Canary : this pretty little yellow bird

Canary : this pretty little yellow bird

The Canary Islands canary is the symbol of the archipelago located off Morocco: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, El Hierro, but beware, it is neither present in Fuerteventura nor in Lanzarote.

More generally, it is endemic to Macaronesia, also the archipelagos further north and in the middle of the Atlantic of the Azores and Madeira.

In the wild, this bird does not have yellow plumage, but a brown-green which serves as camouflage: the male having a plumage with a dominantly greener than the female. It lives on the edge of the forest and in wooded areas, more incidentally on the seashore.

It is because the Spaniards discovered it in the 16th century, that the canary knows today its domesticated version yellow, even red, fruit of successive selections according to the criteria of its color, its song, but also its posture.

All about canaries
It is an easy bird: a canary companion, a habitat equipped with a small bathtub, perches, a cuttlebone and a feeder full of seeds. He’ll do just fine!

Canary: male or female bird?
In the canary, the male has the plumage of a stronger yellow and it is him who sings: he does it with the beak wide open, while the female chirps with the beak closed.

But the infallible technique is to take him in the hollow of the hand, to turn him over and to blow on his rump: the male has the cloaca less bulging and which ends by a growth. The female has the cloaca which ends in the prolongation of the body, and of round form to let pass the eggs.

The reproduction of the canary
It reproduces from a certain temperature (15 degrees) and especially from a certain luminosity which acts on its pituitary gland: apart from the breedings where this one is increased, it reproduces from the middle of March until June.

The male seduces the female from one of the perches (hence the need for them): the mating is done by the contact of the cloacae of the male and the female. The position being perilous, the exercise lasts only a few seconds, even if it has to be repeated several times a day.

The female has only one functional ovary, inside which are located the follicles, or egg yolk. When a follicle is ready, it is evacuated from the ovary: the meeting with the sperm is done in the pavilion of this one.

In the oviduct, the yolk surrounds the white surrounded by a membrane. Once in the uterus, it covers itself with its calcareous shell.

It takes forty-eight hours for this egg to form: in total, four eggs per litter, and two to three litters per year. The brooding lasts then twelve to thirteen days.

Be careful to provide a nest, there are plastic ones, but also natural materials, coconut fiber, jute, sisal, dried moss, etc..

At birth, the little canary has a head disproportionate to its body and a small down on its pink body.

To become autonomous in three weeks, it is a real stomach: supply the feeder well with wet egg paste, so that its parents feed it.

The song of the canary
It is the male who sings: under the effect of his hormones, to call the female. He sings especially in spring. On the other hand, he does not sing when he moults.

He sings when he feels good: your canary is then in good health and in a comfortable cage.

To sing, this bird needs a relative silence: it does not sing when there is too much noise. Unless it is the song of other canaries: then it joins the concert.

Canary breeds
The breeds are based on three criteria: the canary of song, color and posture. Before adopting one, find out what type of canary you are adopting.

Note that he is sensitive to music: make him listen to Mozart without hesitation, he will appreciate.

Canary : a blue bird
Canaries are mostly yellow: if they are of another color (red, green and blue)! it may be a crossbreed, or the food.

Here, be careful, your canary has been fed by the breeder with an extra amount of coloring food, to sell it to you at a higher price. When you feed him in a balanced way, he will regain his original yellow color, which is a good sign.

So of course, there are blue canaries, which are a cross between a black-white and a black-yellow canary. But do not fantasize too much about this exception, prefer healthy canaries.

If I can give you a piece of advice, leave your canary with its natural color. It is yellow from birth, leave it yellow. For my account, I have green canaries and blue ones.

Advice on canaries
The average life expectancy of canaries is between 6 and 10 years. These birds can be susceptible to baldness, follicular cysts and hyperkeratosis of the legs.

How many canaries should I put in a cage?
Adopt at least a couple of canaries: one alone will be unhappy. On the other hand, a male canary will do very well with several females. The number of canaries depends on the size of the cage.

The cage should be large enough for them to fly and move around comfortably. It should be longer than it is wide, because canaries fly lengthwise. And have the bars vertical, because they have a straight beak.

Ideally, open the cage once a day, with the door closed, so that your canaries have a moment of the day to fly.

How should I care for a canary?
Canaries are self-sufficient birds, so the maintenance of their cage is important. Clean it twice a week. And make sure that its little bathtub is always supplied with clean water: this bird needs to wash its plumage every day.

To feed your canaries, give them a mixture of canary seeds (elm, hemp, rapeseed and oat), with a piece of fruit (pear, apple, banana slice, orange wedge) or vegetables (lettuce leaf, dandelion leaf, grated carrots, radish). Be careful, get information before giving him vegetables, some of them are toxic for him.

Finally, he needs calcium: cuttlefish bones or oyster shells are not a decoration for the cage, but an essential contribution to his balance.

Be careful to choose your cage
Its moult
Once a year, the canary moults: for eight weeks on average. This is a period during which you must take special care of him. Fill his bathtub with warm water twice a day, to help him renew his plumage. He will then be wet: avoid draughts, so that he doesn’t catch cold.

Always during this period, take care of its food, which will have to be varied.

During this moult, not only the plumage of your canary, but also the scales or scutes of its legs are renewed. To facilitate this process, give your canary warm footbaths: the old scales will soften and come off.

As for its claws, they need to be regularly trimmed: especially during the breeding season, so that the canary doesn’t puncture its eggs when it incubates them.

To do this, hold your bird in one hand, and pull one of the two legs with your thumb. Do this near a light source: you will see the area without blood vessels, to be cut without hurting it.

Where to buy a bird?
The canary represents a real channel: you can find them on the sites of sale between private individuals and in pet shops. The latter make a good margin on the sale of canaries, which cost them on average only five to ten euros to buy.

Of course, you also pay the costs of the pet shop (storage, food, electricity, water), but they may be unsold breeding stock. If you can, turn directly to them to buy canaries.

We should also remember that pet shop birds are “unsold” birds, i.e. birds that the breeder has not retained for his own breeding and that he has not been able to sell through his own network.

The price of the canary

The average price of a yellow canary is twenty euros, with prices ranging from ten to seventy euros, without much difference between males and females.

The color makes the difference: a red or blue will always cost more. To know if this distinction brings you a real satisfaction.