The Border Fancy Canary
The Border Fancy Canary is a delightful bird that originated on the English/Scottish border towards the end of the 19th century. It owes its existence to the fanciers who developed and perfected it from the ordinary common Canary.
I believe that most Border fanciers will agree that the present Border is more attractive and striking than its predecessors. A number of small changes have been made over the years, but the ultimate results show the great strides that have been made to produce the modern Border. Size has increased to some extent, but nothing has been lost in the matter of position, type and poise. The only characteristic not improved has been feather quality, as old-time breeders were sticklers for quality of feather.
In assessing the Standard of Excellence, the first two essentials of a Border Canary are type and quality. The general appearance is a of a clean-cut, lightly made, compact, proportional, close-feathered Canary showing no tendency to heaviness, roughness or dullness, but giving the impression of fine quality and symmetry throughout. It should be sprightly, compact and vivacious to give a gay and jaunty appearance with a full poise of the head.
Feather must be close and silky, free from browness, frill and roughness, the head neat and round, with the neck in proportion without being too fine or too thick. The back should be well filled, with a gentle rise over the shoulders. The Border is a medium-sized bird that should not exceed a length of 5 3/4in.
A good Border must look round when viewed from all angles, with no sharp corners. The most important feature is the shoulder, which helps to give the bird an all-round symmetry. The shoulder should taper nicely to the rump, with the curve of the chest tapering to the waist and feather behind the legs to within an inch of the tail.
Rich, soft and pure colour
The eye position and beak should also be considered, while feather quality, health and cleanliness play an important part. The tail should be close-packed and narrow, being nicely rounded and well filled-in at the root. Colour should be rich, soft and pure, and any exhibit showing the effects of colour feeding will be disqualified. Position is very important and a characteristic that must never be overlooked.
Bad points in a Border Canary are a narrow face with an elongated body, wings raised from the body and a waist too thick. Avoid loose feathers at the waist or split feathers on the chest. The shoulders should not be too low on the back. The beak must not be too heavy or show any break in the feathers beside it. The legs must not reveal too much thigh or be scaly, but should push the body up to create a vertical line from the top of the legs to the break in the neck, with an nice forward poise of the head.
A good Border Fancy Canary, combining type and feather quality with a free and easy movement, is a joy to the eye and cannot fail to impress.
Care and consideration
One of the most important considerations for a beginner is to seek advice regarding the acquisition of stock.
Most experienced breeders are genuine and rarely will a newcomer be deceived. It is very important when buying new stock to ensure that the birds are fully fit, for they should be alert and lively, not sitting around listlessly and any bird that does not hold its feathers close to its body should not be considered.
While the show characteristics of various canaries differ widely, their management - apart from such obvious exceptions as colour feeding - is basically similar. To succeed and get the most pleasure out of breeding and exhibiting canaries, fanciers must be dedicated to giving the care that their stock requires.
The dangers of over crowding should always be avoided. The more Borders that are kept, the more time that will have to be spent cleaning out cages, feeding and show training. During the breeding season the demands on a fancier’s time can be heavy, so a set routine is required to suit your own needs and circumstances when organising the management of stock.
This Article was written by Don Harrison and is dedicated to the memory of Jack Hilton