Monday, April 16, 2007

Singing like a canary

There are birds that trill around during the day, and I finally figured out what they are.

Canaries. I should have figured.

So, the wild canary is indigenous to the islands in the vicinity: the Azores, Madeira, and you guessed it - the Canary Islands. The birdies are named after the islands, but it turns out the islands are named after dogs. Folks there kept a load of dogs, and the Romans took to calling it canaria - of the dogs.

Lots of people here keep pet canaries out on their terraces. It must be strange, being locked up in a little cage and hearing the wild version of you twittering around. Quite tormenting...


paddy said...

Apparently canaries are very sensitive to carbon monoxide - they keep twittering until such time as they begin to feel poorly and keel over. Lack of twittering = slow and painful death.

Of course these days one uses a neo-liberal politician - much the same effect but far less guano.

Orlaith said...

How on earth do people discover this stuff? Did they bring down a selection of birds and noticed that the canaries always died first; did some overprotective miner take his pet to work one day; just bizarre!

And are you certain the guano is less with the politicians?