Andrew home Our Canaries

Archives, 2003
(and before)

Home Birds archives

Egg laying record

DateEggsNotes on mating, etc.
Aug. 17, 20003Goldie (no mate)
~Oct. 1, 20003Goldie (no mate)
~Dec. 1, 20003Goldie (no mate)
~Jan. 30, 20013Goldie; George not "ready"
~Feb. 28, 20014Goldie; mating with George
May 10, 20014Princess; leg injury
June 8, 20012?Princess
July 1, 20013Princess
Oct. 14, 20013Princess
Nov. 17, 20013?Princess; EGG BINDING!
Jan. 27, 20023Princess
Feb. 27, 20024Princess
Mar. 28, 20021Princess
Apr. 28, 20023Princess
May 20, 20023.5Princess; 4th egg lacked shell
June 5, 20024Princess
July 1, 20023Princess
July 26, 20024Princess
Sept. 20, 20021Princess
Sept. 29, 20023Princess
Oct. 24, 20024Princess
~Nov. 28, 20023Princess
Dec. 11, 20023Princess
Jan. 5, 20033Princess
Feb 1, 20033Princess
Mar. 14, 20034Princess
Apr. 14, 20033Princess
May 3, 20034Princess; hasty, less window "flirting"
May 28, 20034Princess
June 20, 20033Princess; quarrelling and "kissing." George sings loud!
July 13, 20034Princess; quarrelling and flirting
Aug. 14, 20033Princess; Tweety moved in.
Oct. 6, 20033Princess; George molting, not singing.
Nov. 4, 20033Princess; Tweety died Nov. 9
Dec. 3, 20033Princess
Dec. 25, 20034Princess; George resumed singing!
Feb. 1, 20043Princess; new nest on spider plant
Feb. 29, 20043Princess; our trip to Peru!
Mar. 23, 20044Princess; George sings loud!
Apr. 16, 20044Princess; George sings loud!
May 8, 20044Princess
May 31, 20044Princess; George sings loud!
June 27, 20044Princess; Adopted baby died. George molting, not singing
Oct. 8, 20043Princess; some molting, some singing
Nov. 25?, 20043*Princess; One egg broke. Hawks! Some singing.
Dec. 30, 20043Princess; George sings some, mischief "exploring."
Feb. 5, 20053Princess; trip to Costa Rica.
Mar. 7, 20054Princess; new nest in spider plant.
~ Apr. 3, 20053Princess; George sings more.
May 14, 20053Princess (hurt leg); new nest on shelf.
June 25, 20053Princess
Mar. 17, 20062.5Princess; 3rd egg lacked shell
Apr. 14, 20062.5Princess; 3rd egg lacked shell
May 13, 20063Princess
June 16, 20063Princess, in 4 days. George sings loudly.
Nov. 26, 20062Princess; one broke. George more subdued.

Total eggs laid: 158½
None of the eggs have hatched. In almost every case, Goldie and Princess laid one egg each on the successive days following the first date listed above. A few times they skipped one or two days. Some of the numbers of eggs are guesstimates; "~" means approximate date.

December, 2003 On a sad note, "Tweety," the female budgerigar (parakeet) died on November 9, after several frustrating trips to the veterinarian in hopes of curing her eye problem. For the last few days she was obviously sick, and we force-fed her pureed vegetable baby food, on recommendation of the doctor. In retrospect, we probably just should have let her go peacefully. The doctor never could determine the origin of the eye problem, as blood tests showed negative for infectious agents, and it may have been a tumor inside the head. George never really did get comfortable with Tweety, who spent most of the time cooped up in her cage. Princess, on the other hand, would often let Tweety get rather close. Sometimes one of them would get startled, and all three birds would fly around their room in a panic. It took Tweety a lot of practice to learn to fly for the first time in her life, and it's too bad that her last two months alive were spent with an awkward neck guard to prevent her from rubbing her bad eye.

(dates uncertain) Just after I posted this page for the first time (Nov. 15, 2001), Princess became lethargic and we feared another mortal infectious illness such as Goldie had suffered. Based on the fact that she had been preparing her nest in recent days, I surmised that she might be having problems laying an egg (a problem known as "egg binding"). Jacqueline and I followed the recommended procedures from our canary book, and succeeded in helping Princess to expel her stuck egg. She obviously felt quite relieved and returned to her normal chipper self, and laid a second egg a couple days later. Unfortunately, neither egg hatched.

To our surprise, in mid-December 2001 she laid ANOTHER egg, but this time that was all. We caught George pecking at it a week or so later, but since all the others had been sterile we didn't get too upset about it and just removed it from the nest. Later we discovered to our dismay that there was embryonic tissue of a baby bird inside that egg!! That is, Princess would have finally become a mother. That tragic episode confirms what several bird experts have said: Male canaries can sometimes be dangerously aggressive around brooding females, and if so should be kept separate.

After we moved to Staunton on New Year's Eve (ugh!), Princess and George pretty much kept to their own room, which has plenty of plant leaves to munch on and plenty of bright daylight that helps to dry their feathers after a nice refreshing bath. They often perch in front of the window and react with loud chirps when crows or flocks of starlings swoop by. On January 6 we had our first big snowfall of the season, about 3 inches or so, which provided a fascinating change of outdoor scenery for them. On January 27 laid the first of three eggs in her first clutch in the cotton nest she built in a spider plant. Based on their amorous activity we observed, we thought they would be fertile, but this turned out not to be the case. Too bad...

After Princess stopped incubating the last clutch in late June, George took it upon himself to incubate the eggs, which seemed like quite bizarre behavior to us. He wasn't quite as docile as Princess is when she sits on the nest (she lets us stroke her back and tail), but I still couldn't believe it! Do you suppose he's really that eager to sire offspring, or was he just "getting in touch with his feminine side"? For the last few days has resumed his loud singing, reassuring us of his hormonal status. George and Princess handled the FOUR (!) overnight visitors in our apartment over the weekend.

In August 2002 Princess suffered a small wound near her left nostril, and it healed within a couple months, thank goodness. In October they had a "visitor" for a few days -- the wounded goldfinch that we rescued and later took to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, which put the poor crippled little bird to sleep.

Princess has kept up her prolific egg-laying, trying again and again and again to reproduce. After patiently incubating them for two and a half weeks, she returns to spending time on the perch in front of the window chirping loudly and flapping her wings, "flirting" with the outside birds. During the winter months there is much more "traffic" in the back yard, as juncos and other winter migrants swarm around the bird feeder out back, so our canaries get constant stimulation from their wild friends. Unfortunately for her, the only close relatives in Virginia are goldfinches, some of which do fly up to their window to take a look every once in a while. I don't know if birds actually feel jealousy, but George does seem to act more irritated toward her when she's like that. After a few days of flirting and quarreling, she and George always manage to patch up their differences and reaffirm their bond by nuzzling beaks. During the intervals between her egg incubating duties, Princess often joins George in flying out to the living room, which is always a delight. It's quite an amusing soap opera...

While Jacqueline and I were away on vacation in Mexico for two weeks in late February and early March 2003, Princess and George were cooped up in their cage, in a relative's house. They never got used to the cramped quarters, however, and often squabbled with each other. Upon returning, we found that George had suffered some kind of injury to his eye, but fortunately it was just a superficial problem that has not affected his vision. We witnessed a truly heart-rending scene when George -- who is usually the dominant one -- made the same kind of submissive "help me!" calls that Princess makes when she is on the nest. This told us that he was in bad shape, so we headed back home to Staunton immediately. He and Princess were obviously quite happy to return home and fly around free once again, though George seemed more awkward as he re-adapted. After a few weeks he was back to full health, thank goodness.