Canaries

Personality & Behavior

Canaries sound

Canary enthusiasts are among the most passionate of the bird keepers – they need more than a little zeal to master the hundreds of canary types, each with its own special traits. Canaries are bred for three basic characteristics: song, color, or type (appearance), though the male bird in each of these types will sing.

The song canaries are bred to perform skilled concertos, and many are bred to have a specific song, which they often show off at canary song competitions; popular song canaries include the American singer, the German roller, the Spanish timbrado, and the waterslagger. Color-bred canaries are bred for their color, and can be fed manufactured and naturally pigmented food to enhance color; the red factor and the yellow (clear) canary are the most popular in this category.

The type canaries are bred to have certain physical characteristics, such as a mop of “hair” or frills; popular type canary breeds include the border canary, the crested, the fife, the Gloster, the lizard, and the Norwich. Of course, these lists represent only a few of the many canaries available today.

Speech & Sounds

Most canary novices will want a canary that sings well, rather than a ravishing beauty with a mediocre song. Finding a good singer is tricky business, and takes skill and experience. The longest and sweetest songs come from the male canary when he has reached maturity at 6 months of age or more. Experts suggest hearing a bird sing before buying it, or consulting a respected breeder. Hens are also capable of singing, but not as well nor as often.

Care & Feeding

Though it is primarily a solitary species, a canary in the midst of breeding season will want to mate, and though some canaries will show little interest in anything but breeding, some do become fiercely attached to a mate. As for breeding behavior, canaries are like clocks that use the sun to show them when it’s time to nest. This natural behavior can be disadvantageous for the house canary, whose life is filled with artificial lighting.

Housing for any bird is an important factor for keeping it healthy, but proper housing for the canary is essential for keeping it happy and singing. Also, each canary should have its own cage, or the result could be deadly. Canaries are territorial and do not like to be housed together. Canaries can live more than 14 years with proper care.

Most Common Disorders of Canaries

• Feather cysts

• Baldness

• Other feather abnormalities

• Obesity, fatty tumors

• Mites (air sac, trachea, tasselfoot, scaly face)

• Canary poxvirus

• Egg binding

• Cataracts

• Internal parasites

• Bacterial diseases

• Constricted feet and digits

• Damaged nails and beak

• Leg fractures

• Fungal infections

• Acute dyspnea (inhaled seed)

 

 

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