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Meet my Birds...

Russian Singers are song trained, meaning they learn to sing the characteristic Russian canary song by hearing it repetitively. This means that your Russian Singer chick must be exposed to a song-trained Russian Singer male or a CD of the Russian Singer song for it to learn to sing as Russian canaries do. It also means that it is important to obtain your Russian canary from a breeder who specializes in Russian canaries. The Russian song is very unique, and Russian chicks that are raised around other types of canaries will not learn to sing their unique song.  

All male canaries will sing, and every Russian Singer male I sell is a guaranteed singer. How well the bird sings the Russian song will depend on how often it is exposed to the song, other sounds the bird hears, its inherited gift for song, and how old it is.

Song training is not difficult, especially if you already have a male that sings the Russian canary song. Simply expose your youngster to the older male and he will begin to mimic the sounds he hear. Studies show that birds learn songs best when exposed to a live tutor. If you do not have an older male, a song training CD can be used as a substitute. The CD should not be over-played to the bird or it may become like background music. Studies show that birds pick up songs best when they can hear a variety of different males singing a similar song.

If your Russian canary is exposed to other types of canaries at a young age, he may begin to mimic the other birds' songs and stop singing his own. A canary older than six months is less likely to completely stop singing his own song, but he may incorporate notes from the others birds' songs into his. Likewise, the other birds may start to sing fragments of the Russian canary song. Canaries are incredible mimics. My brother-in-law, who was over visiting, looked at me quizzically one day and asked "isn't that the phone ringing?" I laughed. It wasn't the phone, it was one of my canaries who had learned to perfectly mimic the ringing of the phone. People who show song birds often go to great lengths to ensure their birds only hear the song the owner desires the bird to learn. Show birds are often housed in very small cages, fed only a basic seed mix and kept in the dark while being song trained. This is done in an effort to decrease stimuli other than the auditory sounds of the tutor bird or CD. 

Russian canaries may also vary greatly in their ability to learn the Russian song. Just as some children learn to talk quickly and articulate their words better than others, so it is with canaries. A nest of canary siblings can theoretically contain a fantastic mimic, a fair mimic, and a mediocre mimic, just as human brothers and sisters are born with varying talents. All canaries will sing and mimic, but some will have a genetic predisposition to sing more often and mimic the Russian canary song more clearly. That said, through hundreds of years of selective breeding all Russian canaries are genetically predisposed to sing the Russian canary song, and they will sing the song better than any other type of canary you attempt to train to sing the Russian song. Why? Think of it like this...we all know that certain breeds of dogs are used to herd cattle. You could put a poodle in with a bunch of sheep, but the likelihood of it learning to successfully herd those sheep is much less than that of a border collie. This is because all border collies descended from dogs that were originally bred together because they had superior herding instincts. Likewise, all Russian canaries descended from birds that had the superior ability to mimic the notes in the Russian song.

My male canaries usually start singing by six weeks of age. At first they sing a baby song. This is a time when the young birds practice putting different notes together. The baby song is not polished. The birds will begin to develop their notes and consequently a song that flows together fluently as they mature. Some males sing the baby song longer than others, but all canaries normally sing their adult song by their first spring if they were hatched the previous spring or summer. Young males kept together will often crowd around and listen intently as another male sings.

A canary will bless you with a sweet and melodious song that will surely bring joy to your heart. I have often said canaries are the perfect cure for the winter blues. How can you not smile and remember that spring is right around the corner when your happy pet pours forth his exuberant song numerous times each day? Canaries are a joy to hear and a sight to behold. They make wonderful pets.