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Yellow on Red: Wild Canaries & a Powderfuff

Nature does not hurry
Yet everything is accomplished. —Lao Tzu

The Wild canary (Serinus Canaria) — Canary, Common Canary, or Atlantic Canary — is native to the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira. These wild birds are mostly yellow-green, with brownish streaking on the back — similar to a sparrow in size and markings. It belongs to the finch family.

The bird is named after the Canary Islands, derived from the Latin Canariae Insulae, meaning “Islands of Dogs.” They were so named by the Romans, in honor of the islands’ native inhabitants breeding large dogs. So the word “Canary,” derived from the Latin Canis, means “dog.” The Spanish conquered the islands in the late 1400s, and returned to Europe with the yellow songbirds. From there, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, and later the U.S. bred their own versions of these colorful little birds, primarily for their sweet song. Germany became the center for breeding canaries, and for training them to sing. They were so widely bred, that by the beginning of the 18th century, 29 distinct varieties were already in existence. Today, the species is common in captivity, with myriad color variations — and breeders striving for more color, song, and physical diversity. But taking a peek at the original Wild canary, it’s difficult to find similarities to the bright yellow counterparts you may encounter today. Personally, I find them that much lovelier.

During mining’s heyday, canaries were taken deep into coal mines to detect gases; being sensitive, they would soon die if gases were present. On that note, I give you The Police’s Canary in a Coal-Mine, a great ditty that’s been in my head for days, understandably….

This golden beauty was twittering about the lush and fairy-like Butterfly World’s Jewels of the Sky Aviary, the largest free-flight hummingbird aviary in the United States. He finally settling on a Red Powderpuff plant (Calliandra haematocephala). Red Powderpuffs are subtropical shrubs/trees that are easy to grow (and not just in Florida, but they do grow LARGE here), and even better… They’re attractive to bees and butterflies — and obviously birds!

May your weekend be as golden and bright as this lovely little songbird!

Wild Canary Enjoying a Red Powderpuff Plant

Wild Canary Enjoying a Red Powderpuff Plant

Wild Canary Enjoying a Red Powderpuff Plant

Wild Canary Enjoying a Red Powderpuff Plant

Wild Canary Enjoying a Red Powderpuff Plant

Wild Canary Enjoying a Red Powderpuff Plant

23 Comments Post a comment
  1. lovely photos

    June 29, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I had a great subject. 🙂

      June 29, 2012
  2. These are lovely pictures really….I love the yellow color against the green/blue leaves and background..and the red fluff too!! Really, really nice!!

    June 29, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I was so thrilled to find him consumed with picking out the powderpuff berries (I had no idea they were under all that fluff!), that I jumped on the opportunity for the photo opp… Much to the chagrin of my companion, hah!!

      June 29, 2012
  3. Really great photos! 🙂

    June 29, 2012
    • Thanks so much — I had a very lovely, and preoccupied model! 🙂

      June 29, 2012
  4. A real pleasure. Thank you for sharing this beautiful bird. I’m in love… (and your photos… not bad, woman)

    June 29, 2012
    • I’m glad you enjoyed him as much as I did — thanks so much, heh! I was very lucky to have him preoccupied — key to nabbing decent non-flight birdie photos! 🙂

      June 29, 2012
  5. Beautiful Photos – thanks for sharing the Beauty:) Have a Great Weekend!

    June 29, 2012
    • Thanks so much — I was really lucky to have stumbled upon such a lovely, and distracted, little songbird in the aviary! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!!

      June 30, 2012
  6. This is a really beautiful set. 🙂

    June 30, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I had a lovely and preoccupied model… ♥

      June 30, 2012
  7. Very beautiful photos of this bird.

    July 1, 2012
    • Thanks so very much! I was lucky to have a lovely — and preoccupied — model.

      July 2, 2012
  8. What a wonderful series of photos!

    July 2, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I can’t believe I had never seen a *wild* canary… But I was very lucky to have caught him preoccupied with the powderfpuff. 🙂

      July 2, 2012
  9. Hey Fey! I was not aware of the canary’s history, apart from the mine thing, Certainly didn’t know how they found their way around the world as pets or that they still existed in the wild. Wonderful post and photographs (as always!)

    July 2, 2012
    • Ditto… I had never seen a *wild* canary, but WOW are they beautiful little things! Their history is truly fascinating — from the islands to Europe, to the States. And I didn’t even delve deeply into Germany’s devotion to them (as a breeding center), dating to early medieval times. I’m glad you enjoyed as much as I researched! 🙂

      July 2, 2012
  10. Amazed I didn’t comment on this post. The canary photos are amazing ! What wonderful captures.

    July 11, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I was very lucky to catch these guys on a quiet day at this most amazing aviary… And they were unperturbed, being so distracted!

      July 12, 2012
  11. Val #

    I love these, particularly the third from the top and the bottom one. When I was a child I had two canaries, the second of which was very like the one in your photos. I could not longer keep a caged bird, not having lived for five years now with wild birds that have accepted me as ‘family’. I love them to be free, to soar. They can’t do that in a cage.

    July 13, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I had never seen *wild* canaries before, and I thought they were so beautiful… I agree with you; I’ve never had a caged bird, but I could NEVER have one. It saddens me to no end to see them — especially the more intelligent species in the small cages, rarely taken out. Just horrible.

      “How can the bird that is born for joy sit in a cage and sing?” – William Blake

      July 14, 2012
  12. OMG!
    They are all so beautiful.
    When they leave us every year to go back up North, I cry~

    September 26, 2014

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