Bird Watcher

Published on Sunday, April 03, 2005 in , ,

Tenyo has a reputation among magicians as a maker of cheap plastic tricks that are only good for kids. While this reputation may be largely deserved, there are some hidden gems in the mix, as well.

One of their tricks that may interest readers of this blog is Bird Watcher. This is a two-phase routine in which you determine the total number of birds shown on 6 cards (each two-sided with different numbers of birds), first by apparently counting them as fast as Dustin Hoffman's character counts toothpicks in the movie Rain Main, and while sealed in a box in the second phase.

For those who enjoy the basic presentation, Tenyo has also posted Tomas Blomberg's additional phase, which is meant to be performed between the two phases taught in the instructions (the routine will only make sense if you already have the routine).

Yes, as with many other Tenyo products, the cards and the box are made from plastic. In this case, though, it actually works for the routine, because the cards can be justified as flash cards used to teach kids counting. As a matter of fact, an excellent presentation for the routine could involve how your parents found out that you were a little different from other kids by using these very flash cards, which you've kept to this day for sentimental reasons (and if you kept them from when you were a kid, they'd have to be plastic to survive this long, wouldn't they?).

The principle behind the trick isn't new, original or earth-shaking, and you won't strain your brain performing it. Rather, it's a simple mathematical principle presented in a potentially charming presentation (on which you can keep your focus).

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