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ArtofDeception
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I need some serious help, I've never worked with animals in my act before but I've been interested in birds for a while but like parakeets better than doves for some reason, I would like some advice, are parakeets any different to work with? does anyone know what dvd's or books might help me with this? is the a special parakeet bag or what? I'd really like to know and I'd appreciate any help on the subject. thanks.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
hugmagic
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One word...Ramon Galindo. Expert on this. I do not know if Stevens Magic still has his items available.

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ArtofDeception
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Thanks for the info, I'll look for that. Anyone else have any suggestions or any advice? common sense? because I know nothing and anything will be greatly appreciated.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Bill Hegbli
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The Café has answered your question a number of times, I suggest you do a search or start reading this section.

I found this one to get you started: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=13

Good luck in your research.
ArtofDeception
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Thank you for the info
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
chrisweeks
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Check out Dave Womach's Products. He has a whole DVD series on Parakeet magic and some different types of harnesses.
Scott Burton
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FYI for friends in this section:
I listed my "A Bird in Hand" (the secrets of Bare Hand Parakeet Magic) set from Ramon Galindo http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......rum=77&0
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I'm only JUST starting to use one of my birds in the act, though we've raised hookbills (parrot family) for many years. I've never raised doves or ducks though so this is just my impression...

I think hookbills are probably more of a challenge for a few reasons. Doves (and ducks, I am told) go to sleep almost instantly if you put them in darkness. Hookbills will *generally* clam down but don't conk out so automatically.

Hookbills have tough, sharp little beaks. If they don't want to cooperate, and are given some time, they can chew through most anything short of metal. The little ones can chew through fabric and thin wood, my Macaw cracks Macademia nuts with his beak and can bore holes in trees.

I think hookbills are smarter, which isn't necessarily a good thing. It means more personality, which is great but it ALSO means more brains to outwit you and more stubbornness to try. My Macaw can literally open ANY mechanical device or latch short of a real lock or a very strong spring-clip.

If you are going to work with 'keets, I'd try to find a breeder or store who (a) hand weens and (b) will let you help. Its the best way to build a strong and lasting bond with your bird. Once the smaller hookbills decide they aren't hand birds, I've never been able to convince one otherwise (though I believe the Womacks have some good tricks for that.)

Final comment, DO get the Womacks training discs. I got the ones for large hookbills like Pickles (the Macaw) and they are wonderful.

Posted: Jul 15, 2010 7:56pm
Oh two more words.... clipped wings.

ALL my birds are more amenable and manageable when they know they can't fly.
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Dave Scribner
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I've never worked with parrots, hookbills or parakeets but it really bothers me when someone advises to clip the wings or tails of birds.

First, this isn't necessary and contrary to what many believe, it is noticeable to the audience when the bird spreads its wings. Not so much with a parakeet but with larger birds they do.

Second, if you don't have the time to practice with your birds sufficiently to make them feel comfortable and not want to fly off, then in my opinion, you shouldn't be doing magic with birds.

Finally, clipping the wings does not stop them from flying off. They are unbalanced and don't fly correctly but they can definitely fly to an extent.

The only cutting should really be a small trim of the tail feathers when they out of control.
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Cyberqat
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Sorry Dave, but I totally disagree here.

(1) There is no physical harm this does the birds. Physiologically it is exactly the same as a hair cut.

(2) Birds that fly away can and DO hurt themselves. I have a good friend who lost a beloved Cockatoo because it flew to the rafters and chewed on a piece of treated wood in the roof.

(3) As long as all you trim back are the inside feathers I don't believe it is visually noticeable by anyone but an expert, and even that's doubtful. My birds have always had their wings clipped as a matter of course by the vet and that's what all my vets have recommended clipping. I've never had anyone tell me they looked odd.

(4) Just like a small child (my Macaw is, in many ways, a 3 year old human) a bird that is in control is out of control. And a bird that is out of control is both not really happy (again like a small child) and a danger to itself. Unless you have the full-time time to spend with your bird reinforcing the fact that any flight must return to you, by allowing it flight you are allowing it an out from your control.

Btw, I don't know what kind of wing clip you're used to, but my birds cannot fly with clipped wings. They CAN still glide to the ground however (in a perfectly balanced fashion). Its important to leave that so they don't fall and hurt themselves.
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Dave Scribner
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Real wing clipping means that every other feather in the wing is cut short. That does not prevent flight but it does hamper it to some extent. It will still fly.

You don't need to spend full-time with a bird to have it fly back to you. Nothing says the bird has to fly back. Properly trained, which can be as little as 30 minutes a day at first, a bird will not fly off by itself. Occassionally, if startled it might but as a general rule, it will stay put.
Quote:
Birds that fly away can and DO hurt themselves. I have a good friend who lost a beloved Cockatoo because it flew to the rafters and chewed on a piece of treated wood in the roof.
Had it been completely trained not to fly off, this would not have happened.


Quote:
There is no physical harm this does the birds. Physiologically it is exactly the same as a hair cut.

I agree the actual trim does no harm and it is like a hair cut, however it's when the bird attempts to fly with trimmed wings that harm can occur. The bird is unbalanced without all of it's feathers and can fall or fly into an object

Birds are meant to fly. I would contend that a bird that cannot fly is less happy than one that can. When not performing, a bird needs to fly and excercise which it cannot do without all of it's feathers.

If you are comfortable restricting the birds' natural desires and don't have a problem clipping their wings rather than simply training, then that is up to you. I was just posting my opinion and feelings from years of experience. Again, as I mentioned above, I do not work with parakeets or large birds. All of my experience has been with doves so there may be a difference.
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Cyberqat
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Quote:
On 2010-07-16 20:49, Dave Scribner wrote:
Real wing clipping means that every other feather in the wing is cut short. That does not prevent flight but it does hamper it to some extent. It will still fly.


I don't know what you mean by "real wing clipping."

This is not how ANY of my vets have done it. Rather they clip a number of neighboring interior feathers.

Maybe this is a difference in terminology between your space and mine. In whichc ase we are simply talking about different things.

Quote:
You don't need to spend full-time with a bird to have it fly back to you. Nothing says the bird has to fly back. Properly trained, which can be as little as 30 minutes a day at first, a bird will not fly off by itself.


They key there being consistantly every day and an experienced bird trainer. If your business is bird training or bird working I can see this happening. If not, then not. But FWIW I know plenty of people who spend a lot more then 30 min a day with their hookbills who wouldn't necessarily trust this, or should they.

Quote:
Birds are meant to fly. I would contend that a bird that cannot fly is less happy than one that can. When not performing, a bird needs to fly and excercise which it cannot do without all of it's feathers.


Honestly, I believe this is projection. Having raised many cage birds I can tell you that they see their cage as home and safety and in fact, when taken out, will often return to that cage on their own as soon as it is offered.

In point of fact, although my Macaw likes to come out and play for a bit, he gets genuinely ****ed when I spend too much time in his cage. I need to move him to a stand when I clean it or he gets VERY territorial with me. that's HIS home, not mine.

Quote:
If you are comfortable restricting the birds' natural desires and don't have a problem clipping their wings rather than simply training, then that is up to you. I was just posting my opinion and feelings from years of experience.


Yup and I'm responding from many years of experience with hookbills and canaries.
I've only recently begun to learn anything about training, but I've got quite a lot of husbandry and pet-bonding experience. Even our most bonded hookbills are less cooperative when their wings grow in.

As you say, doves and others may be different. My entire dove experience consists of 4 weeks of nursing an injured wild one back to health, after which we released it.

Posted: Jul 16, 2010 11:18pm
I should add, btw, that hookbills are tree climbers. Climbing around their cage is very much their natural exercise regime. In the wild they spend a lot more time climbing then they do flying. Especially the larger ones.

Canaries otoh are very much fliers and I would agree should have a suitable flight cage. If a hookbill is going to be JUST a cage bird then I'd say sure, let its wings grow out and get it a large enough flight cage too. It'll still do mostly perching and climbing but a bit of flying wont hurt it any.
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Kyle^Ravin
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Dave, Cyberqat... I agree with the both of you on certain areas. First, I agree that wing clipping does make the bird look odd. Especially with Doves, where their means of balance is with the aid of flapping. I feel, a well trained bird would not want to 'try to get away'. The bird knows its safe and stays put. However, wing clipping has its advantages, especially for performers that run gigs at events. These birds are exposed to different conditions in almost every show and clipping wings does two things.

One, it prevents it from taking off from a sudden fright, maybe a camera flash or someone opening an umbrella at a fair ( suppose you're doing a fair show). Neatly clipping every other feather on just one wing prevents the bird from taking off and when flapping, it still looks fully feathered, considering the full feathered side is facing the crowd.

Yet, the bird can still take off if it really wants to. But, its a safety precaution. The outside world poses many dangers and many times, domestic birds might not have the same stamina as wild ones ( IMHO ) to fly far.

This reminds me of a story of one Singaporean magician who produced a parakeet ( budgerigar) at a carnival by the beach. He produced the bird from a mirror box and had it perched on his finger. Something suddenly got into the tyke and it decided to take off. HE flew in the direction of the sea, crossed the beach and whilst flying over the water, suddenly fell in. It was death he met. This is a bird that's very well trained and tame. For when it was a chick, it was under my care and this was a bird that was very used to the show life.

I just think, wing clipping helps alot. Preventing accidents and much more. Had the parakeet been clipped, he might have still taken off, but been only able to fly for a few feet. Not from the beach to the middle of the sea.

These are just based on my experience and opinions.
Dave Scribner
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I didn't mean to start any kind of heated debate over this. Just posting my experience and opinions on wing clipping. Kyle, if I were to clip the wings, I woul never only clip one side. It's not a matter of appearance but balance. You won't find any dove books or vids that recommend one side clipping.

As I stated before, I don't work with large birds or hookbill's so I bow to Cyberquats experience with them. They may be totally different than doves.

As to training, I mentioned 30 a day as a minimum. I personally spent hours each day with all of my birds. I've had a few fly off when produced and I think all dove workers have had that experience but I've never had one fly off of a perch. A good example of training is one or our members, Dynamike who does outdoor shows with his doves and leaves them perched out in the open. He doesn't cut their wings and had relied completely on training.

My birds like their cages as Cyberquat says about his birds, but they still need to get out and fly a bit to excercise. If your cage is a large aviary, then the situation is handled but if you're talking about small cages, then the flight is really necessary.
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Bob Sanders
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I really have to vote with Dave on this practice. Clipping magic birds' wings is worse than doing magic for a blindfolded audience.

1. It will not prevent a scared bird from trying to fly. This is a hardwired behavior.

2. It may not be healthy for the bird. And certainly takes a bird out of the show at some point. The feather will naturally drop, leave a gap and grow a new feather. Meanwhile, you'll need another bird.

3. Worst case on stage, the bird does escape but falls and the audiences watches your handicapped assistant struggle for survival. (So much for the magic show!)

Suggestions:

1. Even great magicians' birds can and will fly at inopportune moments. Learn to handle it. (If an escaped bird ruins a count later in the routine, have a spare bird available. Produce it if you need it. I'm new to magic after only 49 years of magic but I still have an extra bird available!)

2. I don't recommend invisible harnesses. But I will admit that I have used them in TV commercials when it was absolutely imperative that the dove stay in frame for the shot and outdoors. (Today, animation repairs that.) The primary use of those harnesses to me is to keep a bird from flying.

3. A strange but true recent experience: Lucy and I performed in an Elvis and Johnny Cash tribute show made live for television. When I got ready to vanish the dove cage, one of my most reliable doves escaped and flew to the lights. I recovered with jokes and finished the set.

When Elvis came out on stage, the dove flew to perch on the sound monitor closest to Elvis and watched him perform like a real Elvis fan. At the end of Elvis's performance all on stage took their bows as group charging girls (as scripted) rushed the stage. The frightened dove flew from her speaker perch to join me behind Elvis as we left stage. (She knew the show was over and that we go backstage to safety after taking a bow. LOL!) Yes, I was also back on stage with Elvis to play backup guitar for him. (But then 52 years ago I got my start professionally playing guitar behind movie stars and recording artists.)

The animals seem to actually enjoy show business. I had a rabbit who, I'm sure, knew the music for the entire show and had her own routines for it. (I'm glad the audience could not see her before time.)

Please don't clip wings.

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Cyberqat
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Quote:
On 2010-07-17 10:06, Bob Sanders wrote:
I really have to vote with Dave on this practice. Clipping magic birds' wings is worse than doing magic for a blindfolded audience.

1. It will not prevent a scared bird from trying to fly. This is a hardwired behavior.


This is not what its about, at least with my birds. Its about the attitude of the bird. And with my hookbills, the attitude changes a LOT when they are and aren't flight capable. Maybe its different if you work with your birds every day, but mine are much more willing to follow my lead when clipped.

Quote:
2. It may not be healthy for the bird.


I've had no avian specialist vet tell me that. And all my clips are done BY such specialists. I have two reasons for that. The first is I want to be sure its done right. The second is that there is no question that the birds dislike the process and Id rather they not associate me directly with it. (Before you make too much of that, tell me a bird that likes *any* handling by the vet, or a kid who likes having their hair cut.)

Quote:
And certainly takes a bird out of the show at some point. The feather will naturally drop, leave a gap and grow a new feather. Meanwhile, you'll need another bird.


Sure. The feathers drop and regrow. It takes them time to grow in to full length and when they are growing they are alive and should be left alone. When its full grown and no longer a "blood feather", you do another clip.

Hookbills do *most* (but not all) of their feather drop and new growth in periodic molts so you can let a full molt complete, the feathers regrow, then do a clip of all the new ones pretty much at once. Are doves different? Do they shed more singly?

Quote:
3. Worst case on stage, the bird does escape but falls and the audiences watches your handicapped assistant struggle for survival. (So much for the magic show!)


Well I have to admit here that, although I'm a birder and have raised them for many years, this is my first experiment with one in performance. And my venues are not large halls packed full of people. So, maybe in such a professional setting it is a valuable Safety feature for the bird to be able to fly. I am going to beg off simply on ignorance on that one.

However, I do know my birds are both more trainable and all around manageable with clipped wings. In my settings they are also in far more danger of flying to somewhere inappropriate and hurting themselves then getting trampled under feet if they hop down. If they do I simply reach down and they hop right back to my hand. Matter dealt with. This image you paint of a poor disabled bird staggering around simply isn't real.

So, while I have a great deal of respect for you Bob, I'll continue to disagree with you on this point.
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Dave Scribner
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Quote:
Well I have to admit here that, although I'm a birder and have raised them for many years, this is my first experiment with one in performance.


cyberqat: I think this may be why we are having this disagreement or discussion. I could be wrong but it seems like you do not perform with your birds. Bob and I are both dove workers and have been for many years. There is a huge difference between simply raising the birds and using them in performance. In performance, clipping is not recommended and is not necessary as I've mentioned before. The proper amount of training with create a bond with the dove and also make it feel comfortable sitting on it's perch.

You've stated several times the you vet hasn't mentioned anything about wing clipping or the possible health ramifications. They are being paid to do what you ask them to do. The may not volunteer such information unless asked directly.

Quote:
This image you paint of a poor disabled bird staggering around simply isn't real
Unfortunately, this is a real situation and very possible. When a dove is produced that has clipped wings, it cannot fly properly increasing the risk that it will either fall to the floor or fly into something. Either of those situation can cause the bird to stagger around the stage. I'm sure you wouldn't want to be holding a child and accidently drop it on the floor. Doves are the same. They are meant to fall down. Such a fall can hurt them.

I think we'v pretty much covered all the bases here. You are comfortable clipping the wings of your birds. They are yours and you can do whatever you like with them but Bob, myself and other dove workers prefer not to take that action. I guess it all comes down to a matter of choice.
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Cyberqat
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Granted Dave, on most of the above. And as I think we have both commented, there are real differences between Doves and Hookbills as well as the venues we are bringing our animals into. Although my birds *do* go into social settings with me, and if this all works out nicely Sunny will be performing with me, these are still relatively small and informal venues that are closer to a social setting then to a people-packed hall.

Id note however that Kyle's story above about a highly trained and bonded parakeet getting startled and flying into a situation it couldn't handle is from a serious bird worker, and matches my own experiences with hookbills as well as other bad situations I have been told about.

I also take mild exception to your characterization of veterinarians. No vet *I* would *EVER* use would perform a procedure they deemed harmful just because I was paying them. They are doctors and they take the hippocratic oath seriously. Just because the patient is not a human doesn't change that.

Let me be clear that I DON'T think wing clipping is a *substitute* for either bonding or training. In my experience however, with my hookbills, it is all around a good thing. They are both safer and more cooperative when they have had a proper trim.

Edit; Oh and P.S. No, the "disabled bird stumbling around" CANT happen because my birds are neither disabled nor do they stumble. The glide just fine. And walk/climb just fine. They simply cannot generate enough lift to gain altitude. Which is to say they thus cannot fly. But they don't "stumble" and "disabled' is a value judgement.

Posted: Jul 18, 2010 7:40pm
P.S. A quick internet scan indicates that there are plenty of people equally passionate on both sides of this particular argument. What I don't see however is any generally accepted avian veterinary association that states that it is harmful.

SO I think we need to just agree to disagree, much like the rest of the bird enthusiast community.

Oh, and I certainly do commend you both on the obvious concern you have for you avian assistants. You certainly demonstrate what I told my wife after we saw "the Prestige". Which was that, while I understood what the writer was doing in terms of foreshadowing, one of the biggest mistakes in the movie was the idea that ANY bird magician would kill a bird just for the sake of a trick. You have to love animals to begin with to want to work with them.
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Dave Scribner
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I'll agree to disagree. I think this has been a very informative discussion albeit some misunderstandings. Be assured that I did no mean that vets were insensitive or would purposely mislead a patient simply because they were being paid. I believe the "harm" that Bob and I were alluding to was when a bird falls because of the clipped wings, it could hurt itself. I don't believe a bird would contract any disease or become infected in any way if there wings are clipped.

I'm glad you birds glide and do not fall. Obviously a difference between hookbills and doves.
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Cyberqat
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Must be. I'll remember it though if I ever start working with a dove.

Thanks for your insight and experience.

JK
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
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