First published in the American Singers Club newsletter, October 1999.
As your young American Singer Canaries are beginning to sing it is a good time to start analyzing their songs. I make a chart with the top row listing songs traits that I am looking for with the young male's band numbers on the column side (you can also add your older males). The songs traits I lists are Rolls, Water, Hard Water, Bell, Shockel, Flute, Descending notes, Ascending notes, Cardinal, Doodle, Weep-Weep, Other notes. Under each song trait I note things such as high range, very long, too short, tone, etc. I leave it blank if the trait does not exist. I also add a Description column to comment about how the bird puts the song together, its volume, bad notes, showmanship, cutting off, holding etc. A general rule for listening for a good song is to look at each bird as if it is singing a song similar too a well liked song from the radio. It doesn't matter if it is Pop or Classic, it usually has a good beginning, middle and end. As well as a good pattern of notes (catchy tune), a variety of notes, notes that flows logically into the next, and doesn't sound off key.
By making yourself analyze your American Singer's song traits it will help you to be realistic and to understand their good and bad characteristics. After you understand what each bird can do, you can look back at your breeding records and see if the results are what you expected. Did the male's father carry similar song traits? Did the mother's father have similar song traits? If the male was an improvement over his father, you can have a good bet that the mother had some positive influence and that you should note that for next year's breeding season and her daughters are good bets too. Even if the male was not as good as his father you can understand the mother's background better. A female that produced a male with a bad trait does not mean that you should discard her. You can use her with a different male next time with better results. I hope to write an article on this later.
Another advantage of analyzing your birds is that it will help you evaluate your birds better in competition. In away you are training yourself to be a judge. By doing this you are able to listen to other people's birds and understand the good and bad traits. Of course this is based on your opinion of what you want in an American Singer Canary. As we all know each Judge is different on what they view as a top bird. Just as we all have different tastes in music. So understand the song traits you like so you can maintain them or add to them. Don't be swayed too much by the judges because each year a new set of judges appears with different opinions.
Understanding your bird's song is the most important step toward having a good breeding program. You will able to track the dominant and recessive genetic song traits of each bird and make smarter choices to maximize your results. Dominant traits are traits from the father that always show up in his offspring. Recessive traits are traits from the father that sometimes do not show up in his offspring. If the traits vary from bird to bird it probably was caused by several genetic influences. You are the artist and it is up to you to understand the colors (traits) and how they mix to create your ideal American Singer.
Copyright © 1999 Bryan Chin. All rights reserved.
Return to PAS Articles Index