|Japanese White-eye - Photo by Dakiny (cc)|
His canaries are called border canaries, the singing kind, all yellow in color. It is only the males that sing with songs as memorable as stashed-away kisses. Not only that, my friend plays his music with his canaries, for they listen and imitate him and sometimes perch on his flute.
Canaries live about ten to fourteen years and can reproduce twice a year. My flutist friend's canaries, now about twenty in number, descended from two canaries, since just a few years back.
He says their daily upkeep doesn't cost much and they are clean birds. Still, the most important thing a bird lover can do is to keep his canary cages or the room used as aviary sparkling clean. Canaries, as all birds, are more susceptible to diseases in a dirty environment.
Direct exposure to sun, too much outside noise, polluted air, sudden temperature changes, bad diet, lack of exercise can make canaries seriously ill. The Canaries should never be exposed to damp and drafty conditions since they can develop asthma and rheumatism. Should a canary become ill, the best bet is to consult a veterinarian.
These birds are accident prone, also. Bookshelves, wastebaskets, couches and big upholstered armchairs can serve as death-traps. The Canaries are known to fly into mirrors and windows and sustain concussions and broken limbs, too. If a spare room is to be made into an aviary, the furniture should consist of simple tables without drawers and wooden chairs.
Canaries have a light skeleton as they can fly and dart across a room, and they need large cages and space to fly. As most birds, they have a very high rate of metabolism that burns up energy during flight.
What a canary eats is important for its health. The seeds have to be fresh and drinking water clean. Canaries drink the water they bathe in. So, the saucers they bathe in should contain the same quality of water in their water bottles. Non-carbonated mineral water is best. Tap water, if chlorinated, is not good for any bird.
A proper diet for a canary consist of birdseed mixture, organic fruits, and vegetable greens, spray millet, cuttlebone or mineral stone, and once in a while, sprouts, fresh twigs, and hard-boiled egg yolk with low-fat cottage cheese. Pesticide sprayed greens, fruit pits, and the skin of an avocado act like poisons for a canary.
The eyes of a canary work independently of each other, and through the use of its eyes, a canary orients itself to its environs. The vision of a canary draws almost a full circle of 320 degrees.
Canaries also possess an acute hearing. The structure of a canary's ear is akin to that of mammal, but without a flap. Otherwise, how else would the bird imitate a flute?
It is fun to watch canaries in their daily life. They preen themselves, and out of friendship, each other. In addition, the courting birds dance and feed each other. When the birds are relaxed and happy, they sit on one leg and may puff their plumage.
When a canary sleeps, it partially buries its head in its back and fluffs up its feathers. Canaries sleep through the night and are awake at daytime, but a relaxed and non-threatened bird may take short naps during the daytime.
Male canaries may sing as they fly over what they consider to be their territory. They also sing while attracting the female. The female may sing too; although the female bird has the necessary organs for singing, its voice is so soft that it is not heard.
When two canaries threaten each other, they raise their beaks and flap their wings. In general, however, canaries in a colony live peacefully together.
All birds hate to be seized, especially because human fingers hurt their feathers. If a canary escapes from its cage, it is better to cajole it back rather than to try grasping it.
Keeping a single male canary alone in a cage is not fair to the bird, no matter how good a care its owner might give him. A pair of canaries and a very large cage is the least you can do if you want canaries in your life.