If you want to have a tamed canary that will allow you to handle it, you should start with a very young bird and it is recommended that you keep only one. The proper way to handle a canary is to place your hand gently on its back and wrap your fingers around the bird’s body with your thumb and forefinger circled around the head and neck for support. Be careful not to hold the canary too tightly but maintain a firm enough grip that it won’t be able to get away.
For the best results, start with a canary that is less than 6 months of age. Look for a bird that exhibits an active curiosity – you don’t want to pick a canary that is overly timid or shy because it will take a lot longer to tame and train a shy bird. Once you’ve picked your canary you should start with a daily training routine consisting of two 10- to 15-minute sessions. Make sure to hold these training sessions at the same time each day so your canary gets used to the routine.
Before you even handle your canary for the first time you need to get it used to you. Start by placing your hands in the cage, holding them out flat like a perch. You may even want to place a treat in your hand to encourage your bird to land there. Keep your hand steady and just wait for your canary to come around – do not chase him around the cage. If he doesn’t come to you after 10 or 15 minutes, remove your hands and try again later. As long as you are patient and consistent you will eventually be successful in taming your canary. In terms of training, canaries can be taught to perform simple tricks. Again, it will take a great deal of time and patience to achieve this goal, so be prepared for that before you begin.
If you plan to handle your canary on a regular basis you need to be able to recognize signs of stress in your bird. You should only handle your canary for short periods of time and as soon as he starts to get uncomfortable it is best to put him back in the cage. Signs of stress in canaries may include flattening the feathers against the body, panting with the mouth open, or moving away from you. Canaries generally do not bite but if you continue holding your canary while he is becoming increasingly stressed it could induce this kind of behavior.