There is no specific food that will make songbirds, such as canaries and goldfinches, sing. But there are several factors, including diet, that affect the bird’s ability and willingness to sing and even improve singing performance, such as intensity and frequency. We need first to understand the annual canary cycle.
Canaries go through a yearly three-stage cycle: breeding, molting and resting. They reach their sexual peak as the breeding season begins in March, and males start to sing heartily and intensely to mark and defend their areas and attract females. Breeding is a natural factor that makes canaries sing with such intensity, assuming birds are healthy and well-fed. Poorly fed birds have a less sexual drive and therefore sing less and may not sing at all.
After the breeding season ends, usually, in late July, canaries enter the molting phase, beginning to shed their feathers to reacquire new ones. During molt, songbirds sing lightly and intermittently, and more likely than not, they stop singing at all. Molting drains a bird’s energy, so it is normal if you don’t hear your bird sing during this period. Learn more about canary molt here.
The last phase of the annual cycle is resting. After the bird gets out of its molt, which usually takes about two months, it starts to sing gradually again towards the end of the molt and during the resting phase. Singing intensity increases again as the breeding season approaches. With this yearly cycle in mind, let nature take its course and give each phase its due. Therefore, if you understand the needs of your birds at each stage of the cycle and also understand the following factors that influence your bird to sing, you should expect your bird to sing when it supposed to:
Provide a varied and balanced diet that is not limited to seeds only. Diet includes fresh seed mixture, boiled eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Find out the best fruits and vegetables for your bird here. If you feed well, there is no need to resort to supplements.
Note, chili peppers are full of nutritional benefits for birds, and birds eat and love them. Some owners mistakenly believe that chili peppers make birds sing intensely because of the spicy taste. But birds, unlike mammals, do not feel the hot sensation of spicy foods.
Birds love a clean environment. Who doesn’t? They are neat and tidy creatures. Maintain regular hygiene by cleaning the cage at least once a week. Hygiene includes cleaning the cage floor, feeders, perches, and drinkers. Change the water daily, and provide a bath daily if possible, especially during molt and warm and dry conditions. Hygiene is linked to health as it protects birds from most diseases. Sick birds don’t sing, and poor feeding prolongs their recovery from illness, that’s if they overcome it, to begin with.
First, put the bird in a spacious cage that fits with its size. Second, hang the cage on the wall. The bottom of the cage should be parallel to the top of your head or higher. Third, avoid things that stress your bird, such as holding it by hand, except when necessary. Stress will make your bird hesitate to sing. When a canary stands on one foot during the day, this indicates that it is relaxed and comfortable in its environment and feels safe. However, you should check the bottom of your bird’s feet every now and then as standing on one foot may indicate health alignment known as bumblefoot, which is common in caged birds.
Fourth, make sure your canary gets enough sleep. If you leave your canary to stay awake with you at night, it will nape during the day. Lack of sleep can also lead to health problems. It is always best to let your bird sleep at dusk and wake up at dawn. Follow the 10 pieces of advice for the novice bird keeper and check out the 10 mistakes the novice bird keeps make.
Lastly, humidity and temperatures affect the bird’s ability to sing. If the temperature isn’t comfortable, either too hot or too cold, your bird will not sing. So, during the resting phase, which extends to most of the winter season, it is normal not to hear your canary sing. The bird would rather save energy to keep warm.
Note, you can encourage your bird to sing by playing music. My canary doesn’t like to sing until one of the contestants on the Voice Show starts singing. When noise cause no stress for your bird, it can also trigger your bird to sing.
Tip, If your canary doesn’t sing when it supposed to, read why my canary doesn’t sing? to find out all the possible reasons.
If you take into account all the nutritional, physiological, environmental factors that influence your bird to sing, your bird, in turn, will reward you by singing with the strength, intensity, and frequency that you expect from it. As long as your bird is healthy and well-fed, and feels safe and comfortable in its surrounding, it will sing unless its energy is comprised either by illness, molt, or extreme weather conditions.