canaries are selectively bred for song. What this means is that, in the
words of many successful American Singer breeders, “the song is the
thing”. When breeding Singers, the song must be the absolute priority,
followed by conformation. Also included in the equation must be
personality – in order to win at the shows, the birds must be good
performers. They should have outgoing personalities, a steady temperament,
and a desire to please.
Champion birds can
often be differentiated from their good-singing, but less successful,
fellows by this personality alone. One can watch a champion bird literally
“turn on” when placed on the bench before a judge – one American Singer
breeder who transported a show team bred by the legendary breeder Cliff
Williams to several shows once recounted how she had listened to this team
for several days in her home and heard nothing extraordinary at all from
them. In fact, the birds did not even sing very much. When she listened to
these same birds when they came before the judge at a show, however, there
was an amazing transformation in the birds- they stood straighter, looked
the judge in the eye, and began PERFORMING.
I saw this for
myself at the 2006 National Cage Bird Show when I sat in on a class of
birds that the eventual Higgins Trophy winner (presented to the best bird
in each section) was in- that bird sang to me as I carried the class in on
the carrying board and then sang directly to the judge from the
moment the class was sat down on the table until the class was over. He
even sang to the judge as the man stood over the cages judging
conformation and condition! As far as that bird was concerned, there was
only one person in the room that mattered for twenty minutes. Later,
during the Song Canary contest when the best American Singer, Waterslager,
Timbrado, and Roller competed against each other that bird did the same
thing again- looking at the judges the entire time he was before them and
singing his heart out.
factor makes breeding American Singers a challenge unlike that of breeding
other kinds of canaries as success on the bench is not merely a matter of
genetics and training. One can breed birds that possess extraordinary song
and train them well, yet still have birds that lack that “special
something” that sets them above the other 150+ birds that come before the
judge. One will still win on the show bench, but Grand Champions will
elude a breeder until he finds a way to capture that spark.
Many folks make
statements about this or that judge having a preference for a particular
type of song, but when it comes right down to it a superior bird will win
under many DIFFERENT judges from all over the country. A champion will
make a judge take notice of him!
Return to American Singer Song.