AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) — As Auburn fans prepare for the Iron Bowl, they were able to see their beloved War Eagles up close. With the game just around the corner, Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center held their “Football, Fans and Feathers” show on Friday night.
Retired bald eagle Spirit, young bald eagle Indy, and other birds of prey flew through the amphitheater as over one thousand Tiger fans learned about the different raptors.
Auburn’s War Eagles are always golden eagles, but 25-year-old Spirit earned the title of “Honorary War Eagle” following her retirement from pregame flights. Indy was her successor, making her debut this year at Auburn vs. Akron.
The War Eagle serves as a time-old tradition for Auburn football, and the trainers showcased how each pregame flight is possible.
“This show really focuses on educating the public about these raptors. We really focus on where you can see these birds at, where the great horned owls are found, where you can see the red tailed hawks… and what they eat, how they benefit the environment, and just get people to appreciate these raptors and what they do for us.”Andrew Hopkins, Assistant Director, Raptor Training and Education
The birds were free-flown from towers and attendees were able to take pictures with the raptors following the show. According to Auburn University, the birds used in the program are permanent residents and non-releasable due to prior injuries or human imprinting.
The center is a division of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine; they work to rehabilitate injured and orphaned raptors.
This was the Raptor Center’s last and biggest show of the fall season, but in the spring they will have a similar show called Wing Fling. The Tigers take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Nov. 27, and Indy will take flight 20 minutes before kickoff for her fourth flight of the season.