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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Dove Advice From the Magical Hamners Exoctic Bird Act. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magictim
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Veteran user
Fayetteville, Arkansas
396 Posts

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I had a chance in March to meet the Hamners in Branson. Great people. We discussed doves and his act on the World's Greatest Magic 4. Mr. Hamner told me that you have to pick and choose the birds if you want a good return flight. He said Tony Clark and others never mentioned this on the videos. What do you guys think of this? Do you pick and choose the good one? What do you look for?

~Tim Smile
Kingry
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Elite user
Virginia
457 Posts

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I have one male that almost was born trained. In 15 min I was tossing him out over 6 feet and he returned every time.
Jason Wethington
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Special user
Orlando, Fl
615 Posts

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Tim,

The statement is very true about picking the birds. I have been involved with and around educational animal shows for the past 6 years. Some animals respond better than others. I have two cockatoos that never made it to perform in a show because they were afraid of large groups of people and had trouble flying down to a trainer from a high perch.

I have seen other cockatoos of the same species and sex master the routine. Animals are just like people, they have their own personalities.

I look for (I know this is anthropromorphic) an outgoing personality.
An animal that enjoys being around peopole and isn't shy. When you see it you'll know what I mean.

I have a question for you though:

"If you get involved with incorporating animals into your show and one doesn't perform as you want it to, what are you going to do with that animal?"

Are you willing to give the animal a home even though it didn't work out in the show? I think this is an important question to answer and is often not asked initially.
I am curious to know your thoughts,
Jason
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5120 Posts

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Good point, Jason. Most performers don't stop to think about what's involved with keeping the birds, even if they don't use them in an act. They raise babies because they're cute, but then don't take care of them properly when they're grown. I raise my own birds and the ones I don't use, get the same attention as the "actors".

I think, however, that there is a difference between selecting doves and selecting exotics. That's most likely why it's not mentioned on videos by Tony Clark and others. Amos Levkovitch does talk about selecting healthy doves on his videos but trying to select a dove that will be a good performer might be rather difficult.

Maybe I've just been lucky with my 40 or 50 birds in my lifetime, but like Kingry's, most were "trained" from birth. I believe it all comes down to care and attention. I treat my birds with an attitude of "doves are people too" and they have always done well for me.
Where the magic begins
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20507 Posts

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With white doves, the differences are not great. They are easy to train, regardless of age. Just remember that they can't do tricks that require a series of steps. Dogs are much smarter!

When I select birds for the show, I really look for overall appearance and try to use doves of about the same age, whatever that might be. Some have been working 10-12 years. Once in a great while I will find a bird that is an absolute jerk. By that, I mean they fight other birds, pace, and as adults exhibit juvenile behaviors (raising wings when you reach for them). Fortunately, since I keep about a hundred white doves all the time, an alternative to being in the show is raising other doves' babies (We switch eggs!). They do that just fine. Academically, I wonder if that is really a type of dove retardation that simply limits social development.

If you saw dove magic around Branson, odds are very good that you saw doves that were offspring of my doves. Especially while I lived in Fayetteville, Akansas, we produced a very large volume of doves and sold them to performers, dealers and theme parks. We shipped doves all over the USA. The climate there was perfect for raising good Java doves. I liked living in Arkansas, but my home's in Alabama. There is no recording industry in Arkansas.

The most important factor in return flight training is lighting control. (Too much said, the book will be ready this fall.)

Enjoy your doves!

Bob
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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