In the duck trick, Copperfield first presents a bucket, shows that it's empty and gives it to one of the spectators to hold. He then takes a duck and puts it into a box. He then takes the box apart, and we see that the duck has disappeared! He then walks back to the bucket the spectator is holding and opens it. To our great surprise, the duck jumps out of the bucket. It looks like the duck was teleported from the box to the bucket! And to top that, Copperfield then repeats the trick – in slow motion.
Look at the performance and see if you can figure it out yourself:
So, how did he do it? First of all, let's look at the bucket. Copperfield tries very hard to convince us that the bucket is empty. But let's look at it more closely. You will notice that the bucket is half-covered. Why on earth is that necessary? Surely Copperfield isn't trying to hide something from us?
The reason the bucket is half covered and its interior is not entirely visible is that there is something in the bucket. What exactly is that, you ask? The answer is obvious: the duck! The duck was not teleported into the bucket – it was there from the very beginning. Magicians are known to be very good at hiding birds into very small spaces. Dove magicians often have their clothes completely full of doves, packed into really tight spaces to make them basically invisible to the observer. So the duck is hidden under the half of the lid on the bucket, probably in a very uncomfortable position.
The answer is surprising: the first duck wasn't a real duck at all! The only two real ducks are the one shown at the very beginning and the one in the bucket. Copperfield first displays a real duck and hands it to his assistant. Later, he returns to the assistant to retrieve the duck. However, that is not the same duck. In fact, it is not a duck at all. While the audience is distracted with the bucket, the assistant switches the real duck for a fake, inflatable one. And when Copperfield comes for the duck, he gets the fake one. This fake duck can be deflated very fast. The moment he puts it in the box, Copperfield deflates it and then easily removes it together with one of the plates.
All he then has to do is walk to the bucket, open it, and release the real duck which was waiting inside the whole time!