Sunday, April 10, 2005

Zöe -- or is it Joey?

Zöe (II) lives with Arnold in a large cage on the first floor of a stilt house in our living room. Zöe and Arnold, you may remember, are a pair of canaries, introduced to us as a female & male. Arnold, who is a bright yellow color, is physically larger, but he is also older. Zöe II came to replace Zöe I when she escaped while Janet was cleaning their cage. Zöe II was about three months old when she came. She's not so brightly colored, a mixture of browns with hints of yellow. She didn't sign or make many sounds. When we put her in the cage with Arnold, they began fighting almost immediately, flying at each other, chattering and squawking loudly. They'll get used to each other, we thought. It's just being in a new place with a new cage mate, we thought.

Canaries are notoriously difficult to identify, gender-wise, even for experts. Raoul at Pampered Pets told us that the sex of a canary can't be established with certainty until it is seven or eight months old. Until then, you rely on secondary characteristics -- size, coloring, singing -- rather than on anatomical features.

Now we're pretty sure that Zöe is actually a boy canary, so we've taken to calling him Joey instead. We leave him in the cage with Arnold. They fight less often, and both of them sing (like canaries), though Joey has the more interesting songs.

Meanwhile, Sunshine and Sofia, our handicapped couple live quietly in the second level cage, upstairs from the bachelors pad that belongs to the guys. We don't get much music from them, but they are content.

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