AU’s “Spirit” is back in action after crashing into window

By: Christina Chambers

Who can forget what happened this past Saturday when Spirit , Auburn's bald eagle, crashed into the sky box windows during his gameday flight. “We don't know why Spirit made contact with the window, or what he saw and what he didn't see,” said raptor specialist Marianne Hudson.

  “I wish he could tell me what he saw or what he was thinking. The windows are reflective so I think that's just a hypothesis, but we'll never know for sure,” said Jamie Bellah, Director of the Southeastern Raptor Center.

After taking a plunge into the glass window, Spirit gathered himself and continued his flight to midfield. “Birds are only coming to us on the field for food. We reward them for their flight,” said Hudson.

Once spirit was safely on the ground, he was immediately x-rayed for broken bones.

“Because he continued to fly down to the field, we wanted to make sure his bones were okay, and to make sure he didn't have severe injuries,” said Bellah.

Spirit has been flying at Jordan-Hare stadium for 10 years, but has never flown into a glass window, until now. “We never know where a bird is going to fly during a football game, each flight is different, each flight is unpredictable especially when you're dealing with wild birds,” said Hudson.

Hudson and Bellah say people from across the nation have been calling, emailing, and sending letters to check on Spirit. “He is doing just fine. In fact, he's been back at the stadium practicing his gameday flight since the incident,” said Hudson.

Spirit is the only bald eagle at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Hudson says bald eagles fly slower than the golden eagle because of the way each bird hunts it's prey in the wild. 

Spirit and Nova, a golden eagle, will alternate turns flying on gameday for the remaining of the season.