Using canary nests for zebra finches

Open canary nest used with zebra finches

Open canary nest used with zebra finches - plastic food container top

I’m experimenting using open canary nests for zebra finches. Necessity was the mother of innovation. The original pair was nesting in a closed wicker nest. I offered the parents and their offspring box style nests, which were rejected. As there’s no practical way to band nestlings in wicker nests and the material is a sanitation disaster, I did not want to provide these.

I decided to try canary nests. Here, the nests are easily inspected. The plastic canary nests can be quickly removed and replaced. Cleaning and sterilizing these is no problem.

I’ve one pair in an open nest. The other nest was modified by a “dome” cut from a large size yogurt container.

The pair of birds in the top image have a chick in the nest now. That’s a brother – sister pair. Perhaps in 5 years or so I’ll have strains of zebra finches comparable to C. C. Little’s mice.



at the
St. Jude Church
1696 Canarsie Rd.
Brooklyn, N.Y., 11236

Entries – 8:00AM to 10:00AM
Judging to begin at 10:30AM

Finch – Mr. Bob Peers (NFSS)
Gloster & Misc. Type – Mr. Winfield Checkley
Border/Fife – Arthur Medeiros

Awards to be as Follows:
Finches & Softbills – Rosettes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place in 10 Sections
Finches & Softbills – Trophies for 1st & 2nd Place in 10 Sections
Mules/Hybrids – Rosettes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place
Mules/Hybrids – Trophies for 1st thru 3rd Place
Canaries – Rosettes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place
Canaries – Trophies for 1st & 2nd Place in 18 Sections
Trophies for Novices will also be awarded

For information call: Nizam Ali: (917) 327-1438
Stan Kulak: 718-967-6899



No eggs were harmed in the production of these finches, . . .

Young Zebra Finches with the father

Here are four young Zebra Finches with their father. The young were raised on a nestling that did not contain eggs or any other animal protein.

. . . except for the ones they hatched from, of course!

Back in the first week of December, I was given 2 pair of Zebra Finches. The original owner was having problems with their home heating and was concerned that the cold could kill the birds. As there quite clearly was an alpha pair, I moved the low couple on the pecking order to another cage. There were eggs in a nest when I got the birds. With all the commotion — and as it was the season for few hours of daylight — I didn’t have much hope for the eggs hatching.

Some weeks later, the parents started to eat a lot more food. This was particularly true for the soft food, that they previously had ignored. Looking in the nest, I saw a number of already fully feathered baby Zebra Finches.

The fresh food is based on bread crumbs mixed with fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, the protein provided by beans, tofu or tempeh. No eggs or any other animal products are used.

It takes a number of generations to show that a diet gives good nutrition. But these four happy and healthy little guys demonstrate that Zebra Finches can raise young on a vegan diet.

Preparing chicken eggs for nestling food is time-consuming. Plus, there are the risks of spoilage and the transmission of disease. If chicken eggs are unnecessary, there’s no reason to rely on them as a protein source.

Andrea Cabibi talks about using artificial insemination for canaries and other birds

Andrea Cabibi

Here’s the audio of the second episode of the Canary and Finch News Podcast.

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BIOGRAPHY of Andrea Cabibi

I have worked with wildlife for over 33 years and been employed within zoological institutions in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. I have specialized in the captive breeding, rehabilitation and release of endangered species and had experience working with over 400 species of birds, animals and reptiles – from Condors and elephants to aardwolves and kiwis. I have worked in diverse environments ranging from building wildlife refuges high in the Canadian Rocky mountains to rehabilitating wildlife in the Florida Everglades and developing captive breeding programs in Great Britain. I have written many captive breeding protocols for a variety of endangered species. I have also been instrumental in developing a humane ‘adverse conditioning’ program for urban wild bear populations to reduce the killing of ‘nuisance bears’ and for developing protocols for the safe rehabilitation of orphaned bear cubs.

I have held management positions in various zoos, and for the past 8 years I have been Animal Care Manager of the bird department at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park where I am responsible for over 1200 birds. I received specialized training in artificial insemination in birds from the National Zoo in Washington, DC and from there I developed the successful artificial insemination program for cranes at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

I also breed and show canaries and have over 170 birds at home. Over the past couple of years I have perfected artificial insemination techniques for the smaller birds in my own bird room at home. From this I then developed the ‘Artificial Insemination Kit for Canary and Finch Breeders’, so that I could share this skill with other canary and finch breeders. These Kits are now selling worldwide. I am also developing techniques for cryopreservation, or freezing, of the small bird sperm so that I can also share those skills with other bird breeders within the next year. My website — — gives more details on the Artificial Insemination Kit.

Taxonyx Reproductive Service Facebook Page

Inheritance in canaries by Davenport

Goldfinch and Goldfinch X Crested Yellow Canary cross offspring

The top bird is the result of a Goldfinch X Crested Yellow Canary cross. The bottom bird is the Goldfinch father.

Inheritance in canaries
by Charles Benedict Davenport

Published 1908
Papers of the Station for Experimental Evolution, no. 10
Publisher Washington, D. C., Carnegie Institution of Washington
Pages 50

Click HERE for to access the book for free download.

Fresh Foods for Canaries article in July 2015 Stafford Canary Club newsletter

Seed eating birds often don’t! For many avian species, this can be
compared to the hardtack survival diet that sailors used on voyages
before the invention of refrigeration. This is easily observed by
anyone who feeds the wild birds all year ‘round. During the harsh
months of winter when nothing else is available, hard-billed birds
seek out dry seed to survive. As soon as spring arrives in full, far
fewer outdoor birds visit the feeder. Once nature’s salad bar of
milky fresh seed, fruits, greens, and insects again is again well
stocked, our feathered neighbors prefer those items.

This article outlines some things that we can use for canaries and
finches to try to replace the fresh foods that birds find in the wild
during the best months of the year. Also, as these dietary items are
sold for human consumption, we can have at least some confidence in the quality. Products sold for animals receive much less scrutiny in terms of inspections. Indeed, some ingredients in feed are actually condemned for people.

. . .

Click HERE to download the the Stafford Canary Club of America July 2015 newsletter as a PDF for the complete article.

Marc Weiss speaks with Canary and Finch News

Marc Weiss with Datnoids

Thinking of feeding tropical fish food to cage birds? Professional aquarist Marc Weiss says think again!

Here’s the audio of the first episode of the Canary and Finch News podcast.

Other topics discussed include exotic fish and birds now feral in Florida and breeding the Green Singing Finch.

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Links for this show:
Discus Study Group Facebook Page

Official National Finch and Softbill Society Group Facebook Group

National Finch and Softbill Society Web Site

Finchaholics Facebook Group

Canary and Finch News Facebook Group

Marc Weiss with cockatoo in Florida

Don’t try this at home — if where you live is anything like Jersey City!

The best methods of raising all varieties of canaries — Color Bred, Type, Song and Position — and finches