[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
AS his name imports, is a native of the Canary Islands, where, in his wild state, he has a dusky grey plumage, and a much stronger voice than when in a cage. In our northern countries his feathers undergo a great alteration; and the bird becomes entirely white or yellow. This effect of cold, upon animals of all kinds, is general and progressive, according to the distance of the climate from the equator. This bird who, with a sweet voice and agreeable modulations, has often been the agreeable companion and favourite amusement of sedentary ladies, breeds generally twice a year in domesticity; and it happens sometimes that the first brood is not yet fledged, when the female has laid her eggs for the second time. Then the male takes, good-naturedly, the place of the female when she feeds the young ones, and feeds them in his turn, when she sits in the nest. They are very easily tamed, when brought up with attention and kindness; they take their food out of the hand, and often, perching on the shoulder of their mistress, feed out of her mouth. The Canary-Bird is sometimes, and with success, matched with the Linnet or the Gold-Finch; and the produce is a beautiful bird, called Hybrid or Mule-bird, who partaking of the talents and plumage of both, makes a mixed and pleasing character, and a temporary species of itself; for nature’s laws have doomed the Hybrid to sterility, lest a new race, not inserted in the original order of things, should take place by the ingenuity of man. They live twelve or thirteen years in our climate, and sing well to the end of their life.
The method of rearing the young ones of the Canary-Bird, has been often given by authors, who wrote upon this subject, but Buffon is the best ornithologist, to whom we can refer our readers. Suffice to say, that hard-boiled eggs, with a little plain cake, made into a soft paste, has been esteemed the food which agrees best with the young Canaries. When adult, they feed upon rape and hemp-seed, and the seed to which the vulgar have given, from that circumstance, the name of Canary.