My seven-year-old white canary hasn’t sung in over a year. It used to be beautiful. I’ve not made any significant changes to his routine. His diet is the same, a combination of commercial canary bird seed, long seed, egg treats, and fresh greens and fruit. I play two different CDs of canary song, and the most this elicits is a note or two. I hope you can provide me with a few hints to restore his song.
– Kevin, Bethpage, New York
Health is always the first concern, but I am going to assume an avian veterinarian has examined your canary and told you there are no apparent health issues.
My next question is, could your canary be a female? Some females sing when they are young but stop after their first molt. These same hens then sing sporadically after that, but never with the consistency of males.
Next, look at his cage. He should live in a medium-sized cage (not too small, not too big) with plenty of perches to exercise throughout the day. He should be in a quiet location, free of drafts and with lots of natural sunlight, which is essential in keeping these songbirds from getting depressed.
Add a few more vegetables and fruits to your canary’s diet, like raw dandelion greens, raw collard greens, broccoli, apples, bananas, oranges, pears, peaches, and cherries. If he does sing, even just a little, give him some fruit to mark the behavior and reinforce the habit.
Finally, keep your bird’s nails clipped. Sometimes, if the nails get too long and uncomfortable, a canary will stop singing.
Let me know if any of these suggestions helps re-engage your bird in song again.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal