Bird clubs and associations regularly sponsor shows in which parrots, finches and others can compete for prizes based on appearance, color and even “breed standards”. Less common, but very popular among canary enthusiasts, are singing competitions. But just how does one judge something as “natural” as a bird’s song? Today we’ll look at the surprising array of criteria used to rate the songs of the ever-popular American Singer Canary. If you are looking to add a new aspect to your hobby, singing competitions might be the way to go (your own efforts will not be appreciated, so please leave the singing to your Canary!).
American Singer History
The breed known as the American Singer Canary was developed in the 1930’s. Canary enthusiasts seeking a good songster with a calm personality searched for breeds that might be crossed to produce a bird with both qualities. The German Roller was chosen for its singing abilities while the Border Canary was selected due to its good nature and suitability as a pet. Cross-breeding Rollers with Borders produced the American Singer Canary, which has become one of the most popular of all breeds.
Older breeds noted for their songs, including Timbrados, Rollers and Waterslagers, are judged according to strict standards (specific notes must be produced, etc.). However, American Singer Canaries are noted for producing unique songs – variety and “freedom” are valued above all else. Judges apply set criteria, but not in the same manner as with other breeds.
Judging Song Quality
American Singer Canaries are judged on a 100 point basis, with 70 points being allotted to the actual song, and 30 applied towards the bird’s appearance and condition. Talent is definitely valued over “surface beauty”!
Canary songs are evaluated over a 20 minute period, which is divided into two 10 minute segments. In the first, or “Freedom” segment, the Canary is awarded 1 point (to a maximum of 10) for each complete song produced. Song quality is not considered, although I imagine an impression is being formed in the judges’ minds at this time.
In the second 10 minute period, known as the “Rendition” segment, the judge evaluates the songs based on specific but somewhat subjective criteria. Sixty points are at stake. The following factors are considered:
Variety – how the various tunes and notes are spread about
Tone – pitch, strength; how the song “sounds” to the ear
Melodiousness – how the various notes and song bits flow into one another
Showmanship – how the bird “conducts himself” during the song; an upright posture and a bold, “proud” demeanor is valued
Evaluating Physical Appearance
The 20 minute song evaluation accounts for 70 points. The remaining 30 possible points are awarded based upon physical attributes. “Condition” (10 points) refers to the canary’s grooming (nail length, feather condition), activity level or vigor and overall health. The cleanliness and set-up of the cage (there are specific rules as to perch placement, etc.) are also considered.
The “Conformation” evaluation (20 points) accesses how well the Canary meets the physical standards that have been established for plumage, size, body and head shape and other such characteristics; color is not considered.
The Ideal Canary
If you enjoy Canary songs, I suggest that you stop in at a competition and perhaps consider becoming involved. Due to the flexible standards that have been established, it is easiest to begin competing American Singers. As a bonus, American Singer Canaries are available in a wide variety of colors and make very trusting pets…and even the “least gifted” usually sing beautifully!
Video: Song of an American Singer Canary
Canary image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by 4028mdk09
Canary in a cage image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Freegiampi