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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Loading a dove bag (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Loyal user
St. Catharines, ON. Canada
213 Posts

Profile of Shaner316
What is the best way to load your dove in the dove bag? I tried several times with both of my doves and neither one seemed interested. I tried several different handlings with them (Grabbed from above etc. They don't like that much.) but all they wanted to do was squirm and get away. I tried it a few times (With a break in between as not to get them all freaked out) but nothing seems to work.

Is there an easier way to load a dove? Any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong?

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157 Posts

Profile of magicman414
Didn't You just get your Birds?

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Special user
879 Posts

Profile of sperris
It depends on if you're referring to a dove bag illusion or a dove holder. If you mean a dove holder/bag then it depends on the model you have. There are plenty of rip-offs and just plain bad holders on the market.

Generally the majority require you to hold the dove in the standard position: grabbing gently but firmly from above with one hand and having the holder open and somewhat wrapped around your open fingers of the other hand. Slide/load the dove into the holder tail first and wrap the sides of the holder around the wings of the dove. Make sure he is snug and secure inside and fasten the release mechanism. If it is a dove bag generally you should be able to just slide it into the pocket and close it with the snaps or Velcro depending on what it uses.

Didn't you get instructions with your dove holder? If you're looking for a good quality holder check out Andy Amyx's holder, available off his web site, or General Grant's dove holder.
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20495 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
Dove loading is seldom the best part of the show. It is just a necessary step. You can campaign the same doves for weeks but I don't think they ever like being loaded. It should not harm them but doves do not like being off their feet.

Therefore, this is the "Bob trick for bird loading" for what it's worth. Anytime I pick up a dove I try to let him perch on my finger first. Then I cover him with my other hand and transfer his feet to the thumb or second finger of that hand. I flip them on their backs to put their tails into the harness first. (Remember that I do not clip feathers. Birds in bad feather stay home. That's why I try to keep about a hundred of them. If your harnesses require clipping tail feathers, I think you need different harnesses.) I use the free hand to bring the tail feathers together into a point to fit well into the harnesses. Then the bird is turned right side up again. There is usually very little fight here because he has my thumb or finger to hold with his feet. The Velcro and/or snaps closest to the head are closed.

The fight is when I try to get my thumb or finger back. But at this stage the bird's tail and neck are securely contained and the tips of the wings are under the tube part of the harness that holds the tail. They cannot raise their wings. The harness is closed along the back as my hand (thumb or finger actually) is removed from the harness. I check under the harness to be sure that the dove's feet are comfortable. (Most doves prefer them forward.) Then I load the bird into his location for the show.

If they appear to be uncomfortable, I make no bones about reloading immediately. I don't want wiggling lumps on stage. It's a deal that has served me well at least three plus decades. We've had birds that worked up to sixteen years. Never have I had a bird injured in a harness or in a show. I plan to die that way.

I do produce a couple of birds a night without harnesses. I don’t use invisible harnesses at all any more. So that is not a harness problem. (The other part of that operation I’m not ready to release yet.)

Give yourself plenty of time. Being in a hurry takes twice the time!

Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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Veteran user
Seattle, Wa
335 Posts

Profile of zaubern
Tony Clark as well as others have some great advice in video and print that talk about this issue. Also as pointed out if your bag is not built right you will have a harder time...
Zaubern Smile
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5015 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
Some harnesses, like Gen Grant's, solve the problem for you. When opened, they lay almost flat on the table. Just set the dove on it and fold the sides around the bird. You may have to gently persuade the dove to sit a little but after awhile, you'll find it gets easier and the bird will hunch down a bit automatically. Peter White's holder operate the same way
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New user
Miamisburg Ohio
72 Posts

Profile of LarryTaylor
I think that the best way to learn to bag and or harness and load doves is to have someone show you hands on. That is how I learned. I hope that anyone interested in dove magic would do the same.It is easier on the doves and it is easier for the magician.
Good Luck!
Magical Entertainer,teacher and creative consultant.
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