Andrew Clem blog

Clockwise from top left: Kate; Duke as a hatchling; Daisy feeding Duke & Kate; Oliver feeding Pavarotti, Handsome, Precious, and Lucci; and the latter four just after they fledged. Roll mouse over that montage to see the canaries who are no longer with us.

Canary photo montage shadow

Home birds chronology

Year Male(s) Female(s)
2000 Goldie
2001 George Goldie * / Princess
2002 George Princess
2003 George Princess
2004 George Princess, Tweety *
(a Budgie)
2005 George Princess
2006 George Princess
2007 George Princess
2008 George *, Luciano Princess
2009 Luciano Princess, Lucy
2010 Luciano *, Oliver Princess *, Olive *, Lucy *
2011 Oliver, Pavarotti, Handsome, Duke Daisy, Precious, Lucci, Kate

NOTES: * = died during the year.

Underlined = Born (hatched) during the year.

All are/were Canaries, except Tweety, who was a Budgerigar ("parakeet") of unknown gender whom we adopted from relatives, in hopes of restoring its health. It didn't work out.

Brief introductions

Goldie (2000 - 2001)

Adopted in June 2000 after she flew into a relative's apartment, evidently a stray. She had a misshapen beak, as the lower half was twisted and virtually useless for chewing, and did not even have a right foot. Sometimes she would perch tranquilly for an hour or more, and sometimes she would get excited and start flying repeated oval patterns around or living room / dining room. She usually kept close to her box next to the back sliding door, and loved to sit in the sunlight for extended periods, watching all the wild birds who came to our feeder on the back porch. Goldie was remarkably tame, and would eat food out of the palm of my hand. Another time she landed on my arm in order to pluck a few strands of wool from my sweater for use in making her nest. She traveled with us to South Dakota in September-October, 2000. Laid 16 eggs altogether. In early 2001 we bought a male canary to keep her company, and she reacted very enthusiastically to George. Only a couple months later, however, she died on March 15, 2001 (the Ides of March) of an apparent infection.

George (2001 - 2008)

Purchased January 20, 2001 (Inauguration Day) in Stuarts Draft, VA. Named in honor of President George W. Bush, but also partly for the late Beatle George Harrison because of his "mop top" crown. At first he didn't know how to fly, and would flap furiously without gaining much altitude, but after a few days of practice he was fine. He and Goldie would fly around the apartment in contented harmony. After a couple weeks he began doing what male canaries are famous for -- singing his little heart out as a way of asserting his territorial dominance in preparation for the breeding season. But soon Goldie died. George was particularly inquisitive and prone to explore (behind the sofa, etc.), much like the monkey named "Curious George."He was a superb singer, but was more subdued during molting months. Preferring privacy when he was tired, he would often rest in our bedroom, or even the bathroom. On January 9, 2008, to our immense sorrow, he died rather suddenly while I was out of town.

Click here to hear a 16-second audio clip of George singing.

Princess (2001 - 2010)

Purchased April 2001 but suffered a tragic leg injury on the day we bought her, which was aggravated by faulty treatment. She gradually got used to flying, but sometimes had a hard time landing because her right leg was lame for life. She had a calm disposition but was sometimes feisty around George, and often called for him loudly when he was not in the same room. She was a prodigious egg layer, but it was all for nought as her lame leg prevented her from coupling properly, so all the eggs were sterile. She suffered further injuries in mid-2008 and August 2009, and had to have her good (left) lower leg amputated on the latter occasion. As she became more frail and helpless, we had to provide more intensive care for her, letting her sip water drops from our finger tips. Nevertheless, she remained fairly spunky and active until the last couple months. She finally died on April 5, 2010 -- during the night after Easter Sunday.

Click here to hear a 30-second audio clip of Princess.

Luciano (2008 - 2010)

Luciano About two weeks after George died, we were fortunate to find a male canary in a local pet store. He seemed enegetic and healthy, and bore a strong resemblance to George, though without the crown feathers. We kept the new bird semi-isolated in the cage for a few days so that he and Princess could get to know each other. Little by little we opened the cage door so he could step outside when he wanted, but still retreat to safety. As with George and Princess, it took him a while to get the hang of flying, because he had been in a cage his whole life. We waited a while before we finally settled on a name for him: Luciano, out of respect for late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who passed away in 2007. He has a slight physical deformity: no claw on the back toe of his right foot. Fortunately, it doesn't affect his ability to perch.

30-second audio clip of Luciano singing (NOTE: This is a 544K MP3 file, which can be downloaded.)

Lucy (2009 - 2010)

Lucy face As Princess became seriously ill in August 2009, we decided to buy a new female companion for Luciano. Because of her resemblance to Luciano, with a somewhat paler shade of yellow, we decided to name the newest avian arrival in the Clem household "Lucy." As a precaution, we kept Lucy in the cage for the first few days so that all three birds could get familiar with each other before. When we finally let Lucy out she started flying without too much difficulty, to our surprise, but learning to land was a bit of a problem. She has an amazing appetite, and loves to eat apple slices. We soon realized that she had a serious breathing problem, and the treatment prescribed by the veterinarian failed to cure the problem. Unfortunately, Lucy remains in mediocre condtion, but she seems to be getting along as best she can. After Princess died, it was just Luciano and Lucy.

Olive (2010 - 2010)

Because Lucy's health steadily declined in late 2009 and throughout 2010, we bought yet another female companion for Luciano, whom we named "Olive" because of her dark greenish color. We could tell something was wrong, however, and she suddenly died within one month.

Egg laying record

DateEggsNotes on mating, etc.
Aug. 17, 20003Goldie (no mate)
Oct. 20003Goldie (no mate)
Dec. 20003Goldie (no mate)
Jan. 20013Goldie; George not "ready"
Feb. 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; less window flirting
May 28, 20034Princess
June 20, 20033Princess; quarrelling, flirting
July 13, 20034Princess; quarrelling, 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; 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
Oct. 8, 20043Princess; some molting & singing
Nov. 25?, 20043*Princess; One egg broke. Hawks! Singing
Dec. 30, 20043Princess; George sings, "explores"
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 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.