In mid-April, during spring break, Mendez debuted Artemis on his wrist in a public “test run” for what will be a regular feature this summer. It was a huge success — for Artemis and enthralled kids.
“How often do you get to stand three feet from a falcon like this?” he said.
The hood comes off
Although Mendez praised Medieval Times’ staff for their treatment of animals, he had to start from scratch with Artemis when she moved into his duplex in March.
“For the first three or four days, she would fly away the second I walked into the room,” he said. “Then she was like, ‘You can feed me.’ Then when she saw me, she would associate me with positivity.”
Mendez became Artemis’ de facto dietician, helping her lose weight so she could be comfortable again (her dietary staple is frozen mice). She won’t, however, be flying for the public.
“We’re not going to free-fly her,” he said. “This is not the right environment. She’s used to an indoor arena. Here we have a ton of wild animals — too much stimulation. It would be a really short show if we introduced her and she attached herself to a peacock.”