Can Hummingbirds Be Kept As Pets? – Wild Wonders, Not House Pets

These birds are captivating creatures that have been observed and admired by bird lovers for centuries. Their vibrant plumage, agile wing motion, and exceptional habits make them a prominent object of study and appreciation. Whether hummingbirds can be kept as pets is a matter of debate that evokes ethical, practical, and legal considerations.

Hummingbirds cannot be kept as pets. Though they are incredibly beautiful and fascinating creatures, their wild nature makes them unsuitable as house pets. In the wild, hummingbirds live in tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America.

So if you’re looking for a pet Hummingbird, you’re out of luck. They are very active, spending most of their time flying for food or mates.

Is It Possible To Own A Hummingbird As A Pet?

It is impossible to keep a hummingbird as a pet due to the animal’s specific habitat, diet, and behavior requirements which cannot be met in captivity. In addition, many countries have laws prohibiting the keeping of hummingbirds as pets, and those found to violate such laws may be subject to fines and imprisonment.

Instead of keeping hummingbirds as pets, it is recommended to enjoy their beauty and unique characteristics from a distance by birdwatching, visiting parks and nature reserves, and learning about them through educational resources.

Legal Issues

Owning a hummingbird as a pet is intriguing, but it is only a realistic option for some people. Several legal issues must be considered even if you can obtain a hummingbird.

In the United States, keeping a hummingbird as a pet is illegal as these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This federal law makes it illegal to possess a hummingbird without a permit. Such permits are usually only for qualified educational institutions, zoos, and wildlife rehabilitators.

Ethical Issues

The possibility of owning a hummingbird as a pet presents an interesting ethical debate. Though they are undeniably beautiful and captivating birds, their unique needs and laws in certain areas make them unsuitable as traditional pets.

Hummingbirds, which are native to the Americas and are the smallest birds in the world, have incredibly specific dietary needs. They must continually consume nectar and small insects throughout the day to maintain their metabolism, and they have access to a diverse range of food sources in the wild.

What Do Hummingbirds Consume?

These birds are renowned for their remarkable agility and quickness in flight, attributed to their unique wing structure and rapid wing beat. These small, lively birds are found in the Americas and subsist on various dietary items, including nectar from flowers, sugar water from feeders, insects, and tree saps.

Nectar from Flowers

Hummingbirds rely on nectar from flowers as their primary food source. Their thin, elongated beaks facilitate the extraction of nectar from the depths of blooms, providing a rich, sugar-filled energy source.

Attracted to the vibrant colors and tubular shape of certain flowers, these birds gain the fuel necessary to sustain their rapid flapping wings and high metabolic rate.

Sugar Water from Feeders

They are naturally attracted to sugar water feeders, which bird lovers can use to supplement their diet. The sugar water combines white granulated sugar with water in a 4:1 ratio (water to sugar).

It is crucial to use plain white sugar; alternative types, such as honey or brown sugar, are potentially hazardous to the birds. Sugar water is not a natural food source for hummingbirds, but it can be a beneficial alternative when natural nectar sources are limited.


Hummingbirds rely on insects as a source of protein and other nutrients. They prefer small creatures such as gnats, fruit flies, and mosquitoes, using their beaks to capture them in flight. In addition, insects play an important role in the pollination of plants, which helps maintain the hummingbird population.

Tree Saps

They supplement their diets with tree sap, a carbohydrate-rich source. Maple trees, specifically, are sought after by these birds due to their high sucrose content, offering a sustained source of energy. Hummingbirds then employ their sharp beaks to penetrate the tree bark and access the sap.

How to Care for a Hummingbird?

Hummingbirds are captivating and fragile organisms that necessitate attentive and specific maintenance to reach optimal health. Those blessed enough to have hummingbirds frequent their garden or yard can promote these birds’ well-being through various methods.

Provide Food Sources

Maintaining the health of hummingbirds is essential, and providing them with a dependable food source is paramount. Primarily, hummingbirds feed on nectar from flowers, but they also eat insects, sugar water, and tree saps.

For a natural nectar source, consider planting flowers attractive to hummingbirds, such as salvia, bee balm, and trumpet vine, in your garden or yard. You can also install sugar water feeders, which must be mixed with a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, and must be kept clean to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

Create Safe Space

Providing a secure habitat for hummingbirds is paramount to their survival. To ensure the safety of these delicate creatures, feeders and flowers should be placed near trees or shrubs, giving hummingbirds an area to seek shelter from predators like cats and hawks.

Additionally, bird netting can be strung around the feeders to deter larger animals, such as squirrels and raccoons. It is also essential to avoid using toxic chemicals, including pesticides, which can have a detrimental effect on hummingbirds and other wildlife.

Ways to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. To make your garden an inviting oasis for these beautiful birds, there are a few steps you can take.

Provide plenty of nectar-bearing flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, including flowers like petunias, fuchsias, impatiens, and marigolds. Also, consider supplementing the nectar supply with a hummingbird feeder.

Be sure to keep it filled with fresh nectar and place it near a window or where you can observe the birds. Additionally, add a shallow birdbath with clean, fresh water to give your hummingbirds a place to bathe and drink. Finally, consider planting trees or shrubs for shelter, as these will give the hummingbirds a place to rest and feed in peace.

Is It Feasible To Maintain Hummingbirds As Domestic Companions?


Hummingbirds are captivating, yet they are not suitable for domestication. Hummingbirds have special dietary and habitat needs that can not be met in captivity.

Moreover, keeping hummingbirds as pets is forbidden in many countries. Rather than attempting to keep hummingbirds as pets, you can admire them in their natural environment.

By creating a hospitable habitat, such as gardens with hummingbird-friendly flora and nectar feeders, you can help sustain their natural activities and keep these magnificent creatures flourishing in the wild. Let’s show your appreciation and concern for hummingbirds in the most suitable ways for them and their habitats.



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