Enjoy the experience!
The Pet Canary
- Species: Serinus canaria
- Actually a member of the finch family, native to the Canary Islands
- The wild canary is greenish yellow over most of their body with yellow underparts. The domestic canary comes in an array of bright colors.
- Canaries can live up to 10 years.
- Males canaries sing better than females, although the canary may not sing as much during a molt.
- Do not require a great deal of attention and are suitable for beginning pet bird owners.
- Canaries are not social birds so will a single pet canary will be happy.
It is a gregarious bird which often nests in groups with each pair defending a small territory. The cup-shaped nest is built 1–6 m above the ground in a tree or bush, most commonly at 3–4 m. It is well-hidden amongst leaves, often at the end of a branch or in a fork. It is made of twigs, grass, moss and other plant material and lined with soft material including hair and feathers.
The eggs are laid between January and July in the Canary Islands, from March to June with a peak of April and May in Madeira and from March to July with a peak of May and June in the Azores. They are pale blue or blue-green with violet or reddish markings concentrated at the broad end. A clutch contains 3 to 4 or occasionally 5 eggs and 2-3 broods are raised each year. The eggs are incubated for 13–14 days and the young birds leave the nest after 14–21 days, most commonly after 15–17 days.
It typically feeds in flocks, foraging on the ground or amongst low vegetation. It mainly feeds on seeds such as those of weeds, grasses and figs. It also feeds on other plant material and small insects. It has also been found that canaries need gravity to swallow, thus leading to death from dehydration in zero gravity conditions such as space.
Relationship with humans
This species is often kept as a pet, often known as the Domestic Canary. Selective breeding has produced many varieties, differing in colour and shape. Yellow birds are particularly common, while red birds have been produced by interbreeding with the red siskins. Canaries were formerly used by minersto warn of dangerous gases (“canary in a coal mine“). The bird is also widely used in scientific research. Canaries are often depicted in the media with Tweety Bird being a well-known example.