Talons Summer Flight Shows

Talons Flight Show Cover

Educator Kate Olukalns works with Willow, the Barn Owl, during the Talons Summer Flight Show. Photo by Joe Amodeo.

About this image

They soar and they glide, they flap and they flutter, they swoop and they plummet.  Solo or en masse, in formation or pas de deux, birds in flight are in their element, their airborne behavior as varied and distinctive as their plumage. – Carrol Henderson, Birds in Flight

Taking Flight at the Talons Summer Flight Show: Flights of the Forest

Carolina Raptor Center's high flying, gravity defying summer flight show features CRC’s trainers putting our native and exotic birds through their paces in free flight. Experience the whoosh of feathers over your head. Learn about the natural history, habitat and natural behaviors of birds of prey. Interact with birds as you never have before.  Owls, vultures, hawks and falcons are the stars in this show.

Please arrive a half an hour early so that you won't miss the show. Tickets will be sold online up until 2 hours before the show and in the Visitor Center up until 10 minutes before the show begins. Gates to amphitheatre open 30 minutes before show time. Unfortunately, due to the terrain and flight paths of the birds at our amphitheatre, we can only accommodate one wheelchair. Strollers not permitted in amphitheatre. There are only 80 seats per show, so make sure to reserve your tickets in advance.

See you next summer at Flights of the Forest! 

Details

Talons Summer Flight Show
Weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day
$5 per person + regular Raptor Trail admission

Our Flight Show will be back in 2017!

Heat Index Procedure and Guideline

When the heat index is over 95 degrees CRC will cancel all bird appearances, flight shows, and encounters. If you purchase tickets in advance, someone from our Visitor Services team will contact you directly about the cancelation. If you have any questions about this, please call our Visitor Center at (704) 875-6521 x.107. Please check our website the day of your visit for the most recent changes in program and event schedules. When shows are canceled other trail programs are put in place during the scheduled times of 1pm and 3pm on Saturdays and 1:30pm and 3pm on Sundays.

Natalie Childers, CRC's Curator of Birds and Programs, gives a more detailed explanation of why this procedure and guideline is in place below.  

"On average, the birds in our collection run a regular body temperature of 101 degrees or above. Feathering and body structure do not allow birds to sweat, which is why you see them panting to release excess heat (much as a dog or cat will do when they get too warm). If you were to watch birds in their natural habitat, even those local to this area and “used to sitting in the heat,” they will often sit in a shady spot and sleep the whole day through on extremely hot days, and may even choose not to hunt on those days. The inability to sweat, high body temperature, and an already accelerated heart rate means that raptors (and other birds) becoming stressed can be a life or death situation. Being encouraged to exercise or fly in extreme temperature conditions, when they would normally avoid doing so in the wild, could lead to overheating and become dangerous for the bird. In addition, a vast majority of our flight collection are owls, birds that are naturally lazy and fly at nighttime when temperatures are lower. Several of this species are also found in colder climates and are not native to our humid, hot weather. To keep our birds safe (after all, they’re the reason why we’re here!) we choose not to fly them when the heat index is 95 or above. Not only can flying them be dangerous, the birds will most often choose NOT to fly whether we ask them to or not. Our training using positive reinforcement means that the birds are always given a choice, and if the answer is no, we have to respect that and move along to something else. The way we explain to kids is this: Imagine running a marathon at top speed in this kind of heat. Now imagine you’re doing so while wearing a winter coat and pants. That is how the birds would feel were we to “exercise” or “fly” them on such hot days. In addition to bird safety, we also keep in mind the health and well being of our staff, volunteers, and interns. When the weather reaches high temperatures, we encourage even our bird care staff to be inside as much as possible and drink water constantly." - Natalie Childers, Curator of Birds and Programs