If you are staring at a bird flying backward in the vast blue skies, you should know – it is a Hummingbird. Hummingbirds are unique and Intelligent species that can fly in any direction. A significantly less known fact is that almost more than 300 varied hummingbirds live in the United States alone.
Have you ever wondered why the species are called hummingbirds? It is because of the humming sounds that sound when they flap their wings at high speed. Their size and speed are directly proportional. How unique is nature’s creation! Every fact about this particular species is exciting and unique.
Hummingbirds are majestic in every sense of the world, and many wish to keep them as companions. But is it possible to keep them as pets? What are the requirements needed to take care of these tiny creatures? This article might give you some valuable insights into what you can do and what not to do.
Can hummingbirds be pets?
It’s impossible to keep hummingbirds as pets because they can’t survive in enclosed areas or live trapped in cages.
Hummingbirds are sensitive and are incredible fliers that can create high-pitched humming sounds while they hover in mid-air with their flapping rate of 12 to 80 per second at a rapid motion.
These adorable creatures have tiny legs and feet that allow them to fly with high energy. They can’t hop or walk like other avian species.
Like a marathon runner who needs more fuel than an average human, hummingbirds also require a particular diet to fulfill their nutritional needs. They feed on nectar from flowers in the wild and eat a few insects and bugs to get proteins.
Hummingbirds are lightning-fast and can fly at a 30 to 45 miles per hour speed without relaxing, with their stored body fat.
They use their slender and long beaks to sip liquid from deep inside blooms and may visit 2,000 flowers per day to keep their little bodies in motion.
In captivity, they can die from starvation because it’s hard to provide the essential nectar for their fast metabolism.
When the flowers and insects are scarce in your garden or backyard, they take part in air fights for the food source in one place. They have beaks like weapons, and you can’t bear the stroke.
Is it legal to keep hummingbirds as pests?
Hummingbirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act from the year 1918, and the possession of any migratory bird is strictly prohibited. It is against the law to trap or keep these birds, their babies, eggs, or nest as pets in an enclosed cage without a valid permit.
In the United States, keeping a hummingbird violates the law and can cost you almost $15,000 to $ 200,000 in fines. It’s very dangerous for them to live in an enclosed captivation area.
Few people carry valid permits to keep hummingbirds to reproduce and then put up their eggs or offspring for sale. To keep them in zoos, the government mostly buys all the young birds from the owners.
Before keeping these species as pets, get a proper permit from the local government if your country is signed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Of 1918. Getting a permit might cost around $50 to $100 or more. It depends on the type of permission you want to request.
How to take care of hummingbirds if the law permits?
Hummingbirds have delicate, soft bodies and tiny legs and need utmost attention and care from you. It’s better to allow them to roam freely around your backyard and provide them with feeders which include nectar in them.
To attract hummingbirds into your house, hang out their favorite feeders on trees in the garden or put them on a flowerbed.
According to zoos, these avian species are housing birds, and they follow a special diet, including insects and nectar, because hummings don’t feed on serials or greens.
Hummingbirds are brilliant birds; they fly around and search for insects and nectar if you do not feed them their feeders. So, it’s best to leave them free so that they can find their food and return to your garden when they miss your bird feeders.
What are the Difficulties in keeping and raising a hummingbird as a pet or companion?
Hummingbirds have specific characteristics that limit us from keeping them as our companions. Some factors are:
Extremely small in size
Most of the hummingbird species are in length between 3 to 5 inches. The Bee hummingbird is the smallest avian species in the world at 2.25 inches in length. Their weight is of a dime, which makes them extremely delicate and fragile, creatures. When you hold them tight, it might harm or even kill them.
Among the homeothermic animals (animals can keep their internal body temperature stable and not be affected by external resources), hummingbirds have the fastest mass-specific metabolism.
Compared to the other flying species, they have the highest metabolism except for insects. They make use of large amounts of energy for their rapid wing-flapping and fast-forward long flights.
To take long flights rapidly, they eat a lot and require feeding almost every 15 minutes. The feeding habit of these birds makes them extremely difficult for you to keep as pests. Like other birds, you cannot leave hummingbirds with feeders. They may die if the food runs out.
Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Ever Get Tired? How Do They Fly So Long?
Hummingbirds require sugar water as food to survive. They eat more nectar in the wild that is very nutritious and healthy, than just water and sugar. Hummingbirds are particular in the nectar’s texture they drink and stick to the less concentrated ones with their tube-like tongues.
For protein, Hummingbirds consume small insects such as gnats and fruit flies. Resources feed on 2000 flowers and hundreds of insects daily, equivalent to half of their body weight.
They follow an exotic diet to gain the weight they lose due to their fast metabolism, and it’s tough for us to keep them as pets. Simply, Hummingbirds eat almost all the time, every day.
Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Get Diabetes From Too Much Sugar Water?
Hummingbirds are very protective and competitive of their territory. They have sharp needle-like beaks that could harm you while feeding. This pecking behavior is more noticeable during the mating season.
Undefinable-prediction of their flight
Hummingbirds can move in all directions- backward, upside, downward, or forward. It’s very dangerous to keep such an unexpected flight direction-changing bird in a cage. They may die by hitting the ceiling at a rapid speed.
How to take care of a baby hummingbird?
In case you stumble upon an abandoned baby hummingbird in your garden or near your residence, follow these tips to care for baby hummingbirds.
- The baby hummingbirds do not have plumages and need to keep them in a warm place at all times. Search their nest nearby and put them back to their homing site to get the required temperature to stay alive or make a nest using a carton bedded with tissue papers.
- While making their nest, avoid using cloth or cotton as they might tangle their tiny legs and get injured.
- Ensure to regulate their body temperature because baby birds cannot survive in a too hot or too cold environment. If your residing place is too cold, place their nest under a lamp to provide enough warmth and regularly monitor so that the heat does not get excessive. You can also use an incubator.
- After ensuring the baby bird is warm and safe, contact properly trained and reputed hummingbird care wildlife rescue organizations to check whether the offspring is attacked or hurt. They can check and regulate their temperature. Most of the organizations provide sanctuary for the baby bird until they are capable of flying.
How to feed and spend time with wild hummingbirds?
If you are attracted to these beautiful birds, you can spend time with them rather than illegally keeping them as pests.
Unlike other avian species, hummingbirds do not eat greens or serials, and they have exotic nutritious filled nectar and proteins for insects.
Hummingbirds are summer birds. They get attracted to the sweet sugar solution and insects for proteins. Place the nectar feeders about 3 meters away from windows in 2 meters height that they can easily spot it in your backyard or garden.
The birds will hover around the feeder to gain fat. You can use this time to admire them closely and enjoy them. Do not forget to wash the feeder every day because sugar solution becomes thick with time, and birds never prefer to eat dense sugar water.
If you have space, plant some flowers which hummingbirds like and are attracted to. These species are more interesting than your favorite regular pet birds. Unlike other birds, hummingbirds are fearless and are never afraid of our presence as they have confidence in their fast metabolism capabilities.
They know that they can escape danger from the hands of slow metabolism humans with their flying ability. These birds fearlessly come to you and allow you to spend leisure time with them and are good companions.
Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird?
Can you tame a hummingbird?
It’s challenging to tame fast-moving hummingbirds. When you keep them as pets, you need to fulfill their flight needs and help them stay fit and healthy. It’s difficult for you to stop them from touching harmful objects during their out-of-cage sessions.
These tiny creatures take many years to get familiar with manufactured artificial structures, and it’s better to leave them in the wild.