The Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University will host a special Football, Fans and Feathers show at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 26, featuring retired Bald Eagle Spirit and young Bald Eagle Independence, or Indy.
The university’s board of trustees recently passed a resolution naming Spirit an honorary war eagle upon his retirement from pre-game flights following the Nov. 13 game with the State of Mississippi. The 25-year-old eagle, which made its first flight at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2002, continues to be part of the educational programs of the Raptor Center.
“The official Auburn War Eagles are still golden eagles, but Spirit has become a major part of Auburn’s lore,” said Andrew Hopkins, deputy director of raptor training and education.
Indy has had three pre-game flights this season, making his September 4 debut in the Auburn game against Akron.
The hour-long Football, Fans and Feathers show is presented at the Edgar B. Carter Raptor Center Educational Amphitheater, with a capacity of 350 seats, at 1350 Pratt-Carden Drive, adjacent to Shug Jordan Parkway. Tickets are available on the Football, Fans and Feathers website.
During the show, hawks, hawks, eagles and other raptors fly freely from the towers and around the amphitheater, allowing visitors to see these raptors flying up close. At the end, several raptors are brought back so that the participants can have a close view and speak with the trainers.
All birds used in the programs are permanent residents who cannot be released due to previous injuries or human fingerprints.
The mission of the Southeastern Raptor Center is to rehabilitate and free injured and orphaned raptors, educate the public about their importance, and research raptor issues. The center, a division of the Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine, is licensed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to house, care for, and display birds of prey as part of its educational mission.
Financial donations to help support the Southeastern Raptor Center can be made online or by contacting the college advancement office at [email protected] or 334-844-1446.