HAMMOND, LA — The Louisiana Renaissance Festival has its own air show. No jets or helicopters; the show has falcons, owls, hawks and a parrot instead.
Falconer Kitty Carroll brings her 40 years of experience to the show. She has nearly 20 birds. She’s had many of them since they were very young.
“She’s a total imprint,” Carroll says as she pulls one of her owls out of its cage. “I’m his mama,” she adds while pointing to another.
During the falconry show, Carroll and her team bring many birds around for the audience to see. Others she allows to fly from their cages to the center of the stage where she has a waiting post or outstretched arm ready for their landing.
The show is interactive with the audience. At one point, one of the hawks might jump into the crowd and give everyone an up-close look. Moments later, Carroll asks for a child to volunteer from the audience to hold one of the landing posts.
But the show is about more than bird watching. Carroll teaches the crowd about species of wild birds that they could see in their neighborhoods. She also talks about the environmental threats to the birds’ lives.
Carroll’s work as a falconer is as much about teaching as performing. She’s planning a falconry workshop for January 5-7 in White Springs, Florida. For more information on Carroll and her workshops, click here.
The falconry shows generally go off without a hitch. But sometimes a wild raptor will arrive upon the same area as the performance. Other times, one of her birds might decide to fly away on its own. In either case, Carroll is prepared. For more details on how she handles that, and to see her animals in action, click on the video button above.