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Thread: Normal Behavior?

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg
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    Alison
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    Question Normal Behavior?

    Hello, everyone. I am new to this site and have a question about my Canary, Rembrandt. He is approx. 5 years old and only last month I brought him up to live with me to my new home (a family member had been watching him because I couldn't keep him at my old place). My question is this...is it normal behavior for canaries to quickly hop back and forth repeatedly on the same perch? Is this boredom, exercise, a mating dance? If he's not eating/drinking, he's usually hopping, sometimes wit his body stretched as tall as he can make himself. He does fly around his cage, mostly from perch to perch, and now he's discovered hanging onto the side of the cage and jumping from one foot on top to the other. But my concern is...is the hopping normal? He is a scared bird and doesn't like his cage being opened for anything. He hasn't sung very much in the past two days (the same amount of time his hopping has become more excessive), but once is a while will chirp...not sure if it's really a scream. Prior to the past two days, he sang constantly. Last night he also didn't calm right down when his cage was covered like he normally does. He still went down for food and even jumped down to the bottom corner of his cage (the grill) and curled up in his gravel cup, which he does in fact need for his digestion. After a while and me coaxing him, he finally went back up to his favorite perch and stayed there. That perch is also the only one he's doing this repetitive hopping on. His cage is 26" long, 20" tall and 18" deep, the biggest I could get for him. I can't take him to a vet at the moment and seems fine otherwise. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

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    Re: Normal Behavior?

    Allison. At first I was leaning to a mating dance, then you filled in the rest which is more concerning. What you appear to be describing is behavior of fright or stress. My first guesses for a cause would be you new environment, and/or something triggering a fear response. The strange part is the agitation. Most canaries when fearful of something will hunker down, be very still and be in a hyper state of observation. Since he is acting manic, it could be something in the environment is stressing him, or concerning him. Sometimes it can be a draft, or even an object, or even a bad placement of the cage and what he see's now. (Bad placement for the cage for him, not that you did anything). That is a large cage for a single canary, no worries, that's good. but if he is not used to such space he may be still trying to adjust. The stretching out of his neck or stretching as tall as can make himself, that you stated may be a clue. People who train canary's for shows, especially type canary's who must stand in a show cage at a specific angle and stance, use an old technique for training. They wrap a small training cage with card board, so it covers the cage, all but the top portion. This causes the bird to stand tall and stretch to see over it. Obviously the card board is at a height that matches where a specific type of bird should stand up to, but hopefully you get the point. The training is a simple technique, because the bird will always stretch up to see and observe his surrounding. My point is he is stretching to see something, or try and see something. Depending on the cage placement again, it could be something he is unsure of and it bothers him. Some birds even hate open space behind them, so a sheet or cover pinned to the back of the cage, makes them feel safer, old male problem of never sitting with your back to the door aspect, one feels safer when they know nothing can come up from behind. Anyway, it also could be a noise, or lack of an old noise he was used to before in his old environment. I am guessing, but trying to cover all the basses, but will assure you it is not a health issue. Well, nothing medical, but can become one if the stress is not eased. Stress is the largest killer of birds, well I guess us all, but especially birds. Five years old, is good but also approaching senior status for a canary, but still male and able to breed. I say that because its spring, the lighting is longer and could be brighter where his new home and cage is now. So it could be his hormones have just taken off, he has a new environment he is not yet fully comfortable in. Most of those aspects would bring him to singing his face off, but that may be coming if it is hormones, otherwise my bet would be on environment.

  3. #3
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    Re: Normal Behavior?

    Thank you for your response. I considered all that as well. His environment is very similar to what he had previously - dogs, tv, movement, etc. His light hours and dark hours are the same. There is no draft there to bother him (I've tried the lighter trick and no breeze). There was a cuttlebone/mineral combo there that I moved to see if it was the cause, but he's still doing it. The more I watch, the more it looks like he's trying to touch the top of his cage. The only perch he does this on is a natural fir perch that is the highest point in his cage. He does this regardless of the cover being on or not. He has calmed down slightly with the repetitiveness since yesterday but is still doing it. Perhaps he's just trying to touch the top of the cage or fun?

  4. #4
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    Re: Normal Behavior?

    Could be it. Some do things to simply entertain themselves. Many have tied a piece of string to keep females from plucking their young or see if they are near breeding readiness. Others do it simply because they will entertain themselves for hours. We can only guess this is like splurging and buying a $100 toy for a very young child and they get more enjoyment out of banging a pot or pan.

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