Vanishing Birdcage with Sleeves Rolled Up

Today I was playing with doing the vanishing birdcage with my sleeves rolled up like Tommy Wonder.

I’m using my Take Up Reel, but I’m not using a double action pull like Tommy Wonder used. The double action pull would reduce arm movement a little bit, however I have a lot of stuff happening on my back and I’m worried that adding another line and the bulk associated with that would be asking for trouble!

Honestly, I’m fine doing the vanishing birdcage with my sleeves down, it was fun to play with it today to see if I could!


Garbage Article on the Vanishing Cage

I’m a nerd when it comes to the vanishing birdcage and the other day I came across an article that was written to promote a magic kit website, so not intended for magicians. This article I’m guessing was written for SEO purposes. What struck me is that I’m 99% sure that this article was written by Chat GPT or something similar. It’s not written how anyone really writes.

Here’s the article:

Today, we delve into the realm of illusion again to explore a classic trick that has mesmerized audiences for decades — the Vanishing Bird Cage. Prepare to be amazed as we unravel the secrets behind this awe-inspiring illusion that never fails to leave spectators spellbound.

The vanishing bird cage magic trick is a masterful illusion that creates the illusion of a live bird disappearing in the blink of an eye and this trick has its roots in the rich history of magic, and its execution requires a combination of skill, precision, and showmanship. It has long been a favorite among both amateur and professional magicians alike.

A magician walks on stage, holding an ornate bird cage with a vibrant bird perched inside. Our cage is displayed to the audience, allowing everyone to see the bird inside. With a flick of the wrist or the utterance of a magical incantation, the bird and the cage appear to vanish into thin air, leaving spectators shocked and eager for an explanation.

While the Vanishing Bird Cage appears pure magic, it is a meticulously choreographed illusion. The cage itself is specially designed with hidden compartments and clever mechanisms. Or concealed elements allow the magician to manipulate the cage, giving the illusion that the bird has vanished.

Timing and misdirection play crucial roles in the success of the trick. The magician’s movements, gestures, and patter divert the audience’s attention from the cage itself, allowing them to precisely execute the necessary sleight of hand. The magician’s showmanship keeps the audience engaged and captivated throughout the trick.

Performing the vanishing bird cage trick requires significant practice and dedication and magicians spend hours perfecting their technique, ensuring their movements are seamless and natural. Mastery of the illusion requires understanding the cage’s mechanics and the ability to perform the trick smoothly without arousing suspicion.

The Vanishing Bird Cage trick is a testament to the power of magic to captivate and astonish audiences. Whether performed on stage or up close, this illusion has a timeless quality that continues to enthrall spectators of all ages. It serves as a reminder that magic is not merely about tricks but about creating moments of wonder and enchantment.


The Vanishing Bird Cage trick is a classic illusion that has stood the test of time. Its allure lies in the combination of artistry, skill, and showmanship to execute it successfully.

The article is factually inaccurate. What’s interesting about the vanishing birdcage is there are a couple of styles of it, the handheld style and the bigger style that sits on a table. And I’m pretty sure the AI that wrote that article can’t tell the difference between the two.

My advice is learn to write. If you’re trying to publish something for SEO purposes, you could do a better job and put more keywords into the article.


Vanishing Bird Cage on the News

Here’s one of the short media spots that I recently did. For the short spot, I decided to do the vanishing bird cage.

@louiefoxx Parakeet Trick on the News! #birdtricks #parakeet #birdcage #magictrick #kgw8 #magician #washingtoncountyfair #bigfairfun #louiefoxx #disappear #drewcarney ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

The nice thing about this trick is that it’s really visual, and doesn’t require really any explanation. For something like a pick a card type trick, there’s a lot of explanation and process that needs to happen before the magic. With these news spots, they say you have a minute or whatever, but in reality you may have a lot less!


Vanishing Bird Cage Costume Tip…

I’ve been doing the vanishing birdcage for years, and have never buttoned up my coat when I did the vanish.

@louiefoxx Taking my bird out for a walk between shows at the San Mateo County Fair! #sanmateocountyfair #countyfair #sanmateo @SanMateoCountyFair #magic #magician #birdtrick #louiefoxx #magictrick #parakeet ♬ Stolen Dance (Instrumental) – Milky Chance

Traditional advice is that you button up the coat as it takes away the idea that the cage goes into your coat. Last week when at a few library shows I buttoned up my coat before the vanish and at all three shows a kid said out loud that the cage went into my coat. It was handy that I could open the front of my coat to show nothing is there and that got me out of that.

I’m trying to decide if the kids thought that the cage went into my coat because I buttoned it up before the trick, or if something else is at play. However doing it at three shows and getting the same unwanted response tells me that I don’t need to button up my coat for the vanishing birdcage.


The Vanishing Birdcage

Last week at the fair I was performing at, I decided to to carry my vanishing birdcage on my walk from the dressing room to the stage I was on. Whenever anyone asked me about it, I made it disappear!

@louiefoxx Taking my bird out for a walk between shows at the San Mateo County Fair! #sanmateocountyfair #countyfair #sanmateo @SanMateoCountyFair #magic #magician #birdtrick #louiefoxx #magictrick #parakeet ♬ Stolen Dance (Instrumental)

It was a fun thing to go to give fair goers a special moment…and something that made my daily commute to the stage a little more fun!


About the Vanishing Birdcage

I recently got an email asking questions about the Vanishing Birdcage and I figured it might be helpful to more than just the person who emailed me, so here it is:

I see that you have a lot of knowledge about the vanishing bird cage. My dad used to do a little stage magic and this was my favorite! My son is now an aspiring young magician and I’d like to get him this trick. He’s been working on his technique for several years but is still only 11. I know this trick takes a lot of practice. I do not want to spend the thousands to get him a professional cage, but I also don’t want him to be discouraged (or cut!) by an inexpensive and poorly made cage while he learns. I’ve read through several threads on Magic Cafe and it seems most of the Indian cages can be dangerous, although there might be one or two that are ok. It also looks like I need to avoid any with loops?

I am writing to ask if you can recommend any websites, manufacturers, things to look for, things to avoid- any advice at all?

Let’s start with the safety of cages. Yes, they can cut you, but I honestly don’t think that’s really a huge concern. Anything that can cut you can also snag in your sleeve, so you should be inspecting your cage and finding those spots and eliminating them. I check my cages how Billy McComb did, by running a silk over them to find any thing that would snag in my sleeve. Tommy wonder did something similar with a piece of string. I have a couple of the Indian vanishing cages from various eras in my collection and I never really noticed any of them having any wires sticking out (that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any). The bigger concern with the newer Indian cages is that they are super heavy, and this makes the vanish more difficult. If getting cut is a concern go for an Abbott’s style cage with the red ribbon on it. I don’t think Abbotts is making them right now, but they frequently pop up used and should run about $100ish. There’s one on ebay right now for $275, and I DO NOT recommend paying that much for it.

There are some totally usable vanishing cages with the loops on the bars. The Milson Worth Vanishing Birdcages with the brass bars work fine and that’s the cage that the Indian Vanishing Birdcages are modelled after. A Milson Worth cage will run about $100-$150. There’s one on ebay right now for $95 and looks decent:

The bigger issue is size. I’m 5’8, so average height, but to pull full size cage like the Owen Vanishing Cage or even a full size Abbott cage up your sleeve may be the biggest challenge for an 11 year old. I’d recommend trying to find a small Abbotts cage or the Milson Worth cage as they’re smaller than the “standard” cages. Personally I used a National Magic and Owen Cage and were a bit too big for me, and about a year ago I switched to a Riser/Summers Baby Lindy Cage which is smaller and it works a lot better for me! However the price tag on the baby lindy cage is a lot, and it’s not really what I would recommend for a first cage.

With all of that information, I would lean towards the $95 one that’s on ebay if it was a purchase that you wanted to make now. If you are willing to wait an hunt around a bit, then a small Abbotts vanishing cage.

Hope that helps


Take Up Reel Question

A question I recently got asked about my Take Up Reel for the vanishing bird cage is how much can you move around with it on. My answers is that it gives you pretty much full range of motion.

For the last month I’ve been performing 2-3 shows a day and my 45 minutes show ends with the vanishing birdcage. I’m pretty physical in the show, and in the middle of the show I do some trick roping with the take up reel on my left wrist with the pull set to the long position.

trick roping

Right after the trick roping routine, I could reach over, grab the cage and vanish it. I don’t as the cage is about 15 mins later in the show, but in that picture the working end of the take up reel is in my right sleeve.

For me and how I perform, using a take up reel allows me to do the vanishing birdcage. It’d be impossible using just a wrist to wrist pull.


Good Structure, Okay Routine…

There are two things that are surprising me about performing for kids on this tour. The first is the lack of rules that I have to go over and the second is that I’m not needing to coach applause. I don’t know if it’s me as a performer getting better, or if it’s them being used to watching TV shows where people applaud for variety acts.

I figured out that the first real magic trick in the show I do is a production of a tennis ball. If I display it and just freeze, they will clap. This is done with no coaching or bits that tell them how to respond. It’s kinda blowing my mind that they are doing it on their own.

I’m closing the show with the vanishing birdcage and I’m getting kids to jump up to their feet and clap…also without any coaching. I’m essentially getting partial standing ovations from kids at a school assembly. I will say that my routine for the vanishing birdcage is structured fairly well, with how it’s paced and with the music cues. Also unlike most vanishing cage routines, my has a reappearance. It’s just the bird that reappears, but it’s a release of the audience’s tension and gives them a moment where they know they are supposed to applaud. I will say it’s the structure of the routine and not the routine that is what’s getting the reactions. The routine is just okay.

I’m working on the routine this tour and it’s getting better, but still has a lot of work that needs to happen. Most of the new bits I’ve been trying have been falling flat. This is just a case of continuing to write and hopefully it will eventually stick.

This is the work.


Learning a Show Quickly

I’ve completed day one of the school assembly tour. The show went better than I expected. One way that I worked on the show was listening to recordings of it while I drove my car. This is a very effective way to learn a show. It’s also a great way to work on the show. While listening to the show you will hear bits where you need filler or it will spark ideas for bits.

After the first two shows, I learned that my audio needed some tweaking, it needed to be louder or quieter at different spots.

Another thing I’ve notice is that my style for school assembly shows has really changed. I’m lower energy, but still fairly energetic. I also am not doing rules for the kids and for two shows it seemed to work. We’ll see how it plays out in the long run.

I also noticed that I have two tricks that are virtually the same trick in the show. Both are essentially a one out of five prediction, but both are presented very differently and also 30 mins apart in the show. I don’t think anyone notices that they are the same effect.

I’m also thinking that next week I’ll be doing the show with just a hand held microphone and not a headset microphone. This will allow me to set up quicker, but also I need to keep up with my handheld microphone technique.

I took this tour to work on stuff and I’m definitely doing that! There’s only one trick in the show that I’ve done in a show before.

Vanishing Birdcage Addition

Here’s another idea I’ve always wanted to try with the Vanishing Birdcage:

While I was at FISM I picked up a smoke device. These have come a long way since the late 1990’s when I became aware of them. This particular unit has a timer, so it you hit a button and it delays however long you set it, then it emits smoke for as long as you program into it. It’s pretty cool. The big addition to these is a fan that propels the smoke, and that’s the thing that I think was missing from a lot of the previous attempts at a smoke device.

I know that in the video above, my timing is off a little bit. It’s not a big deal as this isn’t something that I intend to ever do again, I was just curious what it would look like.

I do think it looks really cool, however having the take up reel and smoke device on one arm is a lot of stuff strapped to you and because of that I’ll never do it. I could be missing out…