July 6, 2010 [LINK / comment]
Like many other bird species, canaries go through a "molting" phase during the mid-summer months, as they shed worn-out feathers and wait for new ones to grow back. They scratch and shake themselves quite often, and they spend a lot of time in the sun, which seems to soothe them. You can tell that Luciano and Lucy just aren't comfortable lately, and they seem to get more irritated with each other as well. We find two or three old feathers every night when we clean their cage, and sometimes more. We provide them with special dietary supplements for canaries during their molting phase, and try to avoid upsetting them unduly. Luciano stopped singing entirely about three weeks ago, and he probably won't start again until mid-August, at least.
Even though they are more subdued and often rather nervous while molting, our canaries remain trusting in us. Lucy is more wary, probably because she remembers the months last year when we had to give her medicine every day, in an attempt to cure her persistent cough. Her breathing has improved in the last few months, but she has lost so many facial feathers that she looks rather homely, like a baby bird. She also has hygiene problems related to her poor respiratory capacity, and needs help in bathing occasionally. I hope those conditions are not permanent. Lucy does not like to be handled, and whenever we pick her up to give her a bath, Luciano flies around us and calls in an alarmed tone, as if he is trying to rescue her. They still have not mated, because Lucy is just not healthy enough to build a nest or lay eggs, but they are sometimes affectionate toward one another. As for Luciano himself, he is the same friendly guy as always, as you can see in this photo which Jacqueline took just yesterday: