By Connie S. Soto


Birds have lived with man throughout all time; we have kept them as pets for about as long. The domestic canary originates from the wild canaries’ that are native to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.


Canaries have always been popular dating back to the sixteenth Century. Yellow is the predominate color but canaries do come in many different colors. The resulting hybrid of crossing canaries with other breeds almost always produces sterility. The native birds of long ago were mostly green, gray with traces of yellow. To produce the vibrant yellows or greens of today has been the result of arduous patience from the original wild birds. Canaries come in several different shades of yellow, various orange tints, white, blue, cinnamon, fawn and a variety of reds.


Some canaries are what they call color fed which creates darker more vibrant colors. Color feeding is done during the molting season and needs to be repeated each year. You may find information that it is somewhat controversial as to whether or not it is safe for the bird. I tend toward making health the bigger priority for my birds and I do not feel the need to enhance their natural color.  


There are two kinds of canaries; Song canaries and Type canaries. Song canaries are bred primarily for their song with their size and form as a secondary consideration. Type canaries are just the opposite, breeding them primarily for their type, color and size with their song as the secondary consideration.


A canaries needs are modest and the enjoyment of a canaries companionship and their song is extremely fulfilling. For some people who cannot dedicate a lot of time to the needs of a pet, a canary may be a better choice for them than a cat or a dog.


To share your home with a canary will give you a feeling of peace, a bit of Mother Nature under your roof. The male sings most of the year and is usually silent during the molting season. The female can sing but usually not as often as the male, she cannot produce the vibrant song equivalent to the male. She definitely can be quite pleasing to enjoy. Some females may never sing but will occasionally chirp.


The molt occurs once a year between July and November and lasts between six to eight weeks. Molt means that they systematically loose all their old feathers and grow in new ones. A young canary will not loose their tail and flight feathers during the first year but they may change colors slightly.


Typically canaries do not like to be handled the way a parrot or parakeet does. Canaries can be hand trained just like Tiki, my little Canary bird. Tiki lives with us and our four cats. At times it is obvious that the cats and Canaries are jealous of each other but they know their place. You can have both pets successfully but never take a chance as I am certain without a shadow of a doubt that Mother Nature would take over if we were not present to control a situation.


Tiki is a Spanish Timbrado Canary. Hubby tells me; “Tiki does not know that he is a bird” and he is very spoiled. I am not sure that Tiki even knows that he is spoiled. I do know that he melts my heart everyday.



Tiki begins his molt in this photo.

July 14, 2007