The canary as a companion has deep roots in the American psyche, perhaps due to its contribution as a noxious gas detector in the coal mines of the 1800s and early 1900s or its use as the model for the feisty yellow cartoon character, Tweety Bird.
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The canary bird was named for its place of origin, the Canary Islands; the islands were named after the dogs kept by the islands’ residents, more specifically after the Latin designation for dog, canis. The original canary was nothing more than a greenish-colored finch, nothing out of the ordinary — except for its song. Europeans fell in love with the canary’s song, and began importing them
But for all its popularity over the centuries, the canary seems to have been pushed aside by the parrot, a relatively new companion animal to the average home.
canary novices will want a canary that sings well, rather than a ravishing beauty with a mediocre song. Finding a good singer is tricky business, and takes skill and experience. The longest and sweetest songs come from the male canary when he has reached maturity at 6 months of age or more. Experts suggest hearing a bird sing before buying it.
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