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Topic: Magic with large birds
Message: Posted by: bry1513 (Oct 11, 2005 05:31PM)
I've already performed a search but can not find any information (books, videos, dvds) that deal with large bird magic (parrots, cockatoos, ect.) Any help and/or direction would be appreciated.

Take care, Bry
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Oct 11, 2005 09:52PM)
Do a search for "Dave Womach". He has two videos on parrot magic.
Message: Posted by: MDS (Oct 11, 2005 10:02PM)
This my sound harsh, but the best advice that I can give you from my 10 years of experience working with exotic birds and my 14 years as a magician is, if you are thinking of using exotic birds DON'T. They are a pain in the neck and traveling with them is enough to make you crazy.

Message: Posted by: PyroJeffNic (Oct 12, 2005 01:08AM)
Dave Womach is definitely the way to go.
Message: Posted by: bry1513 (Oct 12, 2005 05:27PM)
Thanks guys......

Take care,

Message: Posted by: Eric Buss (Oct 13, 2005 01:41AM)
Matthew is right...
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Oct 13, 2005 08:45AM)
On 2005-10-11 23:02, MDS wrote:
This my sound harsh, but the best advice that I can give you from my 10 years of experience working with exotic birdsand my 14 years as a magician is, if you are thinking of using exotic birds DON'T. They are a pain in the neck and traveling with them is enough to make you crazy.

I've been using macaws and cockatoos in my shows for the past ten years, too. I'm almost crazy now. I get stressed out making them as comfortable as possible during travels. I would rather bring no animals at all but I am also proud of them that's why I do it.
Message: Posted by: magicmanila (Oct 14, 2005 09:09AM)
Believe this guy (Lou Hilario) I've assisted him numerous times. He's even more stressed than the birds! The birds are much much more relaxed than he is! LOL!!!
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Oct 16, 2005 02:38PM)
I have a 26 year old blue front green amazon parrot as a companion pet. They have the mentality of a 5 year old, which can be really cute at times but equally horrific. Our Dickie (that's his name... he earns it) is quite intelligent although I would imagine it to be extremely difficult to train him for stage.


..and NO I would not hang him (or his cage) by my nipples
Message: Posted by: MDS (Oct 20, 2005 11:40PM)

That is very true, it is very difficult and darn near impossible to train a bird to work in a show if it isn't a baby. It is not impossible, but near.


I agree that it does have its rewards, but it has its stressful times as well. I am pretty much to the point that I don't use my macaw in shows very often. Actually I very rarely use any livestock anymore because I am traveling sooooo much and doing corporate gigs. Even in my illusion show I don't use livestock unless it is especially requested and in that case they pay for it.

Listen to Eric guys, he is a professional that has toured the world (Plus he has shared a dressing room with me and knows how annoying having large birds can be).
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 21, 2005 11:49AM)
Was it the bird that was annoying? Just kidding. Hope all is well.

Your remarks are right on target. I know their is a marketing point to using livestock but it is a hassle. I'll stick to flowers and silks. No feed. No Mess.

Message: Posted by: Eric Buss (Oct 21, 2005 12:13PM)
Airports, bird flu, and bird crap... all reasons to avoid magic with livestock
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 23, 2005 09:53AM)
Lucy has done a Tea Party routine for years with a goose. She also owns the only stage prop custom made for "Goose to Goat". (The magenta stuff behind her in the photo)

Yep, it's done!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: puckmagic (Oct 23, 2005 12:20PM)
If you are a local performer or have a permanent theater like Lance, and Rick Thomas then a big bird is the way to go. On the other hand if you travel and do one nighters then using a big bird can be very difficult. I only use the birds when specifically requested to do so.

When I first started performing the birds were like a crutch. You think to your self that it always gets a great reaction and establishes you as a skilled magician so you can't work with out them. The truth is once you've built that confidence in yourself and your act you don't really need the birds.

Some of the greatest magicians in comedy, mentalism, and illusion once did dove acts. McBride, Lupo, Sigfried, Copperfield, and the list goes on..... And in that time travel with animals was a lot easier. For that case in the past eight years that I've traveled with birds it has dramatically changed. The events of New Castle's, West Nile, SAR's,Bird Flu, and of course 911 have made travel with birds is almost impossible.

In my opinion find other ways to make your magic memorable. This is just not the time or place for the Bird Act right now.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 23, 2005 03:46PM)

I agree with you totally about animal acts on the road. Given a choice we do not usually take animals far from home. This week we were close by so we used a horse. In September we were in New York and didn't even carry doves. This coming week I'm in Tennessee but not taking doves. A few weeks back I was in Houston (to just be run out by hurricane Rita!) and carried no birds. I have also carried birds for shows days away.

The best arrangement is working at the same location every show so that nothing has to be moved. Often life is not that good. (The uncle that raised me was also a rodeo producer. Take 130 horses, 40 calves, 80 steers and 40 to 60 one-ton bulls down the road for the shows! Birds and rabbits become no problem. (Of course magicians don't make that kind of money either.)

I don't agree with you that confidence has anything to do with whether we use birds, horses, goats, geese or rabbits. (And we use them all!) It is a matter of what the talent buyer bought. That's what they get. I have even used live lobsters.

Timing is the most important part of a rain dance. We do agree that the timing is poor to travel internationally with birds.

Confidence isn't a factor if you are a pro. You are a performing magician or you're not. The tricks and props are incidental.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: puckmagic (Oct 24, 2005 12:49PM)

To use a quote from TA Waters, Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians..."While exotic animals may add momentary interest, their presence alone will not sell an act.

I am only suggesting to a magician thinking about adding exotic birds to his act that it is not at all necessary. Ask any magician that started out working with birds that he truly becomes dependent upon them. The hardest thing for a bird act to do is branch out without taking his feathered friends.

The confidence I spoke about is what is important for any successful magic act. It's even more important for a dove act since the birds sometimes will buy you a performance pass. I have seen even the worst dove act do ok with a lay audience. His performance to me was weak but the audience put stock in the birds anyway. Once a starting magician gets this acceptance just for the flapping of a dove he has a tendency to think that he's good. When you can hold an audience with out livestock that to me is the confidence needed for a true performer.

When I had my permanent show I was doing and hour that included the bird act in the beginning. At the end of the show the audience that I spoke with hardly ever mentioned the birds. They had just seen an hour of comedy, audience participation, manipulation, and illusions. That let me know how unimportant the birds had become.

Even the greatest dove act of our time in my opinion, James Dimmare has desperetly tried to discard the birds. He has branched out into illusions, comedy, talking, and other fields of magical performance. This should be a sign.

Just food for thought......

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 24, 2005 04:22PM)

Point well-taken.

Sometimes the identity drives us. It can trap you. One of the best guitarist I ever knew was Roy Orbison. People would only let him sing.

Magic By Sander