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Meet the Canary

Meet the Canary Birds

Canaries are delightful birds that can provide endless enjoyment with their melodious singing. What makes them so delightful, and what are the basic things you should know about these pleasant little birds?

Fun personality

Canaries are clever birds, and a little training from their human family members can go a long way. Canaries can learn to perform small tricks, such as playing with a ball, and take simple cues, like being asked to step up onto their human’s hand.

Small size, big fun

Thanks to their relatively small size, compared to a parrot or other large bird, and happy-go-lucky personalities, canaries are among the easiest birds to care for, so they’re great for beginner bird parents. They can also be a good choice if you’re looking for a bird for a child, although a child should never be the sole provider of care for a pet bird.

To keep busy and mentally stimulated, canaries need a variety of toys, but if mirrors are placed in their habitat, they may not sing. They also need room to fly in their habitat.

Canaries average about 4 to 6 inches long as adults and they often live in excess of 10 years with proper care and nutrition. These charming birds are also known for their variety of colors, from the traditional bright yellow and the lovely red factor to the pied color patterns and the yellow-capped Lizard species. The canary’s attractive body shape, colors and talent for singing all combine to make it a perennially popular pet.

Interesting history

Canaries are native to the Canary Islands. After being imported to the European mainland in the 1500s, canaries were initially owned by wealthy individuals who kept the canary birds mostly for their singing ability and for the novelty. Later, domestic breeding began and the birds became widely available to the general public.

Penchant for song

Canaries love to sing, and many people find their charming songs soothing and relaxing. On the other hand, you can’t just ask your canary to turn it off if you get tired of the sound. Singing is part of who they are. There is some debate about whether males sing better, or at least more often, than females. Males tend to sing more often and more reliably, while some, but not all, females chirp rather than sing. As far as their suitability as a companion bird, males and females are equal.

Red factor

Red factor canaries require a diet rich in beta-carotene to maintain their strong red coloring. Beta-carotenes are orange or red pigments that are present in certain plants. You can supply beta-carotenes through a formulated canary feed, or by feeding specific treats such as carrots and sweet potatoes.

Socializing a canary

Canaries generally have lovely personalities. However, while some birds can become quite fond of their human companions, they can also create wonderful connections with other canaries. They often seem very happy when in the company of other birds, so for this reason, many canary parents choose to keep more than one canary. Individual attention on a daily basis is still critical to the training and taming of your birds, so make this a daily priority. It’s best to choose same-sex pairs as opposite sex pairs are likely to produce offspring.

A balanced diet

A well-balanced canary diet should consist of 80 percent specially formulated pelleted canary food, supplemented by 10 percent fresh fruits, vegetables and fortified seeds. Never feed your bird avocados, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol. As with all pet birds, canaries should have constant access to fresh, clean, chlorine-free water.

Before you add a canary, or two, to your family, make sure you can provide everything needed for a long, happy, healthy life. If you’re not sure which type of bird is the best fit for you and your family, consider volunteering at your local bird rescue organization, visiting a bird club or talking to an avian veterinarian.