The Canary (Serinus canaria) sometimes called the Island Canary, Wild Canary or Atlantic Canary is a small songbird which is a member of the finch family. This bird is native to Madeira and the Canary Islands. The word "Canary" is derived from the Latin canaria, "of the dogs", referring to the numerous wild dogs that inhabited the islands.
The Canary is a domesticated form of the Wild Canary, (Serinus canaria) a small songbird in the finch family originating from Madeira and the Canary Islands.
Weights and Measures: The wild canary is 12.5 to 13.5 cm long, yellow-green, with streaking on its back. It is larger, longer and less contrasted than its relative the Serin, and has more grey and brown in its plumage.
Domestic Canaries: Canaries are generally divided into three main groups: Colorbred Canaries (bred for their many color mutations - Ino, Eumo, Satinette, Bronze, Ivory, Onyx, Mosaic, Brown, etc.), Type Canaries (bred for their shape and conformation - Border, Fife, Gloster, Gibber Italicus, Raza Española, Berner, Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc.), and Song Canaries (bred for their unique and specific song patterns - Spanish Timbrado, Roller, Waterslager (also known as "Malinois"), American Singer, Russian Singer, Persian Singer).
A Canary's Home: The wild canary's habitat includes semi-open areas such as orchards and copses, where it nests in bushes or trees.
Feathered Crooner: The song is a silvery twittering like the Goldfinch.
History of the Domestic Canary: Canaries were first bred in captivity in the 1600s. They were brought over by Spanish sailors to Europe.
Monks started breeding them and only sold the males (which sing). This kept the birds in short supply and drove the price up. Eventually Italians obtained hens and were able to breed the birds themselves. This made them very popular and resulted in many breeds arising and the birds being bred all over Europe.
The same occurred in England. First the birds were only owned by the rich but eventually the local citizens started to breed them and, again, they became very popular. Many breeds arose through selective breeding.
Canary in the Coal Mine:
Miner's canaries were early forms of carbon monoxide detection in mines.
Three or more canaries (or other small birds with high metabolism) were taken down new shafts, and if one or more exibited abnormal behavior, the parties determined that the shaft was unsafe.
Best in Show: Canaries are judged in competitions every fall. Shows generally begin in October and November after the breeding season ends.
Birds can only be shown by the person who raised them. They all have unique bands on their legs that indicate the year of birth, the unique band number, the club to which the breeder belongs. Song Canaries are judged later in the year (January).
There are many canary bird shows all over the world. The world show (C.O.M.) is held in Europe each year and attracts thousands of breeders. As many as 20,000 birds are brought for competiton.
Caring for Your Canary: Most bird veterinarians today recommend a diet of 80% canary pellets. Many breeders still use the canary seed mix available in pet shops. All canaries benefit from a supply of green food such as lettuce, dandelion leaves and nasturtium leaves. They can eat any produce you do, with the exception of avocado. Care should be taken to ensure leaves supplied are clean and have not been sprayed with any chemicals. Canaries also enjoy little bits of fruit, but be careful to offer only what the bird can eat in one sitting, or you may wind up attracting ants, or hornets.
Fuel for Moulting: During the moulting period it is advisable to supplement their diet with egg food or nestling food (can be bought as a dry mix to which water is added until a crumbly but not soggy consistency is achieved. Some nestling or egg foods can be served dry, others are best served with a soak seed mix; this is a special mixture of seeds meant to be soaked, rinsed, and sometimes sprouted a little, before being served).
How to Keep your Bird Happy: To ensure caged birds are happy, toys should be provided and swapped regularly to avoid boredom (which can lead to aggression and feather plucking). Most people keep males and females in separate cages, except during breeding season. When buying pet canaries, great care must be taken to ensure the right mix of sexes in a cage. A mistake could lead to the birds attacking each other, even to the extent that one may kill another.
Solitary Bird: In general, pet canaries do not require companionship; the canary species is territorial, not social, and does not generally appreciate company in the same cage. It will be seen as an intruder, not as a companion, and although it might take up to two years or so, if they remain in a single cage all year round, usually one or the other will eventually die. A male and a female stand a better chance of getting along amicably, but all too often the less dominant bird will eventually die, although it may take some time.
This is because the dominant bird will feel the need to constantly 'oversee' the less dominant bird of the two. It will never be able to eat, sleep, or drink its fill in peace, and eventually the stress will take its toll.
If a bird
is present in the home and a companion
is bought, it must be kept in a separate cage for at least couple of weeks,
both for quarantine, and to
ensure the birds get used to each other;
the new bird can then gradually
be introduced to ensure that no
A male and female will often get along reasonably well if introduced in this way, but should not be allowed to remain together all year round; each should have some privacy, during the period from midwinter until the start of breeding season in early spring, at the very least.
Two males will very rarely be happy together, although keeping them permanently in separate cages will prompt them each to sing more than they probably would on their own - however a good recording of canary song will work equally well. A cage with a number of males may work as long as no female is present, but again, they should not be expected to live in peace all year round, and each should be separated into an individual cage during the spring/early summer breeding season at the very least.
A Canary Can... Male canaries can mimic sounds such as telephone ring tones and door bell chimes but only if they hear these sounds while young. Canaries can be taught tricks over time but great patience is required as they are fairly timid birds. To get the birds to play with toys, toys must be safely constructed (no sharp edges or parts the bird's feet could become entangled upon).
Caring for a Sick Canary: If pet canaries become ill they will rapidly lose weight and this is why it is essential to treat disease as quickly as possible. It is wise to have glucose powder and an eye dropper in store to administer drops of diluted solution via the beak if a canary stops eating. When a bird is sick, it puffs up its feathers to stay warm; give it gentle heat. You can often drape a heating pad over or under the cage, but be sure the bird can also get OUT of the heat if it wants.
Canary Kryptonite... Common household hazards include fumes from the kitchen (cooking fumes and especially fumes from non-stick pans)- canaries should never be kept in a kitchen for this reason. They are also sensitive to smoke from cigarettes, aerosol sprays such as deodorant, air freshener and polish. Plug in air fresheners/ stand-alone fan fresheners are very toxic, as are some candles, especially scented ones (except unscented beeswax candles).
Avoid placing a canary's cage where it is in a draft, or be in full glare of sunlight without any shade available. If you let your canary out to fly about for exercise, always cover mirrors and windows, as they may fly into them and break their neck.
A number of houseplants/cut flowers are very poisonous to canaries (as are some herbs), so never let them nibble leaves of houseplants. Be very wary, as canaries love to eat greens of all kinds! Safe plants include spider plants, african violets and boston ferns. Clean water must be available for drinking and separate water should be made available for bathing.
Bathing Birdies: Canaries love bathing and should be allowed to bathe often. Offer cold water for them to bathe in, as it improves their feather condition. Warm water, on the other hand, will help to strip essential oils from the feathers, and will encourage itching and picking, rather than preening. Plentiful time to bathe is especially important to a canary during the moult.
It's Not Easy Being Green:
Unlike their domesticated brethren, wild canaries have olive green feathers! In fact, the tiny songsters are difficult to spot in their native habitats they are well camouflaged in the trees.
Eagles are large birds of prey, who inhabit mainly the Old World, with only two species (Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle) commonly found in North America, a few in South America three (White-bellied Sea Eagle, Little Eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle) in Australia and the Philippine Eagle in the Philippine Archipelago. They are members of the bird order Falconiformes, family Accipitridae and belong to several different genera, not necessarily closely related to each other.
Bald eagles re-use nests year after year, constantly adding and extending them.
Eagle in General: Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs and powerful talons. They also have extremely keen eyesight to enable them to spot potential prey from a very long distance. This keen eyesight is primarily contributed by their extremely large pupils which cause minimal diffraction (spreading) of the incoming light.
Just the Facts:
The Bald Eagle, also known as the American Eagle, is a bird of prey found in North America, most recognizable as the national bird of the United States. The species was on the brink of extinction in the USA late in the 20th century but now has a stable population and is in the process of being removed from the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species.
Bald Eagle name: The bird gets both its common and scientific names from the appearance of the adult's head. The English name (Bald) refers to the white head feathers, and the scientific name is derived from Haliaeetus, the New Latin for "sea eagle," (from the Greek haliaetos) and leucocephalus, Greek for "white head," from leukos ("white") and kephale ("head").
Bald Eagle's natural range: The Bald Eagle's natural range includes most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States, and northern Mexico. The bird itself is able to live in most of North America's varied habitat from the bayous of Louisiana to the Sonoran desert to the eastern deciduous forests of Quebec and New England. It can be a migratory bird but it also is not unheard of for a nesting pair to overwinter in a particular area.
Bald Eagle Endangerment: Once a common sight in much of the continent, the Bald Eagle was severely affected by the widespread use of DDT in the mid-twentieth century. While the pesticide itself was not lethal to the bird, its exposure would either make an eagle sterile or inhibit its ability to lay healthy eggs: the eagle would ingest the chemical through its food and then lay eggs that were too brittle to withstand the weight of a brooding adult. By the 1960's there were fewer than 500 nesting pairs in the 48 contiguous states of the USA.
Bald Eagle recovery: Currently the Bald Eagle is slowly but steadily recovering its numbers; it can be found in growing concentrations throughout the United States. and Canada, particularly near large bodies of water. The U.S. state with the largest resident population is Alaska; out of the estimated 100,000 Bald Eagles on Earth, half live there.
The only Bald Eagle to be hatched outside North America was born on May 3, 2006 in a zoo in the German city of Magdeburg.
Distribution: At one time, the Golden Eagle lived in temperate Europe, North Asia, North America, North Africa and Japan. In most areas this bird is now a mountain-dweller, but in former centuries it also bred in the plains and the forests. In recent years it has started to breed in lowland areas again (Sweden, Denmark).
There was a great decline in Central Europe, and the Golden Eagle is now restricted to the higher central Appennine regions of Italy (Regional capital of Abruzzo is named after the latin/Italian word for eagle, L'Aquila) source, and the Alps.
In Britain, there are about 420 pairs left in the Scottish highlands, and between 1969 and 2004 they bred in the English Lake District. In North America the situation is not as dramatic, but there has still been a noticeable decline.
Falconry: In Central Asia, Golden Eagles sometimes are trained for falconry, and in Kazakhstan there are still hunters using these eagles in order to catch deer and antelopes.
Mating: A pair of Golden Eagles remains together for life. They build several nests within their territory and use them alternately for several years. The nest consists of heavy tree branches, upholstered with grass.
Nests: Old nests may be 2 metres (6.6 ft) in diameter and 1 metre (3.3 ft) in height, as the eagles enlarge their nests every year. If the eyrie is situated on a tree, supporting tree branches may break because of the weight of the nest.
Eggs: The female lays two eggs between January
and May (depending on the area). After 45 days the
young hatch. They are entirely white and are fed
for fifty days before they are able to make their first flight attempts and eat on their own. In most cases only the older chick, which takes most of the
food, survives, while the younger one dies before leaving the eyrie.