r/NoStupidQuestions Nov 25 '22

How do canaries know to sing when trouble is brewing? Are they trained to do this or born that way to alert other canaries to danger? Answered

Human have been using canaries for hundreds of years in places like coal mines to alert humans to danger. Why canaries? Can other birds not do this? How do they learn to do it?

2.0k Upvotes

2.1k

u/PlsRfNZ Nov 25 '22

They don't sing in coal mines, they have tiny lungs and are susceptible to gases.

If you see the canary get drowsy and start to die then you drop your pickaxe and you run...

863

u/jozone11 Nov 25 '22

More importantly, you hear the canary stop singing. Allows the workers to keep working, without having to actually watch the bird.

224

u/silverfoxcwb Nov 25 '22

Is this why the 7 dwarves sing the song “whistle while you work” as they go to work in the mines?

292

u/yanox00 Nov 25 '22 Helpful

This was an early effort at solving the problem.
But there was, apparently, considerable backlash to hanging dwarves from the ceiling.
They turned Dopey.

31

u/The18182 Nov 25 '22

Actually dying rn

7

u/enginuitor Nov 26 '22

oh shit *drops pickaxe*

18

u/DaemonRogue Nov 25 '22

As messed up as that fact is, thank you for making me aware of this

8

u/Ok-Development-8238 Nov 25 '22

The more you know...

52

u/scarlettohara1936 Nov 25 '22

I think that song was more of a "song of slaves" not literal slaves, but slaves to work. There were/are many songs (think 99 bottles of beer) meant to create a rhythm by which to work and keep the mind occupied on sometimes mind numbing manual labor.

Please don't shoot me for being stupid, but there was an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon explains the usefulness of those songs, their history, and their use. Since everyone knows that Sheldon knows everything and it's always right, it has to be true! The songs have a name, but I don't remember it now.

Anywho. I think Hi Ho Hi Ho was that kind of song and not a tool for detecting poor environmental conditions. I certainly could be wrong though.

38

u/wbjohn Nov 25 '22

I believe you're on the right track. Sea shanties are also working songs. There are different sea shanties for different tasks as, for example, raising a sail would have different rhythm than dropping anchor.

13

u/Sea-Personality1244 Nov 25 '22

Similarly, there's waulking songs to keep rhythm while fulling/waulking cloth.

3

u/scarlettohara1936 Nov 25 '22

Oh good. I remembered correctly. I thought for sure I'd get skewered for misinformation

→ More replies
→ More replies

9

u/yellowvincent Nov 26 '22

The developed like a little chamber for canaries so they can get more air aort like a pump and come back to consciousness thi because the miners felt bad for the birds.i fucking love human emphaty

→ More replies

291

u/MuckRaker83 Nov 25 '22

Their very high metabolic and respiratory rate cause them to perish to noxious fumes more quickly than a human would, making them an effective signaling device for the time

→ More replies

80

u/Flibbernodgets Nov 25 '22

I wonder who was the first person to think of this solution, and why it occurred to them in the first place.

110

u/ActualPopularMonster Nov 25 '22

Not sure I want to know.

Fun fact: In the city of Centrailia, in PA, there is an underground coal fire. The people that decided to stay often bought canaries to keep as pets. If you woke up and the bird was dead, it was time to move.

20

u/CaptBranBran Nov 25 '22

Centralia was also the inspiration for Silent Hill!

22

u/Fearless747 Nov 25 '22

Isn't that fire still burning?

30

u/ActualPopularMonster Nov 25 '22

AFAIK yes. I live in SE PA, but my Mom and I used to drive to Bloomsburg to see friends. We'd drive through Centralia and it was creepy. I always looked out the window to see if I could see any smoke rising. This was back in the early 90's, though.

21

u/depressed_pleb Nov 25 '22

I'm from Bloomsburg originally and it's down to the last house I believe as far as structures left. Not sure any people live in it though. The ground still belches smoke and they expect the fire to burn for decades, perhaps a century or more.

6

u/troubledTommy Nov 26 '22

Can't they harvest that eternal fire for something?

→ More replies

6

u/BookerCatchanSTD Nov 25 '22

We and our children will be long dead and it will still be burning.

→ More replies
→ More replies

8

u/g0ing_postal Nov 25 '22

I imagine someone brought their pet into the mines and it died. They exit the mine too try to revive it. They later hear that other miners died from gas and they put 2 and 2 together

→ More replies

13

u/moxiejohnny Nov 25 '22

No, don't drop your pick-axe, the foreman will dock you a week's wages for loss of company equipment if you return without it. You still ran though as far as I know. Different times but the bird death thing is still accurate.

→ More replies

6.3k

u/re_nub Nov 25 '22

They don't sing when there is trouble, they die when there's poisonous gas around.

1.9k

u/ASUSswift1440p144hz Nov 25 '22 Silver

For extra entertainment, scroll down and watch OP trying to understand what this means, it's pretty funny.

618

u/bertraja Nov 25 '22

This is either the most elaborate trollpost that i've ever seen, or we just destroyed the last pure, innocent soul on this planet.

102

u/aklug Nov 25 '22

Every soul needs to know. This is a ruse. Tomfoolery at its finest.

211

u/bertraja Nov 25 '22

I'm afraid to click on OP's profile, half expecting an ELI5 "why are there so many farms upstate, and how do they feed all the animals?"

53

u/motormouth08 Nov 25 '22

I'm going to hell for laughing at this, well done.

21

u/Aev_ACNH Nov 25 '22

I’m afraid to click on OP’s profile, half expecting an ELI5 ”I am using Google Earth, and cannot find this rainbow bridge that everyone talks about. Can you please tell me where to to look on the map, and the technical proper name instead of the slang nickname “rainbow bridge.”

17

u/TheFreeBee Nov 25 '22

I'm confused, is it because they AREN'T feeding all the animals ?

10

u/cascalives Nov 25 '22

It's in reference to parents telling their kids that their pets went to a farm when they died.

→ More replies

43

u/natsugrayerza Nov 25 '22

I didn’t know this was why they used the canaries either :(

40

u/DannyAye Nov 25 '22

Reddit takes another innocent soul… Chalk it up

→ More replies

587

u/SopranosBluRayBoxSet Nov 25 '22

Holy shit he really struggles to get it, like he really wants that canary to have some kind of danger sense make it sing, that was a crack up

232

u/Grumpybastard61 Nov 25 '22

Canary Man, who was pecked by a radioactive canary, has super sensitive Canary Sense and knows when danger arises. MCU movies to debut in 2045.

4

u/fish993 Nov 25 '22

Canaries Georg, who lives in a coal mine and senses danger 10,000 times a day, was an outlier adn should not have been counted

15

u/Last_Bluejay8103 Nov 25 '22

I'm in actual tears from this thread omg

→ More replies

63

u/sloth_mohawk Nov 25 '22

Maybe they’re mixing this fact with the idiom “it’s over when the fat lady sings”.

33

u/SopranosBluRayBoxSet Nov 25 '22

They seem to be mixing like 4 different sayings together

→ More replies

43

u/Miserable_Category_5 Nov 25 '22

Why is this unanswered XD

27

u/NoMoreLandBro Nov 25 '22

I was sleeping, just updated it!

→ More replies

61

u/Minky29 Nov 25 '22

Almost looks like trolling at this point, if it isn't I feel bad they're getting downvoted for asking (several times, but still....)

11

u/littleboyhands Nov 25 '22

He had it....then he lost it

107

u/flippantpenguin Nov 25 '22

Seems like an excessive amount of down votes for op being confused in no stupid questions

170

u/Motor_Raspberry_2150 Nov 25 '22

It's in the ragged stubbornness of every of his replies I think. Like denying the truth of the previous comments.

Why do birds do this? They don't.

Then why is it a saying? It's not.

But people say it all the time? They don't.

Well I say it all the time? Well stop doing it then.

No but you see it makes sense because of this reasoning? Stop that.

It seems disrespectful of the answerers. While he could indeed be ignorant, OPs years on reddit, political commentary, and somehow higher post karma than comment karma seem to point to just trolling.

27

u/ShapeShiftingCats Nov 25 '22

Sounds like every science denier on Reddit.

→ More replies

97

u/computer_generated1 Nov 25 '22

People are fine with someone asking a stupid question, but if the answer is clearly laid out for you and you refuse to accept it then they get annoyed.

46

u/almostaccepted Nov 25 '22 I'll Drink to That

Yeah exactly. This is nostupidquestions, not noabilitytolisten

11

u/A_brown_dog Nov 25 '22

I assume people believe he is trolling. Also, some confused people could believe "no stupid questions" means that stupid questions are not allowed here

→ More replies

7

u/potatohead46 Nov 25 '22

Was not disappointed. Thank you.

14

u/Dumbassahedratr0n Nov 25 '22

I'd love to see him find out about whippoorwills and how they are said to sing in time with the breaths of a dying person, because they are the psychopomps that guide your soul to the afterlife..

15

u/XeLLoTAth777 Nov 25 '22

furiously re-reads "The Dunwich Horror"

5

u/Dumbassahedratr0n Nov 25 '22

A man of taste I see

11

u/BottleOfBurden Nov 25 '22

There's mourning doves, and the lore that every time they coo someone dies. Which is likely technically accidentally correct most of the time, because people are dying all the time..

→ More replies

24

u/lala6633 Nov 25 '22

Haha, what an awkward dude. He’s like “cause I bought all these canaries.”

37

u/Mchlpl Nov 25 '22

Would be easier if he didn't get downvoted so much. It's r/NoStupidQuestions after all

48

u/Puzzled-Barnacle-200 Nov 25 '22

But his original post is highly upvoted, so people aren't down voting him for asking a stupid question. He's down voted for refusing to accept the answer people are giving him.

14

u/Mchlpl Nov 25 '22

Is it refusing really? Seems he's had some layered misconceptions and needed extra steps to get to the bottom of it, but once he's got there he realised and accepted he's been wrong

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

5

u/ChiefPanda90 Nov 25 '22 edited Nov 25 '22

Oooooh goody, thanks for the heads up

Edit: that was great

22

u/ICareAboutThings25 Nov 25 '22

This is not only entertaining. This is making me feel better about myself. I may be dumb, but I learned about canaries in a coal mine when I was a child.

3

u/TheTampaBae Nov 25 '22

That was totally worth the scroll

→ More replies

349

u/chrischi3 Nov 25 '22

Interestingly, there are a lot of stories about kobolds and the like in every culture that knew how to mine underground, all of which tell of creatures that live in the rock and would knock against the mineshaft walls from the other side to warn miners of impending collapses. The origin of this is believed to be the fact that there is a very distinctive knocking sound that is made by the pressure of whatever is about to cause the collapse compressing the rocks, that would echo all throughout the shaft in question.

144

u/kcolxx93 Nov 25 '22 Helpful

i’m way too high for this 😭

135

u/LazyLich Nov 25 '22

So if you hear a knock on your walls/door, it's the pot-fairy warning you the cops are almost there.

→ More replies

12

u/Phallic Nov 25 '22

I’m exactly just high enough

→ More replies

35

u/backin45750 Nov 25 '22

Tommy knockers in Colorado gold mines!

29

u/Equivalent-Peanut-23 Nov 25 '22

Tommyknockers are actually native to Cornwall and came to Colorado with Cornish miners.

→ More replies

19

u/cactuskilldozer Nov 25 '22

Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'Cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man.

→ More replies

136

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

140

u/Joaco_Gomez_1 Nov 25 '22

you know it's a The Police song when they repeat the main chorus 50 times

65

u/tamsui_tosspot Nov 25 '22

Sending out an SOS

24

u/Joaco_Gomez_1 Nov 25 '22

I'll be watching you...

15

u/ActualPopularMonster Nov 25 '22

"Don't stand so, don't stand so, do the stand so close to me."

10

u/MetallurgyClergy Nov 25 '22

Turn on your red light!

→ More replies

8

u/Chiang2000 Nov 25 '22

You can really picture how close she was given he needed three goes to just finish the sentence.

→ More replies
→ More replies

11

u/Fluid_Amphibian3860 Nov 25 '22

But the groove...

14

u/NinjaBilly55 Nov 25 '22

Hell yes..The percussion was off the hook.. Stewart Copeland was likely the greatest drummer of that era..

6

u/Fluid_Amphibian3860 Nov 25 '22

Amen.. his high hat work is incredible

17

u/NinjaBilly55 Nov 25 '22

Driven to tears with headphones.. Also Sting doesn't get a lot of credit for his bass work but he's always in the pocket..

5

u/Dramatic_Page9305 Nov 25 '22

I believe Neil Peart is the recipient of that honor

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

27

u/No-Cupcake370 Nov 25 '22

It reminds me of how Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes refers to his brother, who died from addiction, as his 'yellow bird', and it's heartbreaking to me.

→ More replies

14

u/sceadwian Nov 25 '22

And the reason for this is because they have very sensitive lungs and high metabolisms. I've heard stories from people that have had minor kitchen fires in apartments, nothing serious just your typical smokey room but they didn't air the place out and killed a whole cage of finches.

→ More replies

51

u/yomomsalovelyperson Nov 25 '22

Oof I'm glad I'm late and didn't have to be the one to break it to them

24

u/cosmic_brownie4806 Nov 25 '22

My dad worked in a coal mine for a month on a work trip and he told me about this, just came to the comments to see if my memory was correct and sure enough haha

→ More replies

24

u/theaeao Nov 25 '22

I read the post and was like "oh dear... I've got some bad news... You need to sit down for this*

6

u/ErusTenebre Nov 25 '22

I feel like you just broke OP's reality. Lol

→ More replies

506

u/Shaycat501 Nov 25 '22

As others have mentioned - if the bird is singing - everything is fine.

If the bird stops singing or falls off the perch, then the miners know they need to get out.

129

u/theaeao Nov 25 '22

The original "everything's okay alarm. It will go off constantly unless things aren't okay"

38

u/DisgruntledDiggit Nov 25 '22

I’m a simple man. I see a Homer Simpson’s quote, I upvote it.

161

u/Vintage-bee Nov 25 '22

Traditionally canaries were used in coal mines to warn the miners when a lack of oxygen occured. This is because canaries are very sensitive to changes in oxygen, so the miners knew that when the canaries fainted, it was time to get out.

43

u/Due-Science-9528 Nov 25 '22

I wonder how many alarm canaries survived this experience after being carried out by a miner

19

u/LevelStudent Nov 25 '22 edited Nov 25 '22

I think they'd see that as equivalent to taking the batteries out of your fire alarm while your house burns down.

10

u/LadyFoxfire Nov 25 '22

There was actually a device that the miners could use to revive the canary while they evacuated. Basically an airtight cage with an oxygen tank attached.

→ More replies

152

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

358

u/Imaginary_Sense_88 Nov 25 '22

Canaries generally “talk” a lot. Canaries sing almost non stop. “Sing like a canary” means someone couldn’t keep a secret.

Knowing this, a canary in a coal mine will STFU when poisonous gas is around. Their little lungs can detect it before human lungs. When the canary STOPS singing, us humans know to evacuate the area.

They don’t stop singing at the sign of trouble, they sing until they die.

542

u/Nerdcoreh Nov 25 '22

You are switching up the cause and the effect. The canaries are loud birds so they "sing" nonstop. But when they die they dont. And thats your sign.

50

u/brianlangauthor Nov 25 '22

There’s definitely a “Here’s your sign” joke in this thread.

→ More replies

91

u/thebipeds Nov 25 '22

I lived in a crappy apartment and the heater wasn’t working right, then my girlfriends pet bird dropped dead… yep carbon monoxide leak. The old methods still work.

34

u/johngknightuk Nov 25 '22

this happens my Granddaughter lost two pet bird who dropped dead because of (we found out from a vet) scented candles

15

u/Sahqon Nov 25 '22

Must have been some weird candle. Mine were fine with those (then I found out they were dangerous and now I don't use any), but one almost died from cinnamon oil being used within 2 m of him. Not even in a diffuser, just on a wooden ball that slowly releases it. So now I use no scented anything but home dried spices in this room... (bird is fine now)

→ More replies

316

u/apeliott Nov 25 '22

It's easier to carry a canary into a mine than a bald eagle.

"Canaries, like other birds, are good early detectors of carbon monoxide because they’re vulnerable to airborne poisons, Inglis-Arkell writes.

Because they need such immense quantities of oxygen to enable them to fly and fly to heights that would make people altitude sick, their anatomy allows them to get a dose of oxygen when they inhale and another when they exhale, by holding air in extra sacs, he writes.

Relative to mice or other easily transportable animals that could have been carried in by the miners, they get a double dose of air and any poisons the air might contain, so miners would get an earlier warning."

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/story-real-canary-coal-mine-180961570/

Also, they are small and cheap (haha)

155

u/MoonIhide Nov 25 '22

They are small and they cheep

→ More replies
→ More replies

68

u/malibuklw Nov 25 '22

They die first because they have small bodies. If the canaries stop singing you leave because you’re likely next.

55

u/lance845 Nov 25 '22

You have a big misconception here.

Canaries don't sing when there is danger. They have a significantly lower capacity for poisonous gases and, while alive, sing a lot. So its not that the canary sings when something is wrong. They stop singing when they die. And that signals that the air is poisonous.

110

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

26

u/Dancingbeavers Nov 25 '22

The plumage don't enter into it, he's stone dead.

21

u/Straight-Field9427 Nov 25 '22

He's not dead. He's probably pining for the fjords.

→ More replies

13

u/bertraja Nov 25 '22

"you sold the dead bird to a blind kid?"

35

u/Agile-Fee-6057 Nov 25 '22

The canary in the coal mine would alert them when it stopped singing. They stopped because they died. When the canary died that was the warning to the miners

295

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

111

u/Prancinglard dumb-dumb Nov 25 '22

Everyone apparently lol

59

u/cdazzo1 Nov 25 '22

And no one danced around it. Just rip that band aid right off. May as well tell OP the bad news about Santa too.

30

u/desearcher Nov 25 '22

Wait. What happened to Santa? Did he die?

34

u/TRJF Nov 25 '22

Yes, in a coal mine. Rumor has it he sang Jingle Bells one final time before he passed.

16

u/namedafternoone Nov 25 '22

Did his canary not sing to alert him??!

13

u/TRJF Nov 25 '22

No, he saw that it was dead but he figured that since it hadn't sung he was safe

6

u/desearcher Nov 25 '22

Ah, so he was mining lumps of coal for all the naughty boys and girls. That makes sense.

6

u/CommentsToMorons Nov 25 '22

He was just trying to get enough coal for the naughty kids. R.I.P. Christmas.

14

u/Lunchtimeme Nov 25 '22

Don't you dare.

You tell him about Santa and next thing you know he finds out the same thing about Jesus. Doesn't look like the kind who'll shrug it off easily.

→ More replies

30

u/orangemaroon25 Nov 25 '22

The canaries singing wasn't the alert for danger. It was when they stopped singing that the humans knew something was wrong.

11

u/Silluvaine Nov 25 '22

Exactly, very unfortunate for the canaries but it did save the lives of many people

20

u/Deeply-Conflicted Nov 25 '22

They don't sing. They die.

17

u/loCAtek Nov 25 '22

Just filling in a few details-

The gas in coal mines is natural gas, which is odorless and colorless. It's also lighter than air, and in coal mines it will float to the ceilings of the mine shafts first, which is another reason birds were used as gas detectors- bird cages were already made for hanging. The Miners wanted a) Something that hung above, and b) made noise.

The gas wasn't poisonous per se, but displaced the oxygen on the roof of the shafts and the canaries would stop singing and asphyxiate in the presence of natural gas.

76

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

12

u/statisticiansal Nov 25 '22

Me too. Dead canaries abound!

→ More replies

160

u/CyborgSandwich Nov 25 '22

I read this as "How do Canadians know to sing when trouble is brewing?" And it makes it a much different question

111

u/sofa_king_ugly Nov 25 '22

♩♪♫♬ Run, bitch ♩♪♫♬

♩♪♫♬ it's the cops ♩♪♫♬

64

u/lavenderacid Nov 25 '22

Your national anthem is beautiful

39

u/WelshTaylor Nov 25 '22 Silver

♩♪♫♬ trouble's always brewing

♩♪♫♬ so i always sing

♩♪♫♬ but my lyrics aren't specific

♩♪♫♬ so the bad guys sometimes win

→ More replies

10

u/DoppelFrog Nov 25 '22

And yet it makes so much sense.

12

u/TheRealSugarbat Nov 25 '22

This whole subthread is fire

→ More replies

163

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

14

u/Alfphe99 Nov 25 '22

Lol, that's what I said.

→ More replies

13

u/DTux5249 Nov 25 '22 edited Nov 25 '22

It's mostly just coal mines.

The canary isn't there to sing. It's there because it has very delicate lungs.

Natural gas and carbon monoxide are odorless, so you can't tell it's there until people start falling over.

A canary is small tho, so it'll die from carbon monoxide long before any human will.

So miners would bring one down with them. If the bird shuts up, everyone goes up.

30

u/GoneFishin9001 Nov 25 '22

They sing all the time, constantly. There’s a problem when they stop singing.

64

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

6

u/radicalllamas Nov 25 '22

Can’t be artificial if the “bird” isn’t real either r/birdsarentreal

and the fire department are in on it too!

/s because you never know nowadays

144

u/KillaVNilla Nov 25 '22

Considering the name of the sub, some of your have absolutely no chill. You're going out of your way to make someone feel bad for asking a question, on r/nostupidquestions.

84

u/CommentsToMorons Nov 25 '22

The original question wasn't stupid, the OP's insistence that he's correct and everyone else is wrong is the stupid part.

26

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

→ More replies

8

u/TaxiBait Nov 25 '22

They don’t sing, you know the air is bad because they die first.

89

u/BurlAroundMyBody Nov 25 '22

Oh my sweet summer child. The canaries don’t sing if there’s danger in a coal mine, they die.

9

u/Lylibean Nov 25 '22

The “canary in the coal mine” is there to alert humans to the presence of poison gas/lack of oxygen by dying. Birds are very susceptible to toxins in the air (which is why they have to be removed during pest control visits). If the airflow in the mineshaft was bad and the CO2 levels got too high the bird would die of asphyxiation, altering the miners that they need to GTFO and get air, and that they need to ventilate the shaft.

As for chirping at danger, I’m assuming it’s because canaries are high strung, twittery birds in general, and would freak out if they smelled/saw a predator or other interloper, like a little feathery motion sensor. My mom’s parakeets were that way - better than a ring camera lol

8

u/W_AS-SA_W Nov 25 '22

They didn’t sing, they died.

9

u/itsjustme1981 Nov 25 '22

They have learned to die when they can no longer take in the oxygen to live. No training needed!

7

u/stabbyspacehorse Nov 25 '22

They don't sing an alarm, they literally keel over and die.

→ More replies

6

u/RyWeezy Nov 25 '22

They die. They alert you that the air quality isn't good by dying because the air quality isn't good.

8

u/Flying-Coyote Nov 26 '22

It's the opposite. I've had canaries and they are singing all the time. They have tiny lungs which makes them the first to suffer the effects of fumes. The miners would notice something is wrong if the canary wasn't singing.

→ More replies

6

u/BrakaFlocka Nov 25 '22

They chose canaries through trial and error. First they started with ostriches and quickly realized those buggers are way too big for the coal mines. Next they tried dodobirds... but let's just say they realized dodobirds weren't the answer a bit too late

5

u/strictnaturereserve Nov 25 '22

canaries are more sensitive to the gases in the mine and die quickly. that is how they would warn the miners

7

u/LadyFoxfire Nov 25 '22

Canaries in coal mines alerted miners to danger by dying first. Birds have really sensitive lungs, so if there’s a carbon monoxide leak, the bird will die before the miners know anything’s wrong, and give them time to evacuate.

64

u/miatiapia Nov 25 '22

The phrase you’re thinking of is to “sing like a canary” which basically just means snitching.

44

u/tovarisch_prole Nov 25 '22

Pretty sure he's looking for an explanation behind a "canary in coal mine".

47

u/triforce4ever Nov 25 '22

This whole thing feels like a Michael Scott botched euphemism. “The canaries are singing” 😂

19

u/dumplingbydesign Nov 25 '22

My my how the turn tables...

13

u/dbo340 Nov 25 '22

-Wayne Gretzky

4

u/sloth_mohawk Nov 25 '22

Or they are confusing the canary with the fat lady who sings when it’s over.

4

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

→ More replies

4

u/GhastInTheShell Nov 25 '22

They don’t. It’s when the canary stops singing that you know you have a problem because now it’s dead for some reason.

5

u/Fearless747 Nov 25 '22

They don't sing when there's trouble, they stop singing because they're dead.

6

u/jerrythecactus Nov 25 '22

Canaries are small birds with fast metabolic rates. As such they need a lot of oxygen to stay alive, more than a human needs per minute. By having canaries in a coal mine it helps miners know when a oxygen displacement incident occurs or when oxygen levels drop below a safe level. When the canaries die it's the alert to get the fuck out before people start to suffocate too.

6

u/two-skeletons Nov 25 '22

No no. Canaries stop singing when trouble is around in coal mines because of dangerous gasses. If the birds die, you'll be next

5

u/notume37 Nov 25 '22

Canaries were used in mines as low oxygen and noxious fume detectors. When they passed out it was a signal for the miners to get out before they asphyxiated.

5

u/JustARandomWeirdo17 Nov 25 '22

I think you might just be blissfully unaware of the danger canarys role in life.

27

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

Hahaha, you're a cutie. Weird you're getting downvoted considering the purpose of this sub. I hope you have many canaries sing to you alive and well OP :)

→ More replies

4

u/BabylonDrifter Nov 25 '22

They warn us of danger by dying. They sing constantly, so when you hear them stop singing (dead from coal gasses) it's time to evacuate the mine.

4

u/A_Rolling_Potato Nov 25 '22

Canaries like to sing. When they stop (because they die much quicker from poisonous gas) is when you know to gtfo. They don't sense danger, they just die.

3

u/everlastingSnow Nov 25 '22

I don't think that's why they do that...

They bring a canary down there because, in the event of a poisonous gas leak, it'll die first. If the canary stops singing and making noise, they'd likely look over and evacuate if it's dead. Not sure why a canary specifically though (possibly either because they're cheap or because they make a lot of noise but I'm not a bird expert so IDK).

4

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

→ More replies

3

u/GhostieLiving Nov 25 '22

They don't sing when there's danger. They were taken into mines to alert when the air was poisonous. They sing practically none stop, and then, because they're much smaller than humans, they die and stop singing when they get to a part of the mine where the air is poisonous, it takes less time for the poisonous air to affect the canaries than it does to affect the miners because canaries are tiny. Them no longer hearing the canary singing signals that they need to get the hell out of the mine.

4

u/abbayabbadingdong Nov 25 '22

The canary dies sunshine, The Canaries respiratory system is much smaller so less of a toxic substance will kill them. If they Canary dies you know to get out

4

u/cydude1234 Nov 25 '22

They don’t sing they die

5

u/piefanart Nov 26 '22

The canary doesn't sing. It stops singing. Because it dies.

24

u/[deleted] Nov 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

4

u/llama-impregnator Nov 25 '22

Prettttty sure OP is just an airhead

14

u/natgibounet Nov 25 '22

You Know we could use humans aswell, everyone stops singing when there is poison gas in the air, it's just that Canaries stop singing quite a bit earlier giving humans a chance to escape when the levels are not yet fatall to them

33

u/theassman_ Nov 25 '22

Op is on to something. My mom's canary was the first to alert her to the cancer she has. Not only that, it alerted my uncle to a risky investment he was making. They are life savers.

53

u/NoMoreLandBro Nov 25 '22

How did your mother know what the canary was alerting her to? And it seems like from this thread, canaries don’t sing to alert to danger, they die to alert. I’m really happy your mother was able to detect her cancer in time but how did she know her bird dying was a sign she had cancer?

Also, what’s the actual connection here? Why would your mother having cancer cause her bird to die? Can human cancers be transmitted to birds?

Edit: nevermind, I just realized you were trolling me. Ha ha. Very funny.

13

u/SurroundSharp1689 Nov 25 '22

LMFAOOOOOOOO bruh

14

u/hail_SAGAN42 Nov 25 '22

Oh dear .. I just wanna protect you sir. I didn't think anyone was more gullible than me. Be careful. The world is MEAN as FUCK.

→ More replies

6

u/cangooner65 Nov 25 '22

Translated their singing says ‘Jeezy Creezy there’s poisonous gas down here’!

3

u/Random-User_1234 Nov 25 '22

The singing stops, because the canary died from noxious fumes.

That meant "get the hell out of here, not enough oxygen" to coal miners.

3

u/Shileka Nov 25 '22

For your example with the mines, a Canary is a very small animal so a lesser dose of natural gasses will kill it quicker, so if the Canary drops, you leave the mine.

Singing has little to do with it.

3

u/cara8bishop Nov 25 '22

Uhh I think you got the use of canaries a little confused lol. When they stop chirping and die is when you know there is poison gas

3

u/introvert-i-1957 Nov 25 '22

Birds are extremely sensitive to gases, cleaning products, candles, Teflon, any inhaled substance. It kills them. So in the mines when the bird went quiet you needed to check if it dropped dead. Dead bird indicates deadly gas. Birds are overcome much much sooner than people. Hence it's death was an early warning.

3

u/Castleman1992 Nov 25 '22

TIL I should get a canary

3

u/Zandrick Nov 25 '22

Nah dude, a canary in the coal mine is a warning sign not because it sings, but because it dies faster than human.

3

u/Ok-Rice-5377 Nov 25 '22

Who told you they sing when trouble is near? They are lowered deep in the mine to check for gases. If they are dead when pulled up that means dangerous gases, if they are alive, that means no dangerous gases. My understanding is that it's not just canaries, but they are small and therefore more susceptible to the gases (it doesn't take as much to kill them).

3

u/Ok_Mix5519 Nov 25 '22

Ok ok, I know it’s fun and easy to pile on to OP about singing vs dead canaries, but let me just offer this possible source of confusion:

There is indeed an idiom “to sing like a canary,” so I can see how OP maybe got their wires crossed. But, to sing like a canary doesn’t mean to warn of danger; it means to squeal to the cops/authorities. If you brought in a low-level crook, and they told the cops everything they knew about their bosses and associates, they would be “singing like a canary.”

So I can see how someone can hear the phrase “sing like a canary,” remember the idea of a canary being used as a warning system in a coal mine, and kinda assume they were related.