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Topic: Fly-back training
Message: Posted by: fccfp (Feb 17, 2005 10:19AM)
I am working with my first dove. I believe he is only a couple of months old. I can do the finger ladder with him easily. he will also sit calmly when I hold him. I can't seem to get him to fly (jump) from hand to hand. Any reccomendations would be appreciated.

Message: Posted by: Nick Wait (Feb 17, 2005 11:48AM)
What teaching material are you using and where are you training him? I suggest using the search tool at the top of your screen. This topic has been covered numerous times. if your still stuck I would look to the help of Bob or Dave. Good Luck
Message: Posted by: Crispy (Feb 17, 2005 04:58PM)
I once had a dove that naturally liked to fly from hand to hand back when I got my first couple doves when I was 10 or 11. Back then I used a dove in balloon tray and he'd fly out of the "balloon" and land on my wrist. They just seemed to like me so I didn't really have to train them. I think the key is just to handle your doves a lot so they get used to you. However, I hear a good way to train doves (if you want them to fly back to you) is to hang a sheet from the ceiling and stand in a corner.... so you form a triangle and you are at the point of the triangle.

Message: Posted by: LarryTaylor (Feb 17, 2005 11:01PM)
That is great Cris I agree, if one handles their dove frequently they will like you and want to land on you hand. It is nice when you can get them young. Be careful when flying your doves make sure that the window shades are drawn and there are no mirrors they can see. They seem to think they can fly through the window glass and they seem to think mirrors are another room.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Feb 18, 2005 10:48AM)
On 2005-02-18 00:01, LarryTaylor wrote:
Be careful when flying your doves. Make sure that the window shades are drawn and there are no mirrors they can see. They seem to think they can fly through the window glass and they seem to think mirrors are another room.


Now I can explain the red knots on my forehead and the broken nose! LOL!

That is good advice. These also tend to have the greatest light. Light will attract the dove in flight. A good lighting tech will recognize a problem bird in a show and, in an emergency, use the lights to get him/her to come to you. It is also what makes TV studios so dangerous with dove acts. Sometimes a little thinking goes a long ways.


Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: magicman414 (Feb 27, 2005 05:57PM)
On 2005-02-17 17:58, Crispy wrote:
I once had a dove that naturally liked to fly from hand to hand back when I got my first couple doves when I was 10 or 11. Back then I used a dove in balloon tray and he'd fly out of the "balloon" and land on my wrist. They just seemed to like me so I didn't really have to train them. I think the key is just to handle your doves a lot so they get used to you. However, I hear a good way to train doves (if you want them to fly back to you) is to hang a sheet from the ceiling and stand in a corner.... so you form a triangle and you are at the point of the triangle.


Hey Chris I didn't quite get what you mean about training the doves, could you help?
Message: Posted by: Nick Wait (Feb 28, 2005 10:08AM)
He means that by handling them reguarly, the birds would naturally go to him. His suggested tequnique by hanging a sheet allows you to throw your doves towards the sheet. They are therefore forced in to turning back towards you. And the sheet is also soft is it shouldn't be too great a problem if on the rare occasion they bump into it (doves are prone to this)
Message: Posted by: Christopher Moro (Feb 28, 2005 01:17PM)
The question of the dove not wanting to jump from hand to hand: Some birds will do it quickly, others will fly away. If this is your problem, what you might want to do is ease the dove into it more. With the dove on, say the right hand, carry him over toward the left hand and then press the left hand's finger against his chest so he perches on it. Do this a few times (it's like you're slowly taking him on the path that he will eventually hop on his own.) After he gets used to it, have him on your right hand, lightly toss towards the left hand and then drop your right hand out from under his feet. He should know where he's going now and flap over to your waiting left hand. Now you should be able to progress with the flight training steps.
Message: Posted by: fccfp (Feb 28, 2005 09:39PM)
Thanks to all who responded.

I currently work with the dove in an alcove in my home. We are closed in tightly on three sides and I keep the dove facing away from the open side. Occasionally he will try to take off. He does not get far however and I can pick him up right away. I try to soothe it and then get back to practice.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Feb 28, 2005 10:29PM)
The sheet idea is a good one. If you only use the bare walls of the room, the chances of the bird flying into one are pretty great. The sheet or curtain will cushion the impact. You saw the curtains hanging in my basement when you picked up the bird. That is one of the reasons why they were there. Also, Larry Taylor was correct. Make sure there are no mirrors for the bird to see. For some reason they think they can do the "alice through the looking glass" effect with any mirror they see. They'll fly right into it everytime.
Message: Posted by: fccfp (Mar 1, 2005 05:06AM)
You are correct. My dove does fly into walls. Not very funny, but hopefull he will learn. I will hang a sheet. Do you reccomend using black as you have done or can I use my old winnie the pooh sheets? :)


P.S. are you going to magic funday?
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Mar 1, 2005 06:02AM)
The color doesn't matter. I have black curtains set up to create a stage atmosphere. When you hang the sheet, make sure there is enough space between the sheet and the wall to create a cushion. Flying into any hard surface can break the birds neck.

Yes, I'll be at funday. See you there.
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Mar 2, 2005 12:45AM)
Use Black sheets, as this simulates the lighting you'll most commonly experience from the stage! When the spotlights are on you, your dove will only see black when it comes out, except for you, when you're in the light. If possible, have four sheets hanging up, with a light in the corner. Have nothing in the room. When you produce the dove, he will have nowhere to go, but on your finger. In a room with no purches, no sticks, no furniture, throw him out with your right hand, for example, put your right hand down and lift your left hand up. It took me about two weeks to train my doves to the point where they got good at coming back to the hand. Expect a few months to perfect the technique, where they fly back to your hand 99% of the time.
Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Mar 2, 2005 06:16AM)
I would agree with dearwiseone on the color except that not all dove acts are performed on a darkened stage with a spot light. The object is to get the dove to return as a natural act, not just as a trick. If you are only planning on working on a theater stage, then black is the way to go, however, for general training, a lighter curtain is just as effective. Regardless of the curtain color, removing all potential perches during training is important. Doves only see out of one eye at a time and the first thing they spot will become a perch for them. You want it to be your hand.
Message: Posted by: Crispy (Mar 7, 2005 07:35PM)
In case my description wasn't detailed enough.... hang a sheet from the ceiling connecting two adjacent walls. The sheet should go all the way from one wall to the other, with no gaps in between. This will form a triangle. If you stand in the corner of the two walls, you will be at the point of the triangle. And, of course, the most important point is that when you throw the dove, you should throw him out backwards with the dove facing you . . . the dove has to be facing you to fly toward you. Start with short distances and gradually increase the distance you throw him out. Don't start throwing him out farther if the dove is not coming back to you from short distances. You will also have to start experimenting with the level at which you throw your doves. For some you will have to throw them slightly down so that he will fly up to you. For other birds this will cause them to fly toward the floor. For others you will have to toss them slightly up so that he will fly down to you. For others this will cause them to fly up and perch in the rafters of the theater. The main thing is that you want to get consistency. You want your bird to come back to you 10 out of 10 times.

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Mar 8, 2005 07:02AM)
Crispy, I have to disagree with throwing the bird backwards. I know Shimada does it this way however, if you think of the bird before the toss, you'll realize the the feathers, especially the wings tips are now facing the opposite direction of it's travel. In other words, you're tossing the bird out against the grain. It's easy to break a wing or tail feathers that way. The purpose of the curtain is to make the dove turn around looking for a perch. I've found the best way to initially train for the toss out is to get the bird used to flying out and back without loading it. Just toss it from the hand in an arching motion at first. Then as it gets used to what you want, start tossing it straight out toward the curtain.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Moro (Mar 8, 2005 02:49PM)
Dave brings up a very good point. When the bird is thrown backwards, he is fighting against the direction he's been thrown in. This puts considerable strain on the dove (this was the first method I ever tried). This also looks less elegant than a nice circle return that results from tossing a bird out in the forward direction. With the backwards toss, the audience only sees the bird move in a straight line (actually, the first thing they might see is the bird's backside!). With the forward toss, the audience will see the bird fly in a nice circle. Tony Clark has built in some nice steps for the circle-return which built incremently and allow the bird to learn little by little. There aren't any real steps inherent in the backwards toss and that might make it more difficult to learn.
Message: Posted by: Crispy (Mar 10, 2005 01:18AM)
Dave, I think you're right that it will be easier on the dove is it doesn't have to reverse its direction of flight. I was primarily thinking of the flyback from the Shimada/Pollack effects that involve sleeve loading. I know it's customary to load the dove backwards so the tail feathers blend in with the ruffles of the shirt sleeve.

I'll be honest, I've never used a flyback. I used to have a dove fly to my free hand after a dove from silk production. I used to also have a Chalet Doves to Rabbit and would put three of my doves in there.... the others I would have fly to a perch in the back.

Now, I'm rather lazy. I have a larger doves to rabbit that holds six doves, so I simply produce the doves, have them flutter a bit, and put them in the cage. This also works well for performing outdoors. ;-)

I'm sure there's plenty on the forum that have more experience than I with this type of thing.

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Mar 10, 2005 06:21AM)
Cris, I think you've got it backwards. Sleeve loading is exactly what Christopher and I are talking about. The birds should "not" be loaded backwards in the sleeve. That is what causes the potential problem. You want the dove to come out smooth, facing the audience do a turn around and come. Loading it backwards can cause harm to the birds wing or tail, has a potential of binding up and doesn't look as good to the audience.
Message: Posted by: RandyStewart (Mar 10, 2005 06:26AM)
However, this is precisley how Shimada loads his doves so they see him directly on return. (Bird goes beak in ******)

I hope I havent misread the former threads but consider the method.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 10, 2005 04:51PM)
Randy is correct. Shimada does load a (left) dove backwards. The reason he gives is so that the dove sees him. I think Shimada is perhaps the best in the business.

Having said that, I don't agree with the method and have never found it necessary to toss the bird backwards for that reason. A good light man can usually get a wayward dove back to you. If the house lights are down, the dove is coming to the stage.

I can't say that I've never had a dove go on a tour of the theater. But once landed and tossed back into the air they've always come back to stage. People ask how you train a dove to do that! (How would you stop them?) They know the dove feeding guy!

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Christopher Moro (Mar 10, 2005 08:28PM)
In the end, whatever you can get your bird to do consistently is probably the way to go. But once again, I think tossing forward and a circle-return is best. And I prefer training your birds to return to you in several brightly lit, busy rooms. I've done this and the bird remembers to come to you regardless of what the environment looks like.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Mar 10, 2005 09:18PM)
That's correct Chris. I always say, "whatever floats your boat" just make sure the bird isn't with you when it sinks. I mentioned Shimada earlier in the topic and I'm in no way saying he's wrong. I'm nowhere close to being in his league and never will be but if you watch his production, the bird comes out in a blur because the audience is seeing it from behind. Tossing it out head face, gives the audience the full view of the bird and to me, it just looks more magical, prettier and safer for the dove.
Message: Posted by: Michael Sullivan (Feb 18, 2006 07:48PM)
I have gone against all the methods of training a dove to return fly.

I did not use bright light, Hallsways, black walls or places with no other place to land.

But for me I have found that I have a greater trust in my birds because I can toss then in a room full of people and purching place, yet they always return to me.

So my thinking is that if they prefer to come to me rather than anywhere else when they have other choices then I am on a good track.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Feb 18, 2006 08:01PM)

I think you have simply accomplished the mission there. That is that the dove has to identify you as the "safe place". The other practices are just ways to limit errors in the journy to desired behavior. The errors are not required!


Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Maro Anglero (Feb 19, 2006 10:33AM)
100% I agree with Bob that the doves must see you as the "safe place" for landing when they fly out or when you toss them out.

My training with my doves has been with food, meaning they eat in my hand and when I first open their cage they wait to hear me call them to fly to my hands.
So a few times when the doves are eating I take one at a time and throw him away from me to have him do a mid-air turn to come back to my hand.

Bruce if you have seen Lance Burtonís show then you notice that his doves land on a lamp. Dove Marker is the place the dove gets to hang out when they are not in the cage. I did find that using a dove marker in my children show was not a good idea. The children would not take their eyes off the dove and kept saying can I touch him.

I am working on a routine where I place 6 jumbo cards on a 3 feet wand that has clips to the jumbo cards. First I have a volunteer pick one of the six small card and the dove or I not to see the card, then I toss the dove to audience and he will fly to the wand and land on the jumbo card that the volunteer has the small card, I then say I know what your thinking that the dove will always fly to the same spot, so I turn the jumbo cards around and change the order of the jumbo cards on the wand and the dove will fly to the right card.

I will put it on video on a web site soon so you can see what I am talking about,
But if you think you know how I have been training my doves to find a card, then e-mail me and I will tell you if you are right.