The canary is a small songbird that belongs to the finch family. Domesticated for the first time in the 1600's, this cute little songbird was extremely expensive and became popular as breeding pets in the kings courts of Spain and Europe.
Canaries were also used, from the 18-20th centuries, in the coal mining industry. By taking a canary down into the mines with them, the miners could avoid areas which were filled with carbon monoxide. The canary, being very small, would fall unconscious first and allow the miners time to get out of that area of the mine.
Canaries have been selectively bred in todays world to produce a vast array of different colours and also bred for their unique song patterns. One of the most well known canaries is from a famous cartoon. Tweety, the canary, being harassed by Sylvester the cat.
These adorable singers are frequently kept as cage or aviary birds and if proper care is taken in the housing and feeding of your canary, they can live for 10-15 years and entertain you with their unique songs.