Sunday, June 7, 2009

Orange Tinged Guilt




I know that there are a lot of folks out there who are struggling with REAL crises and concerns in their lives, and I feel a teensy bit silly admitting to such a shallow concern, but I have a confession to make. Remember when my two pretty-boy canaries arrived in my life? Thiebault is the orange one and Monet is the bright yellow lemon shaped one. Well, it was suggested to me that I feed the orange canary something called red-factor food. My daughter warned me "Don't do it Mom!"and like any good parent, I ignored her. After all, Momma knows best. Well, this time, maybe not so much. Now Monet looks like he rolled around in a bag of Cheetos. His gorgeous yellow plummage has been replaced by blotchy patches of orange feathers. I feel awful. I almost took the mirror out the cage so he wouldn't see himself and feel embarrassed.

The other thing I didn't realize about canaries is that they get long nails on their tiny little feet that need to be trimmed. Oh, you can get sandpaper covered perches but many books discourage that practice, saying that the sandpaper is hard on their little feet. So of course, I said no to the sandpaper. Well, Monet's and Thiebault's nails are getting REALLY long. They're beginning to remind me of Howard Hughes's nails--you know, like creepy-long.

In order to trim a canary's nails, you must first catch the bird. (Yes, that would indeed be the catch!) Did I mention canaries are not birds that can be trained to sit on your finger or become hand trained? Oh, I guess if you are there when they hatch and they do that imprinting thing and think you are their mommy, well then, MAYBE they'll let you get near them with your big, scary paws, but shy of that, forgeta 'bout it.

I asked at a couple of pet stores how they catch canaries. One used a net. Another guy said he just used his hands to catch them. But he warned me to be really careful not to squeeze them too hard or I could kill them. He also mentioned, almost as an aside, that they are so fragile they can get spooked when you hold them and have something like a stroke or even die. He said every time that happened to him (EVERY TIME???!!!) he'd blow in their faces and it seemed to bring them to. "But don't worry. I'm sure you'll do just fine." My daughter said, "If being in a breeze can kill them then how can blowing in their faces revive them?" Good question. No answer.

So here are the before and after pictures of Thiebault and Monet. For me, looking at Monet now is kinda like seeing one of my kids covered in a weird rash. But can you also see that odd little pink perch? Yeah, well that's the sandpaper perch I broke down and bought. I'm feeling less guilty about roughing up their tender little feet than giving them a heart attack by trying to grab them. Who knew canaries could be such effective agents of guilt?


  1. Just consider it their hippie tie-dye phase! If you go back to feeding them whatever food they used to eat - their feathers will go back to normal um .. eventually, won't they?

  2. I like the idea of the hippie tie-dye look. And, um, the pet stores I've talked to say they really don't know if they'll turn back or not. Oh well. Peace, love and flower-power!

  3. We used to take Talulah (the bird my mom inherited) to Analy Veterinary in Sebastopol. . .I also take Lola there. Maybe they can give you a suggestion. Their number is (707) 823-7614.

  4. I think they are cute still!!!!

    Good luck on the nail trimming. I finally found a cat-specific groomer. Maybe you can find a canary groomer?

  5. Wow oh strange - poor little birdie :) hehe a canary groomer. ;-) Stopping by from SITS.


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