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Death Sentence for your Canary?
October 05, 2006
Holding your canary. Is it a death sentence for your bird?


In today’s issue I’m going to share a question and answer from a Canary Tips! subscriber about holding your canary.

Your canary doesn't like to be held but can being handled actually cause harm to your bird?

Read on to learn more...


Canary Tips!
Your Guide to Canary Care Success.

Thursday Oct 5, 2006

Canary Tips! delivers VALUABLE information about the hobby of keeping
a canary as a pet AND tips for successful canary breeding. Filled with timely tips, it's designed to be your UP-TO-DATE canary care
that helps you provide the BEST living conditions for your flying friend. :-)

PROUDLY and JOYOUSLY presented by Darren P.D. Walker at




"Holding Your Canary. Is it a death sentence for your bird?"

Is Teflon cookware making you and your bird sick?



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Finally, another issue!

I know, I’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I got sidetracked for awhile. But now I’m back at work and the new canary Ebook is almost done. Just a short while and it will be available for download.

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“Aspergillosis: There’s a Fungus Among’Us”.

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Sometimes I get great canary questions via email. Today I’ll answer a question about holding your canary. Your canary doesn’t like to be held and in extreme circumstances it can actually kill him.

Keeping you and your canary safe from toxic fumes. A good reminder from the San Francisco Chronicle.


The RSS feed is up and running. Here is the info again...

Using RSS you can choose to be notified immediately anytime I add a new page or change a page. Complete introduction to using and benefiting from this new and hot way to find the info you want on the net. See it now by going to the Home page...Click here. The RSS button is located on the left hand side of the home page under the site’s Table of Contents (navigation bar). If you’re not familiar with RSS, click the “What’s an RSS feed?” link for a full explanation.

Until next time...Keep Your Canary S-I-N-G-I-N-G!

Your Friend,
Darren P.D. Walker


"Holding Your Canary. Is it a Death Sentence for Your Bird?"

“Hi Darren,

Thank you for this site (, very helpful.

A few hours ago, I took my baby canary (about 1 year) out of its cage for some photos. This lasted less than five minutes.

I held him in my palm trying not to squeeze his chest. Afterwards when I put him back in the cage he was traumatized, gasping for air as if I almost had tried to strangle him.

And he was slow and quiet for a good hour after that.

What did I do wrong? Is he going to be ok? I really had no intention of hurting my bird. I really love that little creature.

Would really appreciate any comment you would have on this.

Seattle, WA

Hi Menna,

Good to hear from you.

Canaries hate to be held. Your canary thought you were going to eat him. He was frightened and went into a mild shock. In other words, “he was scared stiff”.

Some canaries, after being released, will lie on the bottom of their cage for several if they're playing dead. Then they'll hop up and be perfectly normal. But they’re not playing...

Something biological and instinctual kicks in and they become motionless to avoid predation. Kind of like when an Opossum plays dead ("playing ‘possum") or when humans are attacked by a bear. We’re told to curl up in a ball and lie perfectly still (easier said then done I’m sure).

In extreme circumstances, a canary may even have a heart attack or stroke and die. This is not typical though, and usually indicates some kind of pre-existing problem.

Of course, this doesn't mean you should never hold your bird. Occasionally you'll have to hold your canary to...

• check for health problems
• administer medication
• cut nails.

In these cases it's a good idea to make the ordeal as short and sweet as possible...catch your bird as quickly as possible, do what needs to be done, and release him back to his cage immediately.

Some canary owners will hold their canary every day for a few seconds just to get him used to being held. I wouldn’t recommend this...most canaries just never get used to it.

Catching your canary is somewhat of an art in itself. And holding him requires gentle hands and an alert mind. In your next issue I’ll let you know the safest way to catch and hold your canary in a way that is safe for him and easy on you. The article is entitled...


Watch for it.

Until next time, Make your canary S-I-N-G!

In the meantime, don’t forget to get your FREE copy of the new E-report. It’s the perfect introduction to the upcoming--and much larger--Ebook.

Get your copy here.


What's the #1 way to increase canary singing? Use recorded songs!
Use the same tricks that professional canary breeders and exhibitionists use to train their canaries to sing.
For details and to hear a recorded here.



We should pay attention to the canary in the kitchen.

If fumes from nonstick pans kill birds, what are they doing to us?

Beth Greer
San Francisco Chronicle

The next time you find yourself standing in front of your stove, think twice about using that nonstick pan.

In just two or three minutes of preheating, your pan will give off fumes that can make you sick. Each time you use medium to high heat on an empty pan, the surface on Teflon-coated and other nonstick cookware breaks apart and emits a toxic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, according to the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C., organization that investigates issues of environmental health and safety.

Studies have shown that PFOA is present at low levels in 9 out of 10 Americans, and in the blood of most newborns. In one study, of 600 children tested, 96 percent had PFOA in their blood. Animal studies strongly suggest that when enough PFOA builds up in the body, it can cause cancer, liver damage, growth defects and immune-system damage.

For 50 years, DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon, has said that its coatings do not emit hazardous chemicals through normal use. But recent DuPont studies, reported by the Environmental Working Group, show that at high temperatures (more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit) Teflon (and similar nonstick coatings) releases at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants and MFA (monofluoroacetic acid), a chemical lethal to humans at low doses.

At temperatures that DuPont scientists say are reached on stovetop drip pans, nonstick coatings break down to a chemical-warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analogue of the World War II nerve gas phosgene. The environmental group warns that the coatings break down at just 325 degrees Fahrenheit or at a medium flame.

As a result of this new data, the group has petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require that cookware and heated appliances having nonstick coatings carry a warning label. So far, the government has not assessed the safety of nonstick cookware and therefore there are no warning labels.

In the meantime, a number of lawsuits against DuPont are pending. One of the latest suits comes from Miami, where attorneys hope to win compensation for "almost every American that has purchased a pot or pan coated with DuPont's nonstick coating."

DuPont was fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly hiding data for years on the toxicity of PFOA, and also for contaminating the Ohio River drinking-water supply near its West Virginia plant.

Avian veterinarians have known for decades that Teflon off-gases are a leading cause of death among birds, and estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of birds are killed each year.

Like the canaries that were used in the coal mines, birds act as an early warning system for humans. The EPA recommends that bird owners avoid cookware and heated appliances with nonstick coatings completely. Perhaps everyone should be heeding this warning.

While you can choose whether or not to use Teflon pans, there is no way for you to tell if food containers and packaging contains PFOA. In one frightening example, the Food and Drug Administration has looked at microwavable popcorn packaging and found that PFOA is not only present but also that it gets into the oil from the packaging during heating.

You may want to microwave your popcorn in a plain brown bag instead. DuPont also makes a Teflon silicone lubricant aerosol spray used to waterproof, protect and preserve rubber, plastic, vinyl, leather, metal and wood. One can only imagine how those particles are ending up in our lungs.

In January 2006, DuPont agreed to an EPA plan to phase out PFOA by the year 2015.

In the meantime, start thinking about alternatives: Try switching to stainless steel -- most chefs agree that it browns foods better than nonstick surfaces.

Cast iron is another great alternative to nonstick. It is extremely durable and can now be purchased seasoned and ready to use. There are also ceramic titanium and porcelain enameled cast iron. Both of these surfaces are very durable, better at browning foods than nonstick coatings, and are dishwasher safe.

Anodized aluminum is another choice, but some people question its safety, citing evidence in some studies linking aluminum exposure to Alzheimer's disease.

If you're thinking about Calphalon, be aware that the nonstick coating used in Simply Calphalon cookware is not Teflon, but is made by ExxonMobil, and uses the same chemical compound as Teflon.

If you can't bring yourself to toss out every Teflon-coated pan in your kitchen, at least manage your use of it carefully by making sure your kitchen is well ventilated and do the following: Never preheat on high; never leave nonstick pans unattended on an open flame or other heat source; don't use metal utensils; wash by hand using nonabrasive cleaners and sponges (no steel wool); don't stack pans; keep pet birds out of the kitchen.

At first, I must admit, I was resistant to giving up my nonstick omelet pan. Every time I tried making eggs in a stainless steel pan they would stick to the bottom. But I persisted, and after some playing around with the timing of preheating and using of a bit more butter or oil than I was used to, I discovered I could make the perfect omelet.

Also see...
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Written by Darren Walker
(c) copyright 2006

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