Magicians love working with doves. They make them appear out of handkerchiefs, bowling balls, and decks of cards. They produce them from little cages and popping balloons. They chase them around the theater when they won't fly back to their perch, show them tricks when relatives get sick of watching magic practice, and eat them when restaurant magic just isn't paying the bills.

But why doves? True, other animals are used in magic -- most notably rabbits, tigers, elephants, and (until the early 20th century) passenger pigeons -- but doves are by far the most common. The reason for this is threefold:

  1. Doves are white and show up nicely against a dark suit,
  2. Doves are the only bird that can be completely dehydrated, stored in a small space (such as a sleeve), and then rehydrated and instantly returned to life with no more damage than a bit of a confused look in the eye, and (most importantly),
  3. Doves are appealing and cheap.

Sure there are more exotic or exciting birds than Doves, but any magician worthy of the name will tell you it's better to use double-sided tape to stick a $2 dehydrated dove under your lapel than to try and keep a screeching bald eagle up your sleeve, what with the massive claws, bone-crushing beak, felony violations of federal law, and all.

There is a downside to using doves, of course. For example, they must be trained, housed, and fed. Magicians keeping doves are considered to be a business with working livestock by the federal government and therefore their homes are classified as farms, which may cause both zoning and taxation issues, but can also bring potentially lucrative subsidies for not growing certain crops. Dove workers also traditionally have very high dry-cleaning bills.End of story

If you would like to learn more about giving magic the bird, visit Hank Lee's Magic Factory

The information on this site is intended for use only by those with a sincere desire to learn nothing about magic and is for entertainment purposes only (in other words, don't try this stuff, particularly the dangerous parts). The Magicians Assistance Collective (MAC) frowns upon the use of magic in the formation of religions or to attract a cult following.

Magic is not real. Reality is not magic.

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