Sunday, July 5, 2009

Carmen the Canary

Because Toronto city workers are now on strike, there was a scramble to find temporary foster homes for the shelter animals, including the little ones.
We had two birds - an adorable, if slightly unpredictable Quaker Parrot who went to a parrot rescue, and the little canary. I was rather fond of the canary (she's the one in the photo from a few posts back), especially since I was there when she was first brought in as a stray. She'd been found on the street, and brought to the shelter (labelled 'budgie').
Naturally, I offered to foster her.

My friends, who are all musicians, have a habit of naming my animals for me, which is how I ended up with Tchaikovsky the conure, and Johann Richard Strauss Jr the hamster. So, since the canary didn't have a name, I naturally left it up to them. The unanimous vote was for Carmen, after the opera and its titular heroine, especially since canaries are known for singing.

Carmen doesn't really sing, however, which is what's lead us to believe she's a female. She does make a plaintive little bleating noise, but that's it. She's very uncertain about our house, but when we let her out she was thrilled to fly around and explore.

(Not the best photo, as she doesn't stand out against the yellow wall, but she has lovely wings!)

Canaries have been kept as pets for ages. They are some of the oldest pet birds thanks to their singing abilities. In recent history, however, parrots have shoved them out of the way, and canaries are now rather rare. When they are kept, much like finches, they tend to be left in a cage to sing and look pretty.
There isn't a bird in the world who likes to live like that, but people don't want to let an untamed bird out, especially a tiny one like Carmen. My mission during the strike is to get her used to people, and see if she can't be trained to the hand. Hopefully when the strike is over, she'll be well suited to somebody's home!

1 comment:

Jude said...

Yep, obvious that Carmen is a girl. After all, look at the shiny bling she went for in the last photo. I'm trying to work my way through your story of Carmen so I get a sense of who she was.