Both female and male canary chicks start to learn their father’s song at a very young age. Learning to sing begins with the sensory phase; they tone in, listen, and memorize. In the subsong phase, the male canary chick tries to mimic the song he has memorized by babbling or warbling nonsense, but with practice and persistence, he reaches the last phase, which is song crystallization.
The difference between singing and warbling
First of all, you should make a distinction between singing and warbling. The male canary chick usually starts to warble, which means practicing to sing, at three weeks old. But at this age, it can be subtle (hard to notice or hear). After four weeks, it becomes more noticeable, and after six weeks, it becomes more frequent.
The canary chick continues to learn and practice singing until he masters his song. He usually starts to crystalize it at six months old, but some birds may take longer, and others may take less. At eight months, the male canary usually matures, and with that, he becomes a master of his song.
When he begins his first breeding season in spring and finishes it in mid-summer, he enters into a molt, which means he starts replacing his old feathers with new ones. For more information, read canary molt.
Singing during molt
During molt, the male stops singing but also starts learning and adding new notes. So, you should play canary songs during molt and continue after so he can pick up new notes and singing style. As he approaches the end of his molting period, he will start gradually to sing again.
The singing ability of females
Lastly, I would like to point out that females are capable of warbling and even singing, but they don’t have an incentive to do so. So you might mistake a female with a male. But you can tell the difference by how often the bird sings.
The male always has an incentive to sing; he will sing loudly, frequently, and continuously. The songs of adult females, on the other hand, are soft, simple, and glitchy. An experienced ear can tell the difference. Just don’t be fooled.
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