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Budgie parakeets > Cage birds > Canary birds
The canary is the most popular favorite of all the song birds, not only in America, but throughout all civilized countries. This popularity is largely because of its bright and handsome color, its pleasant, fascinating, active ways, its adaptability to cage life, and, above all, its sweet song. It will doubtless always continue to hold first place in the affection of all lovers of birds. It is the most bright, lively and happy little creature imaginable, perfectly contented to make his home in a cage, and all day long produce the delightful music which makes the heart of every hearer lighter, and seems to make the sun shine brighter in the home.
This bird is a native of the Canary Islands, Madeiras, Azores and other small islands near the western coast of Africa. The Canary Islands are in about the same latitude as Florida and have somewhat of a tropical climate, but this is varied by the high mountains. In their native habitat the canary is chiefly found in the mountainous district, his home being several thousand feet above the level of the sea. The wild birds generally mate about the latter part of March, and their nests are usually in the tall trees of the evergreen species, frequently in the tops of these trees, and never less than eight feet from the ground.
Parent canary birds are very affectionate, and both parents assist in feeding the young birds. Their original color is that of gray, merging into green beneath, some having small patches of lighter feathers on various parts of the body. The wild bird is about five inches in length, and in many ways resembles the linnet.
The first we hear of the history of this bird is that a merchant ship trading with the Canary Islands took as a part of her cargo several thousand of these birds, which had been trapped in the Canary Islands, thinking that they could be sold for a good price as song birds to the Europeans. The ship containing these birds was wrecked near the coast of Italy, but by the kindness of some sailor their cage was opened and the birds liberated, and they flew to the nearest land, which happened to be the Island of Elba.
Here they found so propitious a climate that they multiplied rapidly. It was not long, however, until their superior song was recognized, and they were trapped in large numbers and their domestication began. The shipwreck mentioned above occurred early in the sixteenth century.