All species of birds, including canaries, often tend to be very sensitive by nature, which can sometimes mean that they are prone to suffering from distress a lot more than other animals.
Like us humans, birds are animals that like rouine and habit, so any changes or disruptions to their environment or day can be very upsetting for them to have to deal with.
A variety of internal and external factors can be stress-inducing for a canary, so it can be hard to pinpoint the cause down to just one thing.
To help give you an idea of some common triggers of stress before we get into the signs, let’s take a look at the following triggers:
- Being left alone: If your canary is often left alone in the house, then this can cause distress and anxiety from being left by themselves.
- Unfamiliar animals: If your canary’s cage is next to a window, then birds or other wild animals that pass the window might cause your budgie to become stressed.
- Changes to light: If a canary’s circadian rhythm becomes disrupted from daylight savings or through a change of environment, this can cause a canary to become very distressed, anxious and upset.
However, unlike a pet dog or even a cat, it can be a little harder to be able to spot the signs of stress in a pet such as a canary.
By properly recognizing signs of distress in your pet canary, you will be in a much better position to help them by doing your best to avoid stress triggers while also making sure that their living environment makes them feel safe and secure.
Canary birds have been known to exhibit signs of stress in different ways, so it can be hard to understand whether or not a canary is stressed, as well as the reason why the stress has been caused.
However, there are a variety of common signs that you can keep an eye out for when trying to detect whether or not your canary is suffering from stress. Let’s take a look at them:
- A loss of appetite: One of the most common signs that a canary is suffering from stress is a loss of appetite. If you’re noticing that your canary is not eating its food as much as it usually would, then this could be a sign that your canary is stressed, although this could be a sign of a different health concern.
- Pick their feathers: If you’re noticing that your canary has started to pick at their feathers (or engage in another kind of self-mutilation) then this is a major cause for concern and indicates that your canary is suffering from distress.
- Violent behavior: Canary birds are known for being sociable birds, and are known for being affectionate to their owners. Therefore, if you’ve noticed that your canary has begun displaying aggressive behavior and it is unlike them, then this is a strong indication that your pet bird is suffering from distress.
- Damage to the cage bars: If your canary is feeling high levels of distress, then it is common for pet birds to scratch or picks the cages of the bar. So, if you’re noticing damage to the cage bars, this could be a sign that your canary is suffering from stress and anxiety.
- Vocal changes: Another surefire sign that your canary is suffering from high levels of stress is a change to their vocalization. So, if you’re noticing that your canary is chirping lower or higher than its natural range, this could be a sign that your canary is distressed and trying to communicate with you.
- Stress bars: Last but not least, one of the most common signs of stress in a canary is stress bars across their feathers. If you’re not already aware, stress bars are essentially little lines that run in a horizontal direction across the top of a canary’s feathers. If you’re struggling to assess whether or not your canary has stress bars on its feathers, try inspecting some of the feathers that have molted off your canary bird.
If you’re suspecting that your canary is suffering from stress and is displaying any of the signs above, then we strongly recommend taking your canary to its vet.
Like we mentioned above, all of the symptoms of stress can also be signs of underlying health issues (such as separation anxiety) so it’s important that you take your canary to a vet as soon as these signs arise.
By taking your canary to a veterinarian, they will be to give you their professional advice on what steps you should take to help the physical and mental wellbeing of your canary bird.
Why do Canaries puff up?
If you own a canary bird, then you may have noticed that they like to puff themselves up throughout the day. Though this might look strange, puffing up is actually a normal function that all canaries display, and there is often no cause for concern.
Puffing up feathers is a way for canaries to conserve their body temperature and stay cozy during the night while they sleep, as well as throughout the colder months when temperatures can drop.
Additionally, another reason why canaries puff up their feathers is due to their fast metabolisms. As their bodies are able to burn up energy quickly throughout the day, it means that canaries can then have a tendency to get cold. This explains why canaries will puff themselves up whenever they need to try and preserve their warmth.
However, if you’re noticing that your canary is staying puffed up for very long periods of time throughout the day, then this could be an indication that your canary is unwell.
If your canary happens to be under the weather, then you should try and keep an eye out for other signs of sickness.
Alongside keeping an eye on how long they are puffing themselves up each day, you should also check their cage for any sneeze discharge, inspect their feathers to see if they’re thin or patchy, and check their eyes to see if there is any redness.
If you’re noticing any of these signs, then we strongly urge you to go and visit the veterinarian, who will be able to properly inspect your canary bird and treat the illness so that your canary is able to return back to full health.
Do canaries like to be held?
Canaries are generally quite sociable birds who enjoy the companionship of other canaries and even their owners.
However, unlike other types of sociable birds (such as budgies) canaries do not often like to be held or touched by humans, although studies have shown that canaries do form bonds with their owners.
Sometimes, if the relationship between a canary and its owner is very strong, a canary may allow its owner to hold them and touch them, although this circumstance is quite rare.
More often than not, canaries won’t allow humans to touch or handle them, even after they have been domesticated.
So much so, that if a canary is held, it can cause them to become very stressed and may appear to pass out, or play dead. However, canaries may enjoy it when their owners are in the same room as them or sitting close to their cage.
It’s also worth noting that canaries are very sensitive and can become stressed very easily, so you should make sure that you are not being overly loud while you are spending time with your canary.
Additionally, you could even choose to play some classical music for your canary while you are sitting in the same room as them because canaries love to sing and emulate musical sounds!