WAR EAGLE WEEK 2016: Meet the Eagles

By: Dorothy Sherman

AUBURN, AL – Auburn’s beloved eagles started prepping for football season with daily gameday practices started in late June

"It’s very important that we put the eagles through their paces so that on gameday that they don’t have any surprises … they know where they’re supposed to go," Assistant Director of the Auburn University Southeaster Raptor Center Marianne Hudson said.

Auburn’s eagles take flight before every home football game.

The birds have wingspans over six feet and can catch speeds around 50 miles per hour.

"We spend a lot of time with the birds just going through the same routines so that they will learn and become familiar .. although we know what we expect from them, they know what to expect from us as well," Hudson said.

Auburn University has had a total of eight eagles, three that have taken flight.

The tradition of flying them around the stadium started in 2000, but the eagles have been a school tradition since 1892.

"That’s when our very first war eagle cry came into play .. since then the eagles have become more and more a symbol of the university .. they are not our mascot we are the tigers, but the eagles do represent the university and they’re really an icon of our school spirit," Hudson said.

When the creatures aren’t flying around Jordan-Hare they’re staying busy educating others on their own kind.

"They go to schools, scout groups .. this bird here has already done two shows just today .. we take them all over the southeast and we do presentations for students of all ages and help them learn about the natural world," Hudson said.

As for gamedays, Auburn’s eagles, Spirit and Nova, will continue practicing everyday until December.