The Canary: your ideal companion
Are you looking for a new small pet? Do you live in an apartment or small house, but you would like a new, cheerful companion? Do you love music and want a pet that shares your interest? It sounds like you might be looking for a canary!
A canary is a beautiful and often yellow bird from the finch family. They originated from the Canary Islands. Canaries are now domesticated and sold as pets. They are excellent singers with an extremely pleasant disposition. I had a canary for 8 years and I highly recommend having a canary as a pet.
Tweety and Big Bird - Canary Celebrities
Canaries used to be the most popular pet bird until the parakeet became easier to find in any pet store. Since the parakeet is often sold at a lower price, the canary unfortunately declined in popularity. It is a shame considering they make such a sweet pet. You may remember Tweety Bird and Big Bird from your childhood, and yes, they are both canaries. I tried to research Woodstock (Snoopy's friend) but I cannot confirm or deny the canary rumors for him. Woodstock will remain a mystery.
Aside from the childhood canary celebrities, real canaries can be just as charming. Canaries can be trained to become excellent singers. Typically, the male canary is brighter in color and the better singer, but that is not always the case. I had a female canary that was beautiful and a wonderful singer. As a matter of fact, we were under the impression we had a male canary until the day our "male" canary laid an egg. So please do not let anyone talk you out of getting a female canary.
My favorite personality trait of canaries is their love of music. Believe it or not, canaries not only love music, but they can have favorite songs. A canary will pretty much chirp happy notes with any song, but if a canary is particularly fond of a song - look out! The bird will often hop around and sing a song of joy! Many people underestimate a canary's ability to interact in such a way, but believe me, canaries pick their favorite songs and you will know it.
Purchasing Canary and Supplies
When you go to buy a canary, I will warn you, your selection may be limited. Unfortunately, as I said before, since the parakeet is now sold at such a discounted price, it is hard to find a large variety of canaries in the pet store. You may want to research in your area and find a breeder. You would definitely want to contact a breeder if you are interested in a specific type of canary, such as the Red Factor. They are harder to find in a standard pet store. I recommend calling several pet stores and some of the smaller pet shops. Local, smaller pet shops are more likely to know breeders in the region and can help you out.
Once you've decided to get your canary, you want to get a large cage for her. Canaries are birds that love to fly, so you want your canary to have as much space as possible. Also, please keep in mind that canaries are not the type of birds that like to be handled. If you are looking for a bird that will stand on your finger, a canary is not the choice for you. You may want to get a parakeet, a lovebird, or a cockatiel. This is why the canary needs such a large cage; all of her activities will be in the cage. The height of the cage will not be as important as the length. Imagine your bird flying back and forth, and you will understand why the cage should be wide instead of tall.
Your canary will need a pellet or seed based canary food to eat. Also, your canary will need a cuttle bone to peck. This is good for your canary's beak. There is some debate about whether canaries need gravel to digest their food. I always made sure my canary had gravel in her cage at all times. My thoughts are better safe than sorry. You may want to ask a canary breeder, but I know my canary and parakeet always had a good supply of gravel. You can sprinkle it in with their seeds or keep it in a separate dish. You want to make sure the canary has a water dish filled with fresh water at all times, as well.
Some canaries really enjoy toys and other canaries are indifferent to them. It never hurts to get your canary a small toy or two, and see how it goes. My canary loved her mirror and her swing, but did not care for any other toys. She did, however, adore a bird bath. I highly recommend getting a bird bath that attaches to the door of the cage. Not only will your bird love to splash and wash in the bird bath, it is plenty of fun to watch.
Some Parting Notes
I know you are ready to run out and get your canary right now. Before you do anything, please remember canaries can be a big commitment. Canaries typically live about 10 to 15 years.
Some people believe you can buy a bird, put them in a cage, and just plop them down in a corner. It is not as simple as that. You need to take the time to train the bird. Birds require a lot of attention, although canaries and finches usually require a little less attention than birds in the parrot family. Although some people will say a canary is not able to learn tricks, this is not true at all. A canary can learn simple commands like, "Jump on your swing" or "Look in your mirror." They are extremely clever little birds and should not be underestimated.
Since canaries can be a little messy, you will need to clean their cage every day or every other day. You also have to fill the dishes with new food, gravel, and water each day. If that schedule is too demanding for you, you will probably find that a bird is not the right pet for you. These are all things to seriously consider before getting any bird.
Now that you have read the entire hub, I hope you have determined that you are ready for a canary. They are charming, wonderful pets. I loved my canary dearly and I still miss her. She has been gone for years, but she was a little darling. I hope you find a canary that is just as cheerful, smart, and beautiful.