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canario timbrado



By Miguel Angel Martin Espada (C.N.J. and F.O.C.D.E. Judge)

Before beginning, I believe I need to clarify that I don┤t try to say a tedious skillful class. I am going to expose an assembly of ideas as valid as any other, its great or small success you actually will be able to verify with your own practice; although, also, I want to clarify that they are fruit of the work as a team that we carried out the breeders that conform the Timbrado Club City of Zaragoza, since our main objective, far from those to gain prizes or to sell canaries, is to contribute, in the measurement of our modest possibilities, to the improvement of the race and the technical and practical formation of the timbradistas.

Also I want to beforehand request excuses to which educate your canaries with adult teachers, since what here will be said, more likely, is not going to serve to you as much aid; since these conclusions have been obtained by breeders that did not only practice education with teachers but, also, consider it totally counter-productive for the genetic improvement of the race. What we try, above everything, is to improve the genetic pool of our canaries so that, without the reference of patterns determined by the song of adult canaries (masters, voluntary or involuntary), we try to obtain birds that are able to emit songs that satisfy us. So our particular musical tastes will determine the objectives to fulfill (the type of song that we want that our canaries emit) and the necessary methods of selection for its accomplishment.

It is well known that in the song of the birds come together innate and acquired elements, complementing each other, although the proportion will depend on each species, being cases on which the song will be based on the innate pattern and cases on which it will be based mainly on acquired elements or learning from adult birds. In the case of the canary in general and , specifically, Timbrado, we can say that, still although its song can have an innate part and other acquired , the incredible innate capacity that it has for song, unlike other species, means that is not precise the education with adults to obtain a rich and varied song. The breeders that use teachers, when selecting the birds that have better assimilated the lesson, develop the capacity of learning and imitation or copy of their canaries. On the contrary, what we try is the development of the innate part of the song, through the selection of those canaries that demonstrate greater song aptitudes without listening adults, which, personally, I think contributes in greater measurement to the evolution and genetic improvement of the race. I prefer a non taught bird able to sing a very complex and musical repertoire although little varied that another one with more varied repertoire but educated with teachers; in the first case I at least have a reference of the type of song that can be inherited by its offspring, whereas in the second case I only know that I have a good apprentice, whose offspring can inherit the faculty of the father to copy, in a more or less correct way, the song of the teacher. But, in the second case what happens if we do not have a suitable teacher? What can we expect of the innate pattern of song birds selected, generation after generation, on the basis of its copy capacity? Everyone can reach their own conclusions, but I call your attention on what happens with Waterslagers, since, for these birds, unlike Rollers or Timbrados, it is very difficult to obtain without teachers the repertoire necessary to have, at least, possibilities of success in the Show Cages competitions.

Arrived at this point, we must already make reference to the two fundamental premises on which we are based in this difficult task of obtaining good singers:

1║) Our objective is the attainment of canaries that, within the parameters marked by the standard of the race and by means of a good and melodic voice, are able to detach, with good diction and ample pitch registry and through the total mastery of their vocal faculties , a series of tours as rich and varied as possible, considering their organic and physiological limitations, and always prevailing the quality to the quantity of notes

2║) What the canary inherits is the innate predisposition to make an indetermine series, but determinable, of tours, that will be shaped in a melody through a period of subsong. The quality of the final song will be marked by the morphology, more or less suitable, of the bird and by the factors that have affected him during the maturation process.

Considering this, each breeder must define his concrete objectives and the best methods to achieve them. As a example, considering the generic objective set in the first premise, we will be able to choose, according to our musical tastes and within the possibilities that the standard allows us: _ birds of complete song, in the sense that they emit as many as possible of the tours contained in the judgment form (in this sense we shouldn┤t confuse complete song with varied song) _ birds in which song are prioritized, quantitatively and qualitatively, the tours of noncontinuous rate and, therefore, that concentrate their repertoire in the squares of greater musical value and score of the list.

Considering the list of judgment for Spanish Timbrado and that the maximum score is 100 points, we can imagine which could be the ideal canary for three different breeders: A, B and C. Let supose that A, Madrilenian, would like to have birds with complete song; C, from Zaragoza, would like a song based on the tours of noncontinuous rate and B, Andalusian, likes a type of intermediate song but with predominance of the tours of noncontinuous rate:

Judgement Table




Timbres ....................................(9)




Rolled variations........................(18)




Water like timbre........................(9)




Jingle bell .................................(9)




Flourishes ................................(27)




Slow flourishes .........................(27)




Bell ..........................................(9)




Clucks .....................................(18)




Castanet ...................................(9)




Cojoint variations ......................(27)




Slow water ...............................(18)




Semibound water .......................(9)




Impression ................................(3)








A, B and C aim the attainment of a type of Spanish Timbrado agreed with their personal preferences and with the standard of the race; in spite of the remarkable differences that we found in their ideal forms, the three visions of the race are equally valid. The vision of B prevails, at the moment, among FOCDE┤s Timbrado breeders and., so, it is the type of canary most frequent in the contest, although I have to recognize that the C.T.C.Z. breeders identify ourselves mainly with C.

On the other hand, the visions of B and C are, in certain way and as it is actually proved in our birdrooms, compatible; since B, selecting for the improvement of the tours of noncontinuous rate, can obtain birds of the taste of C and, this last one, at the moment that some of his canaries emit notes of continuous rate, will have Timbrados that approach the tastes of B. In summary and independently of each ideal form, both B as C, to fulfill their objectives, will select their canaries on the base of the qualitative and quantitative improvement of the tours of noncontinuous rate. Different thing happens with A, since the experience demonstrates that, without education with teachers, in a innate way a canary hardly reaches to emit all the repertoire contained in the standard (pattern of artificial song devised by the man), at least in a moderately correct form. This is because of the mutual incompatibility, empirically comprobable listening to the songs of our canaries, between the mastery in the continuous and discontinuous rate tours . We can compare the presence of the different transmission rates in the song of our canaries with a balance, in which, being the pivot the tours of semicontinuous rate, the tours of continuous rate are in a scale pan and those of discontinuous rate in the other.

This means that if the balance inclines to the side of the tours of continuous rate the weight in the song of those of discontinuous rate diminishes and vice versa.

The balance is very difficult to obtain, even if we educate our canaries with teachers. If to this we add the exigency for the canary to emit in its song representative tours of all and each one of the set in that pattern of artificial song devised by the man that we have said is the judgment form, then the task becomes truly hard. For that reason many of us prefer the quality to the amount and, so, we believe that is preferable to focus in the culture of a certain type of tours and to attain birds that emit a rich song, varied and of quality. The maximum expression of this is reached by the Roller canary, whose modern song was selected by the Germans on the base of the specialization and the mastery in the turns of continuous rate, constituting these the basis of the song of all the birds of the race; and, certainly, they achieved a beautiful, delicate and matchless song, in which are the modulated rolls what specially calls the attention to the listener (and perhaps what some of the fathers of our national song race wanted to imitate in Timbrado when in the first Code, and as set still today in F.O.E┤s., was said that the notes of continuous rate (timbres) should be the base of the Spanish Timbrado song and what confered personality to the race [ and may be because of this the international recognition of Timbrado was denied in 1956, when the international judges commision considered that the birds were not enough purified crosses with Roller]). The specialization in Roller has reduced to the minimum its repertoire according to the standard and contest form (at least in the hollow classic line)(1).

As I┤ve said, starting off from their ideal song, each one of our breeders will try to draw up the methods suitable to the attainment of their goal or, at least, to obtain birds that emit a song as close as possible to the persecuted model. To achieve this and assuming that the place (or places) in which we are going to have our canaries reunites all requirements(2), it is essential:

1║) To make a careful selection of reproducers, in attention to the characters that we want to prioritize in our canaries.

2║) Careful study of the crossings, in agreement with the selection of reproducers carried out and with the objective of boosting in the offspring the characters that we are after.

3║) Take well care of our canaries during and after the breeding, so that they enjoy a perfect state of health and we can expect an adecuate development in each one of the phases of their vital cycle.

4║) To favor propitious environmental conditions for the development of the youngsters , avoiding, specially, any listening from adults to avoid the copy.

The practical work of a song canary breeder can be conceived like a cycle that includes the following phases:

1¬) Selection of reproducers.

2¬) Study of crossings and breeding.

3¬) Flight cages period

4¬) Separation in individual cages and maturation of the song.

5¬) Training and shows... and again to the begining.

Each one of the phases conditions and marks the following ones, for that reason it is of extreme importance not neglecting in any and to try to obtain to the best possible results in all and each one of them. In each phase there are objectives to fulfill, if we fail in one we are irremediably condemned to the final failure.

Briefly let us see each one of these phases.



(1) A Roller of hollow line, according to the classic experts, can reach the maximum score concentrating its repertoire in the squares of the contest form destined to the four fundamental tours of the line: Hohlrollen, Knorren, Hohlklingel and Pfeifen (of continuous rate both the first and second, semicontinuous the third and discontinuous the last one).
(2) The ideal would be to have several places to keep the birds, but nowadays the room in most of our homes is quite limited and we must adapt ourselves to what we have. As a minimum we will have a place for the adults, once finished the breeding season, and another one for the young canaries. The place where we will keep the youngsters must be a quiet place where the adults can not be listened with a quite constant temperature, well ventilated and will preferably have natural light, which intensity we will be able to regulate with blinds, curtains, etc., in attention to the necessities of our canaries type of song or how their evolution goes; in addition, if we can, we will place a radio connected to a timer to make difficult that our youngsters can be focused in the songs coming from the rest of flight cages or the originated outside (birds of the neighbors or wild ones).


© Miguel Angel MartÝn Espada


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