Keeping Animals as Pets

Parrot eating food in hand.

Keeping a wild bird as a pet is a risky proposition in the great majority of circumstances, and it may even be illegal depending on where you reside. Keeping any kind of wild native bird captive is illegal in the United States, and anybody found doing so might face criminal charges. The prohibition occasionally extends to things like feathers and eggshells, making it unlawful to possess any wild native bird feather, an egg, an eggshell, or anything similar. This is only one of the reasons why taming a wild bird and keeping it as a pet is typically not a good idea.

Ethics of Keeping Wild Birds as Pets

One of the major drawbacks of keeping wild birds as pets is that it would be immoral. Taking a wild animal out of its natural environment and confining it in a cage isn't considered particularly compassionate by most people, yet the great majority of parrots and other bird species bought as pets have been developed in captivity. These birds have a metal band around one of their legs to indicate that they are not captive birds.

Some individuals may not have any ethical concerns about bringing a wild bird home, but many bird professionals will, particularly an avian veterinarian, whom you would have to see if the bird were unwell or wounded. Finding an avian veterinarian ready to treat a wild bird if it became unwell would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, especially if the bird was a protected species.

If you come across a wild young bird that you believe is orphaned and in need of assistance, let it alone and contact your local wildlife agency. That way, you may rest comfortable that the bird will be cared for and that the problem will be handled legally. There are a few circumstances in which you may be legally allowed to retain an orphaned baby bird that you find, but only if it is a European Starling, a Pigeon, or a Sparrow, three species that are not protected by US law.

What About the Sport of Falconry?

Attempting to retain any bird of prey is prohibited and a terrible idea in general—birds of prey are notoriously difficult to care for. Falconry, on the other hand, is a sport that many people participate in and enjoy. The Falcons used in the sport are captive-bred and undergo extensive training. Falconry requires a strong passion in the activity as well as a dedication to provide the finest possible care for your birds.

Although anyone may become a Falconer, it is not a simple task. To receive your first taste of the sport, you'll need to locate a seasoned and professional Falconer to sponsor you. To keep a bird, you must first get various permissions, which are issued at both the federal and state levels in the United States. It's a significant commitment, a lengthy process, and one that few individuals can see through to completion. If you want to learn more about falconry, however, you should contact the North American Falconers Association first.


"The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918., accessed May 31, 2022" ;