A while back (two years ago!) I wrote a blurb about our then-new pet, Pippin, a male canary. We’ve enjoyed Pippin and his singing ever since, but I somehow neglected to mention that we brought home a girlfriend for Pippin a year ago. Pippin was a birthday gift for Yvonne two years ago, then last year’s birthday brought Melody into the family.
Like Pippin, Melody is a color-bred bird, but has a little more yellow than orange, which is Pippin’s primary coloration. Female canaries don’t sing like the males do, it’s more just peeps, chirps and squawks, but Melody has plenty of character all her own. The two of them get along pretty well, but we keep them in separate cages most of the time, mainly because (being a male) Pippin always thinks it’s mating time. If they’re in the same cage, he’ll start in on a song, strutting about with his throat feathers all puffed out and his wings slightly extended. Next thing you know he’s flying all around the cage in hot pursuit of Melody, who is doing her best to keep ahead of him. He usually catches her and pins her to the floor for a little, umm, roughhousing. Melody isn’t very appreciative of those little sessions, and when it’s done will chase him off, wings spread out, beak wide open; “Don’t you mess with me, buddy!” So, yeah; we keep them separated, for Melody’s sake. But nothing seems to faze Pippin; he’s totally twitterpated, and dotes over Melody terribly. He tears up paper from under the cage floor and carries it around, trying to give it to her as a present. He actually shows more interest in the nest and fitting it for eggs than she does.
This spring was a little different though. For the first time since we brought her home, Melody started to show some interest in the nest cup & started filling it with torn up newspaper, yarn, paper toweling, and whatever else she could get up there. It seemed mostly like a game to her as she’d carry something to the cup and goof around trying to put it in. After she’d get a bunch of it in there she’d pull it all out and start again. Either she’s frustrated that she can’t get it just right, or maybe she’s just not very serious after all.
Then on Monday, there was an egg in there! I was a little concerned because there was hardly any nesting material in the cup — the egg was sitting on bare plastic. Yvonne put some extra fluffy stuff in the cage, and Melody managed to pack the cup pretty well, but the egg was still underneath all the stuffing and she wasn’t spending much time on the nest. I pulled the nest out, rearranged some of the stuffing and got the egg on top, but she still wouldn’t spend much time on it. I didn’t have much hope for that egg that day.
But then Tuesday morning brought another egg, as did Wednesday. And Thursday. So now she has four eggs in the nest and is sitting on it pretty steadily. She’ll get up to have a bite to eat and drink, and to have an occasional splash in the water dish, but it’s right back to the nest without any playing. She’s turning out to be a great Mom!
Since all this started, Pippin hasn’t quite been himself; he still dotes over Melody like the lovesick thing he’s been since she came into his life, but he doesn’t sing much. He spends a lot of time flitting around chirping, and is pretty good about feeding Melody so she can stay in the nest longer, which makes me think he knows the score and that he needs to pitch in.
So now it’s a waiting game; keep them fed and see what happens. The incubation period for canaries is about two weeks, so that sets the ETH (Estimated Time of Hatching) at about May 25… Can’t. Wait.