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!