Domestic canaries are descended from the finches inhabiting the Canary Islands and Madeira.
Over the 500 years spent next to man, the canary's vocal apparatus has changed, that is, her singing differs from the voice of the bird's wild ancestors. This is the only animal that has undergone such changes, becoming a pet.
One of the most popular varieties of canaries, the harz roller, was bred in Germany and has an amazingly melodic singing. Breeding and selling these songbirds, as well as building cages for them, was the most popular part-time job among miners - the main boom in canary breeding occurred in the second half of the 19th century.
The popular legend that miners allegedly took bred canaries underground with them as an indicator of oxygen levels is not true. In reality, songbirds were too expensive for these purposes, and the miners made ordinary wild birds their companions.
At the moment, there are over 120 species of canaries in the world.
Canaries participate in special championships organized by professional associations of bird watchers. The singing of each breed is evaluated by expert judges who are guided by specially developed criteria.
The canary was first brought to Russia from Italy at the end of the 16th century (see interesting facts about Italy).
Canaries are great at memorizing and repeating complex melodies, and also imitate human speech, like parrots (see interesting facts about parrots).
Before the revolution in Russia, there were special canary breeding centers for this species of birds.
Canaries have a positive effect on the human psyche and are able to improve relationships between members of the family in which they live.
Canaries live to be 15 years old and continue to sing until they die.
Canaries were kept in pre-revolutionary houses for the same purpose as miners used them - birds could signal the accumulation of carbon monoxide in the room and a malfunction of the stove damper.
In Russia, before the overthrow of the monarchy, the canary was as indispensable a household item as the icons in the corner. It was believed that they are able to protect the house from evil entities and protect their owners from everyday adversity.
Canaries are not only bright yellow - some species of these birds have white, red or brown plumage.
The canary's hearing is capable of perceiving sounds in the range from 1100 to 10, 000 Hz.
The singing of canaries has a more complex and deeper structure than that of their wild ancestors, but at the same time, Canary finches have about 400 singing elements - thus, their singing is more diverse than that of artificially bred species.
Initially, the Spaniards were monopolists in the canary trade - they kept the habitat of these birds secret and sold only males to other European countries for big money to make it impossible to breed them outside Spain. Then the Italians violated their monopoly (see interesting facts about Spain).
At the beginning of the 20th century, the volume of canary trade in Germany was 600, 000-750, 000 German marks annually, with a poultry price ranging from 15 to 150 marks (see interesting facts about Germany).
If several canaries are kept in the house, their cages are usually placed one on top of the other so that the birds do not see each other - otherwise they get irritated and hardly sing.