"What Now My Dove?"
 by Doug Higley (copyright 2018)
ComicToons by Doug

This is something I came up with for my act in the early 1960‘s. It’s still fun!
So once you magically produced your dove now what? Or say you are at a bird show and there are doves for sale...Using the Natural Instincts of the bird makes for a brief and funny routine and will make folks think you are the worlds greatest INSTANT bird trainer! Use ANY Dove (preferably with a flight feather clipping* so they don't fly away!!!)

First of course you do the Dove Hypno that we all know**... but now take it a bit further. If you cradle any dove in the palm of your hand (upright not on its back) and hold the bird GENTLY you will notice that if you move your hand slightly the dove will adjust his TAIL feathers to compensate for the balance shift, either up or down.

Take the dove in your left hand and palm cradle it and have your hand so that the feathers of the tail are aimed down and toward you. With the SLIGHTEST imperceptible move of your LEFT hand (it can't be seen if done right) slowly cause the feathers of the tail to rise up...meanwhile, your RIGHT hand is simultaneously making hypno motions with the fingers to 'RISE', then down, then up, etc. You can use 'commands' if you like...'Up please' or 'Down please'. Don't wear it out!

I usually end that with a little fart sound and make the tail go UP fast. The kids crack up of course. (so do some adults :-)

The Salute:

Then to end the routine have the dove wave goodbye or salute the folks you are demonstrating to. Again cradle the dove and if you touch GENTLY on the shoulder of the RIGHT wing, the LEFT wing will rise in a salute. Or for a political audience Left or Right will work.

You have no idea how this goes over at a pet shop or bird show. The folks think it is a trained bird! It also is a neat addition to your act as people love animals and it's a very gentle performance, getting some 'stage time' for the bird .


Hold the dove in the 'palm cradle' position as above but this time hold it up level with your face to the left side. Say a few words about Doves and..."These are the most BEE-U-TI-FUL birds..."
As you say the word 'beautiful' turn your head toward the Dove and make the Tail go UP so in effect you are looking straight into it's butt! Make a face and look back at the audience...as you turn to the audience have the Dove tail go DOWN. Look back at the Dove and the tail goes back up with you once again staring into the void. Look back at the audience, tail goes back Down. GLANCE back at the bird (tail down) and quickly turn your head toward the bird as the tail shoots up. A couple of these moves should get the chuckles. Clown Comedy enhancement: With a Large magnifying Glass be looking at the bird as it perches on your finger as if you are a bird watcher, or use a small pair of toy binoculars etc. When you get to the 'palm cradle' and 'look into the void' using the glass, exagurate your shocked reaction. (You might not have to! Good point to add, KEEP YOUR BIRDS CLEAN!)

The Dove Lie Detector: (using above principle)

"Folks...in training my bird 'Bob' here I found out that he/she, has an amazing ability! Did you know that Doves can act as Lie Detectors? It's true! When you see that this Doves tail is in the DOWN position then everything being said is the TRUTH! I swear it! (Tail goes UP).
It's really amazing (tail down) how this works...when I have the Dove out I can never lie! (Tail goes UP.) Because if I lie the Tail goes UP! (Tail Down)
and it works with anybody...when the tail is down it's the truth...if the tail goes up it's a lie...when I bought this bird from David Copperfield.. (Tail UP)...I ...uh...when I bought the bird from the Pet Shop (Tail Down) I had no idea that the 500 hundred dollars I spent (Tail UP)...uh...that the Five dollars I spent (Tail Down)...etc. etc."

Of course if you have a person from the audience on stage you can ask them questions...and what ever answer they give the bird reacts to the opposite. The possibilities are endless but the bit isn't...I wouldn't drag this on too long...but it CAN be done as a running gag if you use more than one audience helper.


**Dove Hypno for those who don't know...Lay the bird on it's BACK in your palm, GENTLY with the other hand stroke the head down over the thumb side edge. It is a natural for the Dove to remain laying flat and looking 'out cold'. Maybe at first it will 'come out of it' a bit quicker than you want it to, but after a few times you and the bird will get the hang of it and how to steady your hand so the bird just lays there as long as you want.

The Twist: I have even had a few of my birds to the point where I could lay them out side by side on a table or on the TOP of the Vanishing Bird Cage before putting them in! Now that's a sight! ( I have done this with up to 5 birds at a time...more might be overkill. Heads must contine to hang over the edge) It is fast and it's pretty! Be sure when you 'wake them' up (light finger touch on the belly) you allow them to flutter those beautiful wings perched on your finger so folks can see they are fully recovered from their 'hypnotic state'.

So folks...after you produce your Dove give it some 'face time' rather than just put it away for the next trick. People love the birds and love to see them for more than a 'flash in the pan'!

*Flight Feather clip Tip: Have somebody who KNOWS what they are doing show you how. Warning: Cutting a feather too close to the base can cause injury and bleeding! If you don't know how or which feathers, DON'T do it yourself! Only a slight alteration to the flight feather configuration is needed...keep those wings gorgeous for The Salute! I have seen some performers who drastically alter the wing by cuttting too many feathers and it looks lousy when that bird stretches it's wings. A slight alteration will keep the bird from getting too far IF they decide to vacate... and eventually (doesn't take long either) the bird gets the message and does not even try. The point is to alter so they can not gain Altitude...a little flapping glide off the perch to the floor or your hand 'catch' is much better than ugly knubby wings on your SHOW BIRDS!

Feed them correctly...keep them clean...treat them gently and you will have a Co-Star for a long long time who will compliment your act with beauty and a little comedy to boot.

Dove Pan WARNING! Do NOT load your birds too early...Do NOT leave them in the pan for more than a couple of minutes MAX. There is no air...it is hot and you can produce a wet, drooping nearly dead or DEAD bird. Make sure your assistants understand this as well. Trust me on this one!

Have fun! Doug Higley             

Copyright © Doug Higley 2018
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