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Profile of ebyrne
So I was curious in general about what types of birds can be used for stage illusions. I apologize if it has been asked before, but I did not know what to search for.

Anyone, is there a particular reason why doves seem to be always used, or is it just traditional inertia? For example, I used to have a cockatiel. Would a bird of that nature be suitable for the same tricks, or could it harm the bird?

Thanks, Gene. Smile
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Profile of JJDrew
I'm in the process of training my parrot to be part of my show, and different species of birds DEFINATELY react differently to the same stimuli. The right kind of bird would depend on what you want to do with it. Doves are good for productions and such because they are fairly mellow and not too intelligent (apologies to anyone who owns a genius dove and reads this, I could be wrong). Their temperment is certainly one of the reasons that so many magicians use them. I would like to produce my parrot, but he hates restraints of any sort. We're working on it but I don't know if he'll ever be cool with the idea.
However, he's terrific for comic work. I've never owned doves so I can't say how they would be for this, but parrots love to chew. His first "trick" he learned within a week of coming to live with me. I use him as the revelation method in a standard "pick a card" trick. He selects the spectator's card and proceeds to methodically chew it to bits. After he's punched a few holes, I take it, put it back in the deck, and then say "All right, now it's MY turn to find the card." Not only does he do this with no training, but he considers getting to chew on a playing card a treat so performing the effect is its own reward.
There's a lot of literature available on different kinds of birds and their usual temperments. Look at books about birds as pets rather than books of magic. (Birds for Dummies is actually a very well-written book with a lot of insight into this subject.) I'd advise figuring out what kind of effect you want to do and THEN find species of birds that would be appropriate.
Then, before you go and buy any old bird, find one you connect with. Every bird has its own personality and will like and dislike different things and people (including you). I would reccommend, once you've chosen a species, to find an individual that you would like as a pet/companion even if it never went into the act. That way, if things go awry with performing, you won't mind and you'll still have an awesome bird around.
All that said, I'm still a beginner in the magic arena and can only say that this is the path I myself chose to take. There are other users here that clearly have much more experience than I do training animals and will probably have a lot more insight into the issue. Good luck to you.
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Profile of Bob Sanders

There many birds currently used magic. Lucy and I use doves and geese now. But we have used ducks, guineas, baby turkeys, and chickens. We also have a quaker parrot named Dobbie that has never worked out. In the early 80s I tried parakeets too.

An interesting story currently on The Café is about Matilda the hen. She is the oldest chicken in the world and still does magic. (Her understudy died of old age!)

I have always wanted to use an emu and ostrich. But courage only goes so far.

Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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