Classification and origin of canaries
Species: S. canaria L.
The canary (Serinus canaria L.), as the name suggests, is originally from the Canary Islands, where there are about 90,000 couples, although in reality the name of the same islands is thought to derive from the Latin term insulae cannariae (dog islands), attributed by the Romans to the large presence of dogs.
From the Canary Islands, after the discovery in 1402 by Jean of Bethencourt, the canaries, given their quick adaptation to life in a cage, were captured and transported en masse to Spanish territory and soon their breeding became a profitable and flourishing industry . The canaries were sold by the Spaniards in gold weight, so much so that only the males were said to be exported and the females unnecessary for reproduction were killed, in order to maintain the status quo.
Legend has it that a Spanish ship, shipwrecked in front of the coast of the island of Elba and therefore of Tuscany, freed both female and male canaries and allowed this to expand on European territory ... but this is a legend ... other rumors tell that the Spaniards themselves gave up females on the occasion of large international agreements, the fact is that in one way or another the Spanish monopoly soon ended and the canary began to be bred throughout Europe.
The breeding of the canary at first was undertaken by the richest and most aristocratic part of society, which boasted of the possession of this lively bird. Soon, however, the possession of canaries expanded to all strata of the population, where both for passion and for sport or research, it brought the breeders to the need to meet and confront, having as an effect the foundation of the first Ornithological Societies, and the organization of the first exhibitions of ornithology.
Yorkshire (photo www.yorkshirecanary.com)
Characteristics of canaries
The canaries usually in nature do not exceed 16 cm in length, despite this some breeds of domestic canaries, thanks to the continuous selections of the breeders, can now reach 20-22 cm. The intense selection made on canaries (but also on very few other domestic birds), however, has not changed the basic lines of the anatomical-morphological structure of these birds.
The canary is a bird that suffers a lot from solitude and, unless the specimen is trained in singing or in isolation due to pathologies found, it is always advisable to keep the specimens in pairs. Obviously if there are more couples it is advisable to follow the advice on breeding, related to the periods of their life (rest-courtship reproduction).
The life of a canary, if in good condition, can be around ten years on average, even if there are cases of canaries, bred in optimal conditions, lived even up to twenty years.
The canary is also a good example of a trainable animal, obviously if grown already at an early age artificially, so that it is not afraid of man, and subjected to continuous training by the breeder. There is no shortage of cases in which canaries have demonstrated the possibility of learning attitudes related to sound or small mnemonic operations, for example related to the search for previously hidden food.
The singing skills of canaries can certainly not be overlooked, canaries are loved everywhere for their melodious singing. The song of the wild canaries and that of the domestic ones does not present real differences; the wild canary has a more melodious song, bright but composed of slightly metallic and high-pitched sounds, the song of some breeds of domestic canary (canaries for singing, Malinois, Harzer), manage instead to create real musical evolutions.
For canaries, as for many other birds, singing is a peculiarity of the male while the female is limited to simple chirps. The breeders have obviously improved the singing characteristics of the specimens not only by selecting but also thanks to training, ensuring an optimal psychophysical state of the animal exposing the attention on a healthy diet rich in vitamins, not even underestimating the same breeding places.