Falconry, often called the “sport of kings,” should perhaps be given a new nickname, one that is inclusive of women like Deanna Curtis. As a falconer at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, she teaches individuals and groups about the art of hunting wild quarry with a trained raptor.
Curtis first became involved in falconry when a raptor organization visited her two sons’ Cub Scouts group. She fell in love with the birds and started volunteering with the organization, eventually being brought onto the staff. A few years later, Curtis started her own nonprofit organization, Wild Wings Environmental Education, which she ran for 11 years before joining The Broadmoor.
“Connection with the wild animals” is why she loves the sport. The program at The Broadmoor aims to leave guests feeling the same sense of admiration for the birds that Curtis felt 20 years ago. Among the raptors in the program are Harris’s hawks, saker falcons and a Eurasian eagle owl.
“You get up on the hill, and you’re flying these birds, and the teenagers who were looking bored are suddenly smiling and getting engaged and really connecting to something,” Curtis says. “That’s what I like the most. To get somebody to connect with the wild outdoors because it’s so lacking right now.”
Two decades ago, when Curtis was first exposed to the sport, there were not many women engaged in falconry. But over the course of her career, Curtis has seen more and more women getting involved.
She says, “I think it’s cool that women are finally in a position where they’re like, ‘I can be a mom, I can be a wife and I can have hobbies on the side.’”