|Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr|
These birds are a type of finch that is native to the Canary Islands, after which they are named. The wild canary, which still exists, is brownish green and looks like a sparrow. Captive bred for 500 years, the yellow mutation has long been the most popular. Today, canaries are available in many colors and a range of sizes, shapes, and patterns.
As with any pet, it is best to buy a canary directly from a breeder. For referrals, contact a local bird club, veterinarian, or pet shop that only sells supplies. A good breeder should band their birds in order to identify them and prevent inbreeding. They should also provide you with care instructions and a food sample. It is a good idea to get your own book on canary care for reference.