Tiny Little Singers - The Canaries!

Tiny Little Singers - The Canaries!

Written By: text_none_author Published In: Bird-Blog Created Date: 2016-11-22 Hits: 1156 Comment: 0

The domestic canary, often simply known as the canary is a domesticated form of the wild canary, a small songbird in the finch family. Canaries were first bred in captivity in the 17th century. This bird became expensive and fashionable to breeding. Monks started breeding them and only sold the males (which sing). This kept the birds in short supply and drove the price up. First the birds were only owned by the rich but eventually the local citizens started to breed them and, again, they became very popular. Many breeds arose through selective breeding, and they are still very popular today for their voices. Typically, the domestic canary is kept as a popular cage and aviary bird.

Characteristics of the bird: 
Canaries used to be the most popular variety of pet bird years ago. With the advent of hand raised and more interactive birds their popularity has declined. Male canaries are noted for their beautiful song; however, not all male canaries are good singers. Female canaries do not sing; hence the price differential between males and females. Male canaries sing to attract a mate, so quite often placing another bird in the cage could stop their singing. Canaries will usually stop singing during their molting period which can last several months. They are a somewhat nervous type bird, which can be difficult to hand-tame, so usually they are minimally handled and kept caged. If obtained at a young age, they can be hand-tamed and will be an affectionate pet. Due to their high strung nature, canaries can become easily stressed during handling and may appear to ‘faint.’ It is quite unnerving to a veterinarian when they open their hand and see a bird just lying prone or breathing heavily and not moving. Always watch canaries carefully during any procedure which requires handling. The life span of canaries can be 10 to 12 years. Canaries are desirable for their beautiful song so people who want a great singer should choose a male. Females can be sweet, affectionate companions if singing ability is not a consideration. They are easy to care for and are a good ‘starter’ bird.

Canaries in Brief:

  • Adult Size: 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm).
  • Weight: 0.4 to 1 ounce (12 to 30 g).
  • Life Span: 5 to 10 years on average.

Health & Common Conditions:
Canaries are susceptible to mite infection, namely: air-sac mites (which are found in the bird’s respiratory system), scaly mites (which show as scaly buildup around the bird’s beak, eyes and/or legs), feather mites and red mites (nocturnal mites that crawl out during the night and feed on the bird’s blood). Mite infection is treatable if caught early on, so be proactive in seeking out treatment as soon as you suspect that your canary might have mites. Canary pox is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes that poses a serious threat to canaries, especially those housed outdoors (which is why many people recommend housing these birds indoors) with higher infection rates occurring during summer months.

Seeds make a great base diet for your canary because it's the base diet for his wild cousin—this bird is genetically programmed to do well on seeds. Make a plan to feed your bird a mix of seeds along with some fruits, vegetables (especially leafy, green such as spinach, dandelions, romaine, and parsley), and perhaps live insects. Use a seed mix packaged for canaries, and check it for freshness. For more nutritious and possibly more palatable seeds, sprout them yourself. Your canary should have seeds available at all times. Provide fresh fruits and vegetables in the morning, and remove them in an hour or so before they spoil. Canaries must always have access to fresh, clean drinking water.