Domesticated centuries ago, canaries were popular in the courts of Spanish and English royalty in the 17th and 18th centuries because of their beautiful singing. Over the years selective breeding has focused on creating a variety of colors and shapes, but one of the most desired traits of canaries remains their ability to enthrall their audience, and hopefully a mate, with a repertoire of sounds and songs that are very pleasing to the human ear. Wild canaries are generally yellowish green in color, but domesticated canaries are available in a range of colors, including yellow, orange, black, brown, white and red, as well as mottled blends of these various colors.
Prospective owners of pet canaries need to be aware that they are not generally companion birds, as one would consider a parrot, budgerigar or cockatiel to be. Nonetheless, their cheerful disposition and amazing singing abilities make canaries a popular choice as pets. It should also be noted that only male canaries sing as this is how they attract a mate (although some owners have reported their female canaries can sing). Also, they tend not to sing when molting in summer. So, if you are considering getting a canary specifically for its singing, you’ll need to get a male and he would have to remain a bachelor. However, as they are territorial and not particularly social birds, canaries apparently do not need feathered companions to be happy.
As they like flying horizontally from perch to perch, canaries need a cage that is at least 20 inches or longer, by about 10 inches high and 10 inches wide, for them to get enough exercise. Place a perch on both ends of the cage, and maybe one midway. This will encourage your canary to keep fit and healthy. Tall or small cages are not at all suitable for canaries. They don’t need a lot of accessories in their cages, and may see their reflection in a mirror as an intruder or threat. Position the cage in a room where there is some activity and preferably some morning sun, but not in a kitchen and not in a draft.
Pet shops generally stock seed mixes specifically for canaries, as well as soft food in dehydrated form. Ensure that you canary has fresh seed every day and a teaspoon of moistened soft food, as well as some fresh green food such as carrot tops, parsley or spinach. You can offer your canary a slice of fresh apple or pear twice a week as a treat. Fresh water for drinking and splashing around in should be provided each day. Canaries also require grit, obtainable from the pet shop, and enjoy a cuttlebone. For your canary’s good health, ensure that his food and water bowls are cleaned every day. A healthy, happy canary will reward you with cheerful, chirpy activity, and hopefully hours of beautiful singing.
Have you previously attended a dog or cat show? Wasn’t it fun to view all of the animals for sale, especially the adorable babies? It was also interesting to see the wide variety of things for sale at the vendors. You may be surprised to know that events like this exist for bird lovers as well. They are generally known as bird fairs, exhibitions, shows, or expos. Often, owners or breeders will enter birds to be judged and, if they are lucky, win prizes, much like a canine or feline show. Breeders may also sell baby birds of all species, varying from pigeon squabs to little finches to parrot chicks. They will also sell adult birds at these events, or they will sell a breeding pair. It is unlikely that someone will be selling a breeding pair of macaws or cockatoos at a bird fair, however- generally, you will only find them selling breeding pairs of parrotlets, parakeets, cockatiels, doves, finches, or canaries. But one of the best parts of a bird fair is the vendors. Here, you can find anything your avian buddy could ever want, need, or dream of- giant stainless steel cages, the newest spill-free birdfeeder (although most parrot owners would firmly argue that such a thing does not, and will not, ever exist), freeze-dried treats, supplements, toys of all shapes, sizes, and colors, free-flight ‘harnesses’, even bird-themed items for people such as artwork or stuffed animals.
Remember, it probably is a very, very bad idea to bring your bird to a bird show. Generally, it is not even allowed, and you will have to go back home with your bird. If it isn’t prohibited, however, it still doesn’t mean you should do it. Your bird could get parasites or a disease from fellow birds at the fair. All of the screeching and tweeting, and all of the people milling around and talking, could frighten your bird. If your bird becomes frightened, you will probably have to head back home, because your bird could hurt itself trying to escape from a small travel cage. And if it isn’t trying to escape, it could upset other birds or their owners if it is loudly screaming or making other unsuitable vocalizations.
Another fun part of bird fairs are the raffles. Although bird fairs don’t always have raffles or auctions, it is fairly common and generally it isn’t a big surprise if your local bird fair has one. A wide variety of items can be raffled off- birdcages of all sizes, coupons for free avian vet checkups, bird toys, bird food and treats, and playstands. You may also see some bird-themed human items, like paintings, photos, t-shirts, and more.
Bird fairs are fun opportunities to socialize with fellow bird lovers, owners, and breeders, to buy your avian friend some interesting toys or treats –or perhaps a new cage, and, to possibly find a parrot or other bird that you would like to add to your feathered family. Look for bird fairs near you- they can be extremely fun events suitable for the whole family.
Owning a pet bird can be a lot of fun, but are also a big responsibility as they are totally dependent on their human owners. There are many species of pet birds and choosing the one best suited to you and your circumstances is very important.
Parrots are often the first birds that spring to mind when you think of pet birds. The types of bird that are included under the group name of parrots are: parrots, cockatoos, amazons, macaws, conures, lovebirds, parakeets, cockatiels and budgerigars. Many of the parrot species make interesting pets due to their ability to mimic speech. They are very intelligent and will amaze you with the size of their vocabulary and the tricks that they are able to master. The parrot group make lovely, affectionate pets with strong personalities. The different parrot species have the most splendid coloration. This, along with their fun personalities, makes them wonderful pet birds.
Some of the larger parrot species are quite expensive and therefore owners may wish to take out pet bird insurance. Pet bird insurance will cover death due to illness or accident, theft of the bird, public liabilities and equipment related to the bird, obviously depending on the type of insurance you select.
Finches are also popular pet birds. They come in many varieties and their lovely colors will complement any aviary. The most beautiful is the Gouldian finch, with its bright colors. You will gain much pleasure from watching these sweet little birds flitting around their enclosure. Canaries are also much loved pets due to their beautiful song and also come in many varieties.
Another group of pet birds are the softbills, which do well when kept in large aviaries. These include the white-eyes, touracos, robins, and mynahs.
People on plots may own pet chickens, geese, ducks and even peacocks. Pet chickens are often used to produce eggs, however their owners form quite an attachment to them and they are unlikely to land up on the dinner table.
It is best to carefully research the species you are interested in before purchasing it so as to make sure that you will be able to meet its needs. Visit your local pet shop where staff are likely to be able to advise you, while supplying you with the necessary equipment and food to keep your pet bird healthy and happy.
Many bird enthusiasts around the world have found creating outdoor aviaries a truly rewarding experience. A variety of birds can be kept in an outdoor bird aviary and it is a great option if you are interested in breeding and rearing. There are however, numerous considerations when it comes to keeping an aviary and it can be a lot of work.
Birds are very sensitive to fumes in the air. Their excellent respiratory system (they need plenty of oxygen in order to fly) makes them very susceptible to poisons in the air. Even fumes you can’t smell could be fatal to your pet bird.
Coal miners took advantage of birds’ sensitive lungs. They brought caged canaries into the mine shaft. If the canary appeared sick, or even died, the miners knew there were dangerous gasses in the air, such as methane or carbon monoxide. The miners could then escape the poisoned air before they felt the effects themselves.
Keep the coal miners in mind when you breathe the air in your home. Even though you may not be affected by fumes, they could be deadly to your feathered pet. Dangerous fumes include:
- Airborne cleaning agents
- Paint fumes
- Fumes from overheated non-stick pans
Be especially aware of fumes in the kitchen. The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house for your bird. The self-cleaning mode on some ovens releases fumes that can quickly kill pet birds in the house, and fumes from overheated pans with non-stick surfaces, including some frying pans, cookie sheets, and waffle irons.
To keep your bird safe, remove them from the house when using pesticides or strong- cleaning agents. Keep them away from your kitchen. Keep your bird’s area well ventilated, or use air filters.