Recent News >

Bill Designates June 20 as American Eagle Day

June 26, 2013

By Janet L. McCoy, (e), (p) 334-844-3698

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, co-sponsored a bill passed by the U.S. Senate celebrating American Eagle Day and recognizing the Southeastern Raptor Center in Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The bill, Senate Resolution 174, was passed by the Senate as a bipartisan measure to designate June 20, 2013 as “American Eagle Day” in celebration of the recovery of the American Bald Eagle.

“The bald eagle is an American treasure and inspiring symbol of our national sovereignty and precious freedoms as American citizens,” Sessions stated. “I hope all Americans will take time to ponder the beauty of this majestic creature, the powerful ideas it has come to symbolize, and the ways we can all work together to increase bald eagle populations in the United States.

“I am particularly proud that, once again, the Senate has recognized the outstanding work of the Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center,” Sessions said. “Since the 1970s, Auburn has been leading the way on raptor rehabilitation, education and research, and just last month, the Southeastern Raptor Center released its first locally found bald eagle.

“Preserving bald eagles and other raptors—as Auburn is doing—is one way we can pay tribute to our common heritage as Americans and help maintain a healthy eagle population for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Dr. Jamie Bellah, professor and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Southeastern Raptor Center, thanked Sen. Sessions for this support of the center. “We appreciate Sen. Session’s recognition of the important work being done by Raptor Center staff to rehabilitate and release injured birds of prey and to educate the public about wildlife conservation.”

The Southeastern Raptor Center was established in the mid-1970s when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service brought six injured birds to the College of Veterinary Medicine and asked that the school become a rehabilitation hub for the Southeast.

The center is the oldest and only medical and surgical wildlife rehabilitation facility in the Southeast dedicated solely to raptors. The mission of the center is to rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned raptors, to educate the public about their role and importance and to research raptor-related issues.

Annually the center treats as many as 275 birds of prey from across the Southeast and has treated and released thousands of birds back into the wild. The center provides about 300 educational programs annually aimed at raising awareness and education to thousands of schools, civic groups and churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Southeastern Raptor Center’s most iconic presence is at Auburn University home football games, where an eagle is released to circle Jordan-Hare Stadium before landing on Pat Dye Field.

In May of 2013, the center released an American Bald Eagle in Auburn, the first locally found and rehabilitated bald eagle to be released by the center.

Contact: Janet McCoy, Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, 334/844-3698,; Brian Keeter, director, Public Affairs, Auburn University, 334/844-4650,; or Stephen Miller, Sen. Session’s Communications Director, 202/224-4124,


Sessions is an original lead co-sponsor of this resolution and was joined in introducing this resolution by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Bob Corker (R-TN). Sessions had a lead role in a similar resolution last year.

SRC Raptor Specialists Marianne Hudson and Andrew Hopkins presented an educational birds of prey program at the Riverside Country Club Summer Camp in Lanett, AL.