I have owned this mechanical singing bird in a cage for quite a while, but I had yet to find a way to incorporate it into the Suitcase of Wonders that felt right to me. The bird cage originally came from a trick sold by Dick Barry called, "Singing Bird/Cage Production." In his presentation, the cage is produced from a rolled up cloth mat, which has been shown front and back several times. The method for showing the mat empty while concealing the cage is ancient, but Barry's contribution was to cleverly gimmick the cage so that the bird doesn't begin to sing until the cage is turned vertically and revealed to the audience, The result of a mechanical bird moving and singing when it surprisingly appears, makes the bird seem all that more real, A nice touch from Mr. Barry.
My problem was that the trick was too quick to be performed in the Suitcase on its own. I needed it to have a set up of some sort. Nagging me as well, was that there didn't seem to be a reason for the cloth mat to be in play.
So, the bird cage illusion sat silent and unused for a long while.
It took a simple card trick to make this effect part of a routine.
Because of aesthetics, I decided to replace the cloth mat that came with Barry's bird cage, with a nice bamboo placemat (the kind you can sometimes find at dollar stores). It then occurred to me that this mat could be placed on the stage floor of the Suitcase and be used as a close-up mat for a card trick. Now there was the reason for the mat! I would perform a quick card selection by spreading a deck of cards on the mat, After the spectator chooses a card, I would put the deck away, roll up the mat (a natural enough seeming act), and then proceed to show it on both sides several times before revealing a singing bird in a cage. Without delay, I would then open the cage door and pluck a tiny card from the bird's beak, which would be seen to match the chosen card.
The flow of the routine felt nice to me; The card selection process is (thankfully) brief, and the mat does not seem out of place as it transitions smoothly from being used for the card selection to producing the bird cage from within it. The routine doesn't get weighed down on the front end with too much card play.
It took a little while for me to come up with the idea of the bird wearing a ribbon with the dangling mini-card. I tried other ways for the card to be held by the bird's beak, but they were all unreliable, as the card always fell between the slats in the bottom of the cage. The ribbon and and tiny card was a good solution, plus it turned out to be a nice souvenir.
Some magicians might claim the magic in this piece could be stronger. For instance, the selected card could be signed, destroyed, and then shown to re-appear in the cage. Astounding, yes, but overused, and it would require more time being spent on the card trick part, generally not a plus in my mind. The routine as it exists is just long enough, has two surprising moments, and a unique novelty souvenir at the end that will always remind the spectator of that mysterious bird in a cage, who incidentally, sang because it knew the chosen card.