December 31, 2019

December In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

December was warm and sunny outdoors, and also sunny in the bird room.
I actually shipped birds this month!  Amazing!
I usually order bulk seed for the coming breeding season, but found postage costs were rising higher and higher!
I determined not to fall into the old habit of simply ordering smaller bags off Amazon.... and experimented with several new sources with online stores.  Some good, some bad.
Generally, I still recommend Herman Bros. Seed, WingzStore, and MyParrotFood.  All have online stores, plus great personal attention to phone orders.
November was my Canary Fun and Games month, where I host a few games on Facebook.... oh, it was fun!  There were many photos entered in the Photo Contest.... and four winners throughout the month!
I have added several of the winners, plus a new jigsaw puzzle to the Canary Fun and Games page here.
Here is one of the puzzles:
Have fun!

November 30, 2019

November In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

November was a busy month... on the ranch, so the bird room was given a once-a-day service.  Actually, that is a great thing, as I was not tempted to give them luxury care... and as the natural daylength continued to shorten, the room temperature dropped, and their diet remained on a basic seed diet.
I did continue the Ioford/DufoPlus combo in their water weekly.
     Instead of ordering seed and supplies for the next breeding season, I ordered new BIRDS!  :D
    OH, I am excited about next year!
     I had some LOVELY youngsters this year!  BUT, I ended up with more males than hens.  At first, I was planning to simply hold some over until next year when I would have more young hens.  Then I decided to order a few hens!
     I have spent the past two months observing my American Singers and other canaries.... taking notes and comparing hatch records for the past two years. I made plans and set goals.
     THEN I contacted Ed Medrano for new stock. (Listed in the Breeder Referral List on the American Singer Club website.)

     The birds arrived on a very frosty below zero morning, but settled in well. Most of this video is of their 'bath-time' antics.
     I loved the look of Ed's birds so much, I ordered a second box!  :)

November 10, 2019

New Links To Good Canary Information

I keep adding new links to the list of good canary links!
I found several of the older links led to 'Page Not Found' errors. Sorry!
If the website had good information, I am looking for the website on the Internet Archive, and adding the link to the archived pages!  😍  I have MOST of the links updated!

Latest NEW link:
Here is one of my favorites,
the 2013 Gouden Ring Cage Bird Show!
Watch if you are unable to attend
the 2019 National Cage Bird Show in St. Charles, Illinois!
Don't forget these important topics:
List of Links to Pages of Canary Information

October 31, 2019

October In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

There are NEW additions coming... to both this blog, and my bird room!
Oh, it is an exciting time!
PLEASE:  sign up to receive emails of my posts!
You will want to 'watch' and participate in these new things!

First things first:  I did update my Month by Month Care Schedule boxes... and combine them into pdf files that you can print off.
They can be found on the Journal Page!
Remember, I am continually watching my birds, and will update/change my schedule if it is necessary.  
But this is what I did in my bird room the past year.
I made a few changes from last year, but generally June through November remain my 'molting/growing/resting' months.  December through May are my 'conditioning and breeding' months.

 The NOVEMBER Canary Fun and Games will begin on Facebook November 3rd!!!
Join in the fun.  I collect no emails or names.... and the sole purpose is just TO HAVE FUN!
Visit my Facebook page:  Savoy Singers Aviary

I am experimenting with taking photos and videos in my bird room!

Okay, I leave you with all that to think about!
More to come!  :)

October 4, 2019

Archived Canary Classics Site of Interesting Canary Articles

This looks to have been a great list of interesting and informative Canary Articles!
I am happy to say it can be read as a Wayback Machine archive!

Required Reading List for Canary Owners
I have not followed every link on the page, but the ones I did read were available!

September 30, 2019

September In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

This month has been like a VACATION in my bird room!
The birds are happy and healthy.  The young ones are beautiful!  The adults are content and active.
What I'm doing in the bird room:
Although there are less feathers floating around, the birds are still in The Molt, so I feed a seed mix that is a little 'higher than normal' in the amount of oil and protein seeds.  I begin with the Canary Roller Mix by Leach Mills, and add a portion Song Treat by Sleek n Sassy.
The basic mix contains canary seed, rape seed, flax seed with 1/3 part of the Song Treat which contains nyjer and rape seeds, oat groats, several small millets, and hemp.  The final seed mix has quite a few  'oil and protein' seeds.
My canaries LOVE the Ioford/DufoPlus combination 2 days on alternate weeks with Nekton Bio, during the molt. 
I also feed apple slices, grated squash, and alfalfa greens.
(Our alfalfa field in bloom ->>> )

Yup, I've begun deep cleaning the bird room!
We have had many days of rain this past two weeks, so I have set the extra cages outdoors to let Mother Nature do the first cleaning cycle.
My plans!
Oh, I am excited for next year!
This year has been a good one for my birds!
I had mixed results, with many new birds purchased last fall dying!
I also had a few pair of older birds, which produced less than normal during the season.
But, I see so many promising youngsters!  :)
I have an opportunity to take steps ahead! 
More on my 2020 plans next month.

I have a few new things coming next month....
and we will be playing the Canary Games!
Stay in touch... watch my FaceBook page:

August 30, 2019

August In the Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

August is the month for both  DIFFICULT and EASY chores in the bird room!
I am now watching the flights to chose which youngsters I am keeping for myself!  It is EASY to watch the young birds.  It is HARD to set aside those I feel able to part with!
And of course there is the molt... and the extra mess as a result.  Feathers are everywhere!
I am adding comments to my hatch record, and making notes on song traits of the young males.  I am comparing this year's hatches with last year.

This is when GOOD RECORDS prove their worth! 
Record Keeping -- Worth Your Time! (including FORMS)

I am also reading and re-reading some of the best articles and book chapters on genetics.

While I will not enter a show this fall, I also review the 
OMJ/COM Standards of  Coloured Canaries.

I am testing a new molting supplement, but as always, my canaries just LOVE the Ioford/DufoPlus combination!  They just can't wait to take a little 'spit bath' and all come to take a drink as soon as the waterer is put back up on the cage!

July 31, 2019

July In the Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

Last Day of July 2019
I learned SO MUCH this season!
Most of my new diet plan seemed to work as I hoped. I am still making decisions about which parts to keep, and which parts to change.
I will soon be sharing my observations of the new diet plan!

This is the month I begin to place hens in larger flights, and the males in groups of three if they seem to get along well together.
The MOLT is beginning, and I am increasing the amount of soft food and protein.
I am also watching the cages of youngsters.... I am VERY HAPPY with nearly every one!  It will be hard to decide which ones to keep and which ones to sell!
Oh, what a great dilemma to have!

I am also looking over my older birds.... I will be eliminating some of them from my breeding plans, as I make room for the young ones.
I recommend these articles on other websites:

No Guts: No Glory! Taking a Chance Pays Off!

I learned two valuable lessons, and they will make me a better breeder, so I am sharing them with  you.

Lesson # ONE:
Every year has different and various 'out side' factors, besides the breeder's work, that influence the final outcome of a breeding season! 
Some of these influences are easy to see, but others are vague and uncertain.  USUALLY, other breeders in your area, maybe even worldwide, are having the same 'problems' in their bird rooms!  So, remember not to take bird room problems to heart!

An EXAMPLE from this season:
  • Problem:  Lack of Bonding Resulting in Infertile Eggs
    This year, I had an unusually high number of pairs fail to 'bond'.  They just didn't like each other.  They did not fight, but they paid no attention to each other, that I observed while I was in the room.  Normally, I would expect mating to happen when I was not watching.  In the past, I have seen pairs that did not bond at first, become faithful and loyal partners as soon as the chicks hatched and needed feeding.  BUT, this year, they did not produce any fertile eggs.
    Possible Cause:
    In years past, I never used split cages to slowly introduce the pairs.  This year, I purchased several sets of split breeding cages for most of my pairs!
    I should have had more success, not less!
    Other People:
    Several of my breeder-friends reported similar or identical problems, even with experienced two-year old birds!  Also, Red Factor Man uploaded a video in which he stated that what started out as a good season has ended up being a poor one for him.  He then goes on to show several pairs who did not produce fertile eggs, or did not feed!
    He said he had seen videos posted by other breeders with similar problems.
    My Solution:
    I swapped mates, and with time and new partners, they began to hatch youngsters.
Another problem I had was the newly purchased birds not producing, and actually dying!
I bought 12 new birds last fall, and 4 have died!
I have a total of 7 chicks from those 12 new birds!
The story how I got THOSE 7 is my second lesson-learned!
I decided taking a chance, trying unfamiliar things.... might be just what I needed to reach my goals!  I decided to follow my instincts!

So, I interfered! I am a very vocal advocate for a 'hands off' approach to in the bird room during breeding season.  But this spring, I meddled in the birds' lives!  And, WOW, am I glad I did!  (continued-->)

June 28, 2019

June In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

(This journal entry has been added 7/2019. Sorry for the delay, but I am returning to keeping the Bird Room Journal up to date!)  

The weather has taken another turn!  The last three weeks in June have been rainy, cold, and dark.  
The cooler than normal temperatures has helped me in the bird room... by putting less stress on the hens on nests, and the weaned youngsters are very comfortable.  I decided to postpone S76 treatments (to prevent mites that may be a problem during warmer weather) until July.

I am beginning to watch the youngsters.... watching their behavior, and observing their shape/health and color/song.

My advice:  don't wait until later to chose which ones to keep for next year! 
I firmly believe:  early maturity is a trait to SELECT FOR!
As breeders, we have a responsibility to IMPROVE our stock.We should be selecting for correct type, good color, strong health, AND early maturity.

So, don't 'take a vacation' from your bird room this summer!

One of my goals for this year was to do more 'local' harvesting of wild greens.  
Last month, I took these photos while washing and cleaning dandelions. I found a few shortcuts:  
  • It was easier to pull the whole crown, even though I do not feed any part of the root to my canaries.  It just seemed to keep the leaves together, all laying in the same direction.
    (See root in photo below.)
  • Those plants I pulled in our own pastures did not need washing and were much easier to store in the fridge.  If any plants began to wilt, I set the root in water, and the plants revived very quickly.
  • After slicing above the root, I pulled out the bloom stems, while loosely holding the bundle of leaves.  I did not feed the stems or blossom/seed heads.  Remove any black, dried, or damaged leaves.

The dandelions are now beginning to toughen and shrink, at least here in Montana.  The wet, cool weather has prolonged my harvest, but the plants have bloomed, gone to seed, and are feeding their roots rather than producing top growth.
Off to find other wild greens!

May 31, 2019

May In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

(This journal entry has been added 7/2019. Sorry for the delay, but I am returning to keeping the Bird Room Journal up to date!)

2019 has been a strange year, outdoors.  March, April and May have been warmer and much sunnier than normal

In the bird room, progress has been going according to plan! 
  • I have learned a few things about the effects of the changes in my diet plan.  I have been mostly satisfied.
    I am keeping notes, and will post a summary of what parts of my new diet worked/didn't work.  :)
  • The Good News:  Most of my 'most anticipated' pairs produced some very, very nice youngsters.  There were also some unexpected beautiful babies from new pairs. 
  • The Bad News:  Most of the newly purchased birds and several of my oldest pairs did not produce a single chick!  In early April, when these pairs were not beginning to nest, I began putting fertility vitamin supplements in their water, and increasing their protein, in both seed and softfood.  I understand why the old males (8-9 years old) did not produce fertile eggs, but the new young  hens who layed/set and still did not hatch a single egg, are a mystery to me.  Four of 6 birds from one breeder died!  Three of four hens from another breeder sat in an empty nest without building or laying eggs.  But they sure were happy just sitting in the nest for days on end.
Here are the first youngsters,
hatched in April!
I haven't taken photos up close,
but there are many very nice ones! 

My rocking chair is still in the bird room, but the seed tub is all that is sits in it

In my life away from the canaries, the ranch work has been busy.... and keeps getting even more busy!

Here are a few of my other 'animal friends':

April 10, 2019

April In The Bird Room --- Month By Month Journal

Early April 2019
I am exactly one month ahead compared to my previous breeding season in 2017 (no breeding last year).
However, the weather is also advanced:  warmer, and more sunny hours.  In 2017, we saw very cold, dark and stormy months of March and April.
I find it interesting:  my indoor domesticated birds are reacting, at least in a small way, to the conditions outdoors.
Things are going well in the bird room.
Several older birds did not hatch a single egg of their first nest.  I wondered how these 5 to 7 year old birds would perform.  They do show their age, by the way they behave, but are all excited about beginning a second nest, so I will know more in another month.
The younger pairs are doing well.... with nests of 4 and 5!  One hen was nervous, laid only two eggs, but hatched both.

The Good News is:  several of the pairs from which I most wanted offspring, are proving to be good parents!  So, I should have some promising birds this fall to carry out my breeding plans for 2020!

I banded the first nest of 2019!  They are from an agate/agate/carrying opal pair.
My first Columbia Canary Club bands!!!!!!

I set the nest in a small can, to keep it upright and stable.  The little plastic cup contains corn starch, which I use on the foot of any chick that seems too large to slip through the band easily.
The pencil is included to remind everyone:

More bird room photos.... and a closeup of my system of keeping the eggs until they are returned to the incubating hens:

Do you RECYCLE your bird water?

I recycle my bird water!
That is just a fancy way of saying:  I save the dirty water from the canary water tubes to use on my houseplants.
Canary grass growing with an amaryllis bulb.
Note the scrap of newspaper.... it must have been in the canary water!
You see, I BUY filtered water for my canaries.
Our home uses well water and I have read warnings about using a water high in Total Dissolved Solids for poultry.  Canaries drink a surprisingly large amount of water, considering how small they are.
So, I decided to go to the extra expense of buying 'good' water for my birds.  The local grocery has a 'do it yourself' kiosk where I refill 5 gallon jugs.
I don't have to say it:  my whole room full of birds use a LOT of water!!!  It takes 2 1/2 quarts of water to refill all the tube waterers for all the cages... and this is a time of year I only have adult birds!  I shudder to think how much water I will be using mid-summer when the chicks are all grown up!
I recommend emptying and refilling the water containers every day.
But, at the moment, I am skipping a day and refilling approx 3 times a week.  IF you don't dump out 'old' water every day, I recommend cleaning the waterers at least once a week.  In this busy season, I am glad I have a second set of water tubes.... and once or twice a week, I simply put up a clean waterer. 
There are the birds that must wash their food... and their water containers always have bits of dried fruits, pellets, etc.  Other birds keep their water tubes so clean, they would not need changing for several weeks!

However, I still recommend, as time allows, dumping out 'used' water and refilling with fresh water every day.
This leads to the RECYCLING!
I save the 'used' water to water my houseplants.
Since the well water is also not suitable for plants, I either save rainwater or buy water for them!
Saving the bird water for use on the plants gives me twice the use for that expensive bottled water!

April 1, 2019

Canary Photos are Online!


Facebook says they will not allow posts from this site, if I am selling canaries here.

So, I made a new site, just for my canary sales,
and have moved any posts and photos of birds for sale to

THIS SITE ( will be my main blog,
and place to gather GOOD INFORMATION!
I have updates planned to my Savoy Singers Aviary birdroom journal,
the List of Canary Links,
as well as the Canary Games to be played in November!

March 31, 2019

March In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

Late March 2019
Breeding has begun!
The bird room is vibrating with male song and hen twittering.
Bits of string, jute and yarn fly in the air.
A page in my notebook is filled with cage numbers and dates of incubation.

Some things are going according to plan, but there have been a few surprises.
Good News first:  Half of the prospective pairs are getting along well, and have nests built.  The other half are getting along well, happy to be in a cage together.  Most are beginning to tear paper and I am putting more nests into cages every day!
My new system of cage numbering and coding with slips of paper with date of expected hatch is working well.  Making plans ahead has kept things going well on on those mornings I have 20 minutes to check the hens!

Now for the Bad News:
I had three hens show symptoms of egg binding.  One was an old 6 year old hen, and unfortunately, she is gone.  The other two survived with the help of calcium in their water.  One was another older hen, and the third was a new bird purchased last fall.  Everyone else seems fine, but the entire bird room is receiving calcium in the water.
I suspect my limited time in the bird room the past two weeks is to blame.
Our ranch work jumped into Spring overnight, it seemed, and my plans for the bird room became less than the most important.  As a result, I did not feed softfood 3 times a week, as planned.  Once a week was the most I did prepare for the canaries.  I also put the F-vite mineral supplement in for the birds only twice, instead of four weeks.

The Best News of All:  I finished my Canary Diet Research!
I had so much fun!
It was a great way to occupy myself while I was impatiently waiting for breeding season.
I spent my spare time reading and making experiments, instead of hovering over the canaries.
I discovered so many tips and little gems of advice.... and there are many web pages by breeders that deserve reading and re-reading!!!
I kept a few notes, and am sharing the research:
Please begin on Page One!

My Canary DIET RESEARCH --- Finished!

I spent the past three months working on serious research into diets for canaries.
I am sharing my notes, and the most interesting portions of my study, as well as what I learned!
Please begin on Page One!
- Page One - I Began With The Basics
- Page Two -  Information I Found Most Interesting
- Page Three - Experiments and Comparisons (with photos)!
- Page Four - I Decide For and Against Some Popular Foods
- Page Five - Specific Brands of Seed/Supplements,  plus my revised Soft Food Recipe  
I encourage everyone to do a little Canary Diet Research of your own!
I have added the best 'diet references' and web articles to the

March 15, 2019

Nests and Nesting Materials

Why is it, we want to try new things, when the old things are working quite well??? 
I am telling myself it is OKAY; as long as I only try one new thing at a time!
So, I am experimenting with a new liner for my nests, and keeping the same nesting materials.
I have been satisfied with squares of paper towel or coffee filters taped into the nests.
This year I tried something new:  disposable nursing pads. 
They seem to be about the right size and have two adhesive strips to keep them in the plastic nests.
(I did search for the largest size available.)
Left: nursing pad
Right: paper towel, folded four times, taped at edge
I have not yet put a nest with the nursing pad in with a hen, so we will see how well it works.  The one disadvantage I can think of is that I may miss the masking tape on the edge of the nest.  It is so easy to simply tear off the tape with the paper towel:  the nest is clean and ready to use again.

I am also filling baggies with homemade nesting material.... a good job to be done while watching television.  Yes, I did buy several bags of jute material specially made for nesting.
I still sit for hours, to cut and unravel cotton yard!
And if I do brag myself up, I can tear strips of just the right size from a sheet of paper towel!

 I do have a method behind my madness.  Here is WHY:
  • I like to mix materials.
    WHY?  I think it makes them work a bit harder to weave them altogether well, thus giving them an extra day to build before egg-laying begins.  Just seems to work that way.
  • I start out with larger, bulkier pieces, such as the jute strings and the strips of paper towel.  I've seen hens tearing the paper towel strips into smaller pieces.
  • When the hen has built a little base of the jute/towel, sort of a ring in the nest,
    I will give her the various sizes of cotton yarn;  some pieces left whole, others with the strands partially separated.  I also tear apart cosmetic cotton balls.
    WHY?  This is used as a more dense, also smoother, inner layer.  I've seen hens sitting in the nest, and really arranging this final layer with their feet!  It makes a good tight nest, and no eggs are lost among loose materials.
  • I like to portion them out to the hens once or twice a day.
    WHY?  For me, a hen that has a huge pile of materials available, seems to think she has to use it all quickly before some other hen takes it! 
    Giving unlimited material MAY encourage hasty nest building.
    I don't like huge nests, overflowing the nest.
These are just my observations.  I have not proven them... just my thoughts.  I have only used the jute for the past two years, and my hens are not crazy about it.  I have seen great nests built entirely from the paper towel, or newspaper/paper towel combination.... of course with the cotton as a final layer.
Each hen has a preference:  some hens prefer only the cotton yarn.

LEFT:  I also had great success with circles of fleece sewn into a wire nest.
Maybe, with that extra layer, the hen found it easier to get her pieces tucked in?  Maybe, her pieces stayed in place when she added later pieces?

March In The Bird Room --- Month By Month Journal

Mid March 2019
I jumped into March with a four day cleaning marathon!   We are now at mid month, and the first pair laid an egg this morning!  Nests and nesting material are ready, and I have printed my record-keeping forms.  I am taking many photos, so I hope to keep up with my resolve to include interesting photos with every blog post!

Washing up is not my favorite chore in the bird room.  I have found several things that help get it over and done quickly:
  1. Keep at least two sets of water tubes and feed dishes.
    You can swap out dirty ones one day each week, and wash them the next day. 
    I also keep extra sets of perches.  Time-saving!
  2. Do one extra thing after the daily chores are done.
    Don't leave all 'clean up' to do in one day.
    Don't say:  I'll wait and catch up later.
    I have one little maintenance job to do on each of the 5 weekdays.  Weekends are for 'enjoying' the birds with a latte and the rocking chair!
I rearranged the room, and now have cages for 32 pairs.  Whew.....

I am beginning this year's breeding season with the largest number of adult birds, ever!
I am so excited to see if my plans and expectations will be as wonderful as I hope!!!  Even if only some of the pairs produce what I want, it will be a great year!!!  

Here are a few of my 'rules' when arranging cages: (continued...)

March 5, 2019

The FIVE Things That Guide My Bird Room

There are five things that I think are most important in my canary hobby.
I thought it would be fun to share my priorities;  have you thought about your Canary Goals and Priorities?
  • Keep the JOY in my canary-keeping!
  • Healthy Environment for myself and the birds
  • Keeping the Four Seasons in my bird room.
  • Quality Water
  • Proper Diet
First, I need to ENJOY the time spent in the bird room, and cannot rush through the 'chores'!  I am continually tempted to keep too many birds!  The thrill and pride in a 'Collection' are always sitting on my shoulder, telling me just one more pair won't be too many!  I admit I currently have TOO MANY BIRDS!  Extra time spent in the bird room is time taken from my family and other work.
Secondly, old-timers used to talk about Bird-Keeper's Lung, but most of us don't think of ourselves when we are talking about HEALTH.  I buy this or that vitamin supplement.  I make sure my seed is fresh and grind my own soft food mix.  I buy water that is pure.  All those are for the birds.

➽  I also have several air purifiers!  They are for MY HEALTH!  When they are turned on, there is obviously less white 'feather dander' on the windowsills, blinds, floors, and furniture in the bird room.  I am also breathing in less!  I cannot say enough good things about the air purifiers!  I love them.  I fear developing allergies, and being unable to keep canaries;  wouldn't that be terrible?
Right now, I have one purifier in the bird room.
Below is the pre-filter, which I clean every two weeks.  It is completely covered with the white dust.  I had no idea there was so much until I began running air purifiers!

(Increasing the number of baths for the birds will also decrease the amount of dander.)
Other things to do:  a vacuum stirs up less dust into the air than a broom.  An open window introduces fresh air for me as well as the birds.  Wearing gloves while cleaning cages reduces my exposure to disinfectants/cleansers as well as bird waste.

February 27, 2019

February In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

Late February 2019
In the past, February has been a l-o-ong month in the bird room. I was torn between all the social posts of other breeders with photos of their newly hatched young... and my desire to keep my bird room close to the natural spring here in Montana.  My birds were impatient also.

This year, February has been a wonderful and peaceful time!  I have occupied myself with diet and nutrition research.  Several of the changes in my care and the bird room environment have worked well, and the birds are active and happy.
I have taken time to sit in the rocking chair in the bird room and watch the young singers.  There is a young opal male who loves me sitting close to his cage and trills with a low rumble!  Several young American Singer males act so excited as I sit down... and situate themselves on high perches to serenade me!  It has been a very enjoyable month.
Yes, I am nearly ready for an all new breeding season... and yes, the canaries seem ready.  The males have spent the winter months grouped three or so to a cage, and are beginning to spar.  The hens are flying back and forth in the cage... nearly colliding in midair, intent upon the excitement in the air.

I am still convinced my decision to start my breeding season no earlier than March 1st is the right one.  And a few changes I made to the diet and room environment worked as well as I had hoped.

First, the changes I made in the canaries' diet and the bird room environment:
  • Sometime in December, our home furnace began running more often.  This winter, we humans set the desired temperature a few degrees higher.  Since the heating is a whole-house system, with one thermostat located in the dining room, normally the temperature in the bird room will actually RISE in late December and January!
    This year, I closed the heat vent in the bird room... not completely, but nearly closed.
    The temperature dropped this year, instead of increasing.... and it worked very well.
    On the days we had sunshine, the bird room warmed to the upper 60's, with nighttime temps near 60 degrees F.  There were a few times, it dropped to the higher 50's.
  • I was very consistent about keeping the curtain pulled across the doorway to the bird room, so my family's activities in the evenings did not keep the canaries up past their bedtime!  :)
    Also, as the days began to noticeably lengthen sometime around the beginning of the year, I decided to partially close the blinds in the bird room window late each afternoon.  This worked well to quicken the darkening as nights began.  I wasn't home every afternoon, but I did the best I could, and it seemed to keep the canaries from 'thinking Spring' too early.  :)
    I stopped closing the blinds sometime in February.
  • In years past, I have used a 70/30 or 80/20 canary/rape seed mix during the winter.  This year, I increased the oil seeds, using both rape and nyjer seed, which also raised the protein level and lowered the carbohydrate level.  I also added a small portion of a seed mix that contained egg-based pellets.  It was a very small amount, as I stretched out several cases of the seed mix, which I had purchased on sale.  But in a small way, it contributed to a higher protein level of the final mix.
    NOTE:  My seed mix still contains a higher percentage of carbohydrates than the percentage of protein.  I was simply trying to close the gap a little.  (more on this in my Diet and Nutrition Research article, coming soon)
  • I did not feed supplemental soft/egg food, for most of the winter months.  I did feed weekly portions of grated carrots or other veggie.  Usually, I have free time during the winter, and since I have fun mixing various soft foods for the canaries, my usual practice is to increase soft foods in late winter.  I resisted this year, and did not feed any bread/egg food.
  • I took notice of the joy and excitement my canaries have with the Ioford/DufoPlus combination.  This is a simple vitamin/iodine/iron supplement added to their water.  The strength/amount of each 'nutrient' may be lower than the amounts in other products.  And at first glance, there isn't anything special about the specific combination of these nutrients.  But whatever the reason, my birds love it.  In the past, I have added it to their water weekly during the breeding season.  This year, I ordered large bottles before we had freezing temperatures last fall... and have included it in my winter schedule.  They just love it! 
Early in my research, I gained an impression and formed an opinion.... and I had to study it out... to prove it to myself.  😊
So, I postponed my original plans.  ( See modified February Schedule photo above.) 
I did intend to add a fertility vitamin supplement to the males sometime middle February but I did not do so.  Both males and hens received the weekly Ioford/DufoPlus.
I also intended to begin feeding a soft food... high protein/low carb type.. based upon what I learned in my diet research.  However, I wanted to prove it by a little more research.  So, I did not feed any soft food.

Now, to explain WHY I am SO GLAD to have this PEACEFUL MONTH, before breeding season:

January 31, 2019

January In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

Late January 2019 
My intentions are to keep this Month by Month Journal up to date, with two posts each month:  one at the beginning, with my plans, and one at the end to see how well the month went!  (and to include photos with each post!)
Here is a video of a 'singing' American Singer hen.  Yes, I know:  canary hens do not USUALLY sing.  However, I have had several who were such good singers, they fooled visitors in my bird room!  This hen does not have a beautiful song... those little peeps and bubbling notes are her best.
But, she sure seems to be having fun!  And she has hatched chicks the past three years! 
Activity In My Bird Room:
My DIET RESEARCH is nearly done... tomorrow I will be doing the last experiments with commercial soft food mixes.  When the Research is ready, I will publish it here.  I won't be writing out all the technical nutrition information I found, but  have added links to my CANARY SEEDS (LINKS) page, if anyone would like to do research for themselves.
It was so much fun, and I found answers to many questions!  More on this soon!

I 'bit the bullet' and spent the cash to get a full third set of water tubes and a second set of seed dishes.
Many of the older plastic water tubes were cracking, leaking and it was time to get new ones.
Having duplicates of the waterers and seed saucers will save time later this season.

My birds are beginning to awake to the fact it is nearly Spring.  Montana weather outside has been warm and sunny, but the forecast for February is for more normal, colder conditions. I would like the hens to wait until late February, at least, before seriously beginning to nest.  So far so good!

January 15, 2019

Tips on Photographing Your Birds

We all love to share photos of our birds!  And there are many different types of photos:  some people like to catch their birds in their everyday activities, such as flying, eating or nesting.  Sometimes, we want to show off the shape or color of a particularly beautiful bird.

Of course, we want these photos to be perfect!  Considering how active birds are,
our photographs often fall short
of what we had hoped to capture!
I have found good instructions on a few web pages, and
have found a setup that works for me.
There are other good methods, and I am always looking
for ways to improve my canary photos.

Here are a few of my best tips
and I will add links to the informative webpages following the photos.
  • A smartphone WILL take good canary photos, but there are differences between the camera on your phone and a good digital SLR camera.  If you experiment with your smartphone camera, you will find little tricks that give you good photos.
  • Strong lighting and a clear or uncluttered background do make the photos more striking.
  • I have found that a combination of both natural window light, not necessarily direct sunshine, with a small lamp works the best, for me. (Photo #4)
  • Having the camera lens touching, or very close, to the cage wires forces the camera to focus on the birds inside.  My cellphone camera lens has a view that actually fits between the 1/2 inch spacing when I am very close to the cage wires.(Photo #7)
  • If you cannot get very, very near the cage wires, it is better to move back one foot or more.  At that point, both the cage and the birds inside will be in focus. (Photo #5)  If you are close, but not close enough, to the wires, your camera will want to focus on the wires, and not the birds inside. (Photo #6)
  • A single perch at the far end of the cage will encourage the bird to sit in one place.  Even a nervous bird will return to the perch.
Photo #4
Photo #5
Photo #6
Photo #7

Links to good informational webpages below......