by Jane R.
(Santa Ana, CA)
I have had several canaries over the years. They have always seemed to be perfectly happy living in their cage.
As a note, I do have a huge cage filled with perches, toys and vegetables/fruit for them (along with seed and water of course).
My newest canary was displaying signs of stress in its cage. Even though the cage in the store was tiny, and I put him in his new, large cage, he would jump on the side of the cage, back to a perch, on the side of the cage, etc., replaying this behavior over and over. It got annoying to me, and I could see the bird was unhappy.
His cage has two sliding sides at the top, so one day when I had a three day weekend available (so I could be at home all day and observe his behavior), I slid open the top of the cage. He popped up almost immediately and sat on the cage looking around. Then he seemed to spy a good place to fly to and flew over to a window valance nearby.
He flies between his cage and the window valance, where he sits during the day. He comes back to his cage often to get seed, water, a bath, or veggies.
He seems perfectly happy and the hopping on the cage/perch/etc. had stopped.
When I come home for lunch (I work all day and leave him out), he is usually on the valance curtain by the window, just sitting.
If I can, I close the cage during lunch when he comes over to get food. If that doesn't work, I sometimes have to herd him into his cage after work and that isn't always easy, so when I can catch him already in the cage around 1 or 1:30 p.m. and shut the top, I do it.
I have never seen a small bird want that much freedom, but he seems much happier and sings beautifully. He's doing very well and the arrangement works for us both.