they become domesticated. However, you can befriend a hummingbird, which is done with a lot of patience and understanding. If you are patient and can sit still for long periods, you can eventually try hand-feeding a hummingbird.
Hummingbirds like bright colors, especially red. The Washington Post wrote an article back in 1990 discussing how wearing red clothes will help attract hummingbirds to you, especially if you want to try hand-feeding them yourself.
Another thing to do is create a homemade sugar and water mixture to help get hummingbirds to your yard. Doing so brings your family joy and helps the hummingbird population.
To make hummingbird food at home, you only need sugar and water. We recommend mixing 4 parts water with 1 part sugar. For example, 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water.
Some people add red dye, but please do not add it as it is not a natural ingredient and has multiple side effects. If you have any extra sugar water, you can add it in the fridge and change the feeder every other day to ensure no mold growth occurs.
How Much Does a Hummingbird Cost?
Hummingbirds cannot be sold or bought, especially in pet stores. However, if you are caught having a hummingbird as a pet, you would be paying $15,000 to $200,000 in fines if prosecuted.
Can You Purchase Hummingbird Eggs?
No, you cannot purchase hummingbird eggs or take them out if you see a nest. These things are according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
If you come across a hummingbird nest, we recommend leaving it alone as it is doubtful you will succeed in hatching the eggs themselves as well. However, watching the eggs hatch and observing from a distance would be fantastic! If you have children, it would be an excellent experience for them to see what it is like.
Be Wise and Watch From a Distance
Although you cannot keep a hummingbird as a pet, watching them from a distance should bring you much joy! If you have children, create memories by allowing them to help you make the hummingbird food, go outside to take what is left, and clean the bird feeder.
Doing these activities can become a whole family tradition! Also, you can put the bird feeder somewhere close to your bedroom, kitchen, or living room window so you can see them more clearly.
If you love flowers, consider planting ones that will attract hummingbirds, like petunias, Cardinal flowers, and bee balms. Overall, we hope this article has been informative, so we hope you have the best time viewing nature as is!