Although the Canary Islands are home to the wild canary, the islands were not named after the bird. It’s the other way around. Canary Islands, or Islas Canarias, actually means Island of the Dogs. So the bird is named after an island named after dogs. Why dogs? No one is quite sure whether there were actually large dogs on the island at one time, a cult of dog worshippers, mummified dogs, or sailors who mistook monk seals for dogs. (Image from Wikimedia, by Juan Emilio. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)
There are no more monk seals on the islands. I’ll find out about the dogs when I arrive at Tenerife for STARMUS 2016 at the end of June. I'm excited that I’ll finally get to see canaries, wild and free, as they should be.