Budgie parakeets > Canary types

Canary types

The Italians were the first to breed these birds, but they were soon shipped to all European countries, and found special favor in Russia, Germany, Belgium and England. The first mention we have of them in England is in the latter part of the sixteenth century, but in the year 1610 we find them described in a book on natural history.

The rage for breeding these curious golden birds became very popular, and they were hybridized with many other species, and this resulted in a curious intermixture of colors. In Italy they were bred with the citril and serin; in Germany with the linnet, green finch and siskin. These mixtures have changed the original color of the canary as well as the shape of the bird. In an English book published in 1709 there are twenty-eight varieties of canaries mentioned, comprising nearly all off those known at the present time, and some which have become extinct.

The climate has also had something to do with the change of color in these birds. It has been remarked by Adamson that the canary which in its native home at Tenerife is almost brown, becomes yellow and sometimes nearly white after being bred a few years in France, and it has been observed by other naturalists that the covering of animals' winter fur or feathers becomes thicker and lighter in color in proportion to the coldness of the climate which they inhabit.

In England and Germany canary societies have existed for upwards of a century, and annual shows or exhibitions are held, with prizes offered for the best birds. Breeding has also changed the size of canaries. The Germans, who bred exclusively for the song of the bird without regard to color; are found to have the smallest birds, being about five and one-half inches in length. The English breeders select their stock for size and color, and they therefore average much larger than the Germans, the largest variety being the Manchester Coppy, which often measure eight and one-half inches in length, and looks more like a small yellow pigeon.

All bird lovers, however, enjoy letting their canary loose in the room, and we know of one instance where a bird has been given the freedom of the house for several months at a time only returning to its cage when in want of food and water. Birds cannot, of course, be kept successfully in this condition where there are children who are apt to leave the doors open or thoughtlessly injure the bird.

Select a cage which is suitable for your bird and do not disturb it more than you can help for a few days until it is accustomed to its new location. The best trait in the character of the canary is that he will sing no matter where you place him. It is well to remember that canaries are accustomed to the very small cages in which they are usually shipped, and are sometimes frightened when removed to a larger cage, and seem to be afraid to fly down from the higher perches. They also have trouble to find the seed and water, and it is well to be sure that the seed and water are within easy reach and that the bird finds them.

Of the many varieties of canaries undoubtedly the most popular in the United States is the German. These birds may be divided into three classes: The Hartz Mountain, or common German canary; the St. Andreasberg, or trained singers, and the Campanini, or trainers, as they are sometimes called.