We got talking about canaries the other night, Husband and me.
We have recently found out that Norwich was once the capital of canary breeding in England. Maybe that explains the nickname for the local football team, more than just the colour of their strip.
Husband, however, was telling me that canaries aren’t really yellow after all. I know, I was having visions of several pillars of my childhood and culture disappearing down the pans marked ‘myth’ and ‘lie’ faster than you can say goldfish. Well, don’t worry, canaries are yellow but they’re just not meant to be. Apparently, it’s a genetic mutation that one breeder made rather popular.
So what colour are real canaries then? I want to know.
And where do canaries come from? The Canary Islands?! (I know the canary wine, an old-fashioned brew that I have never met in modern life came from there; they used to pay the poet laureate with it).
I know little about the birds that people keep as pets.
I thought I had canaries, at least, sussed.
And if canaries come from the Canaries then all I could suppose was that budgies come from a car hire place. Husband was not amused.
(I believe budgies are the blue ones with the stripes. I await this theory being destroyed also …)
Apparently, it isn’t that wild canaries (wherever they do hail from) aren’t ever yellow but this colour makes them too vulnerable to predation so they don’t survive.
I discerned a flaw.
What about parrots?
Parrots? Husband wasn’t quite sure what path my brand of logic was leading me down. (I don’t blame him).
Parrots are bright colours. How come they don’t get predated? Or is it just because they live in Brazil where everything is bright coloured?
Sexual selection. Came Husband’s sage reply.
I spent a moment trying to work out what sexual selection had to do with predation rates. I failed.
They’re bright colours to help them attract a mate.
So we’re saying that bright yellow canaries aren’t sexually attractive to other canaries?
I was indignant on behalf of the thousands, if not millions, of yellow canaries that live in this country, if not their natural habitat.
Husband decided that he was rapidly coming to the end of his scientific knowledge about canaries.
Anyway, why do parakeets live in Australia when parrots live in Brazil?
The wordsmith in me has always wanted to know; the words sound related but are they?
And what’s the difference between cockatoos and cockatiels? I know one is white with a fancy hair do but I can never remember which.
Husband retreated inwards to his own musings.
I was left digesting my newly acquired knowledge.
And what about Canary Wharf?
He looked up.
Canary Wharf. You know, Canary Wharf.
It was possible that he did.
Is that where canaries used to be disembarked or something?
Neither of us knew.
Then we hit upon a major discovery:
The Klingon security officer in Star Trek wears a yellow uniform.
Why is this?
Because he’s a Canary Worf.