Off the Morocco coastline in Spain, there is a cluster of the landmass known as the Canary Islands. These are the native homes of the canary birds, together with other adjacent islands like the Azores and Madeira. Canary birds got the name from one of the big islands known as Gran Canaria.
This is a Spanish word meaning, “the Island of dogs“. Way back when the first Europeans visited the island, they found a multitude of big-sized dogs. For centuries, flocks of canary birds live throughout the islands apart from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
What do Wild Canary Birds Eat?
In their natural habitat, wild canaries consume different types available in the islands. Different seasons expose the birds to the diversification of seeds. During the low seed seasons, the bird substitutes with berries, insects, fruits and other vegetations.
Healthy food suitable for wild canaries include bananas, pears, papaya, berries, grapes, apples, mangoes, spinach, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower amongst others. If you opt to keep a wild canary as a pet, selected animal shops stock healthy formulated food alternatives. It is wise to give supplements on a regular basis.
Although experts recommend fruit portions, give them as treats sliced in tiny pieces. Then add fish in the diet to increase calcium in the body. Avoid grit to ease the digestion process.
Other food you should keep off includes avocado, lettuce, lemons, potatoes or other food meant for human consumption. Do not forget to give them egg food occasionally. This helps the birds to maintain a natural color and also ideal for pregnant and breeding canaries.
When were Canneries First Domesticated?
The first lot of domesticated canneries came to Europe in the 17th century. Brought by the Spanish sailors, they became popular with English and Spanish Kings.
As the demand grew, monks bred them, especially the male bird because of its prowess in singing. This kept them in short supply and escalated the prices.
Later, the Italians balanced the equation by breeding more hens, resulting in canary birds flown to all corners of Europe. Similarly, the upsurge of canary bird breeding happened in England as well. First, the trend started with wealthy families and eventually circulated to the local citizens.
Around 18th and 20th century, the US, UK and Canada governments used canaries to detect carbon dioxide in the coal mining industry. This practice continued till 1986 in the UK.
Can Pet Canary Live Outside?
Canary’s birds enjoy spending plenty of time outdoors in summer. During the hot months, they can tolerate up to 100 degrees of heat. To avoid dehydration, place the cage under a shade and access to cooling water. If heat escalates, dip pieces of ice in the bathing water.
Most canary breeders keep their pet enclosures out of the house during the mild temperature seasons. When winter beckons, they place the cages back in the house. If kept indoors, it is advisable to allow the birds to exercise on a daily basis.
You can either allow them to fly outdoors (if they know their way back) or inside the house. Always keep the doors and windows closed during the session.
How Many Canaries are on Canary Islands?
Also recognized as the Atlantic canary, common canary and island canary, wild canaries flock in hundreds of thousands around the islands. Close to 200,000 canary species live in Azores and Madeira. Others escaped from captivity in Midway Atoll and joined the flocks in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
Usually, wild species grow to the dimension of a parrot. There are not as multicolored as the caged companions, but they are still a sight to behold.
Hens are mostly grey with a fleck of yellow color around the belly and head. Cocks have a dazzling yellow forehead with green-yellow breast area. Likewise, the lower belly has brownish and white streaks.
Compared to the home-based pet birds, they are hardier and more aggressive. Sometimes, you may notice hundreds of them flying over Gran Canaria, pine forest and the grasslands.
Males perch on the highest tips of the trees and sing throughout the year. The vocals, lasting over 25 seconds, increase from January to the end of June.
How Long Do Wild Canaries Live?
On average, a healthy canary bird can live close to 15 years. Those in the wild can live much longer if they get a reliable supply of food and stay away from predators. Canaries have plenty of predators in the wild compared to the caged ones.
Common ones are snakes and bigger birds, like crows and falcons. At home, wild canaries have minimal predator challenges if the owner keeps them in a safe cage. Still, some cats and dogs pose a risk to the tiny bird.
Domesticated canary birds easily die from cleaning detergent fumes and the smell produced by overheated non-stick cookware. For that reason, ventilate the house well or instantly remove the birds outdoors after exposure. What’s more, avoid scaring them as they can easily die due to fright.
Can You Keep a Wild Canary as Pet?
With their eye-catching appeal and friendly nature, wild canaries are easy to keep at home. Since they love the company of their own, you can keep them in pair or small groups.
These happy tiny singers are some of the least complicated pets to keep. Their tiny structure allows them to fit comfortably in almost any caregiver’s home.
Rarely do female canary birds sing. Instead, they master a peep-peep sound while the males remain the experts of the game. Most pet lovers keep the male because of their melodious voices.
To prevent boredom and loneliness, provide them with plenty of toys and mirrors to play with.
Wild canaries spend most of the time foraging for food, crafting nests, preening, defending their homes and so forth. After domestication, they mimic their natural behaviors by playing and flying around the cage.
It is necessary to keep them in an almost replica of their natural environment. Allow them to bond and play with others in and out of the cage. If possible, provide them with clean and safe toys to use.