Fall is here, and with it the return to normal operations for Auburn University academics and athletics. Students are in the classrooms and fans are filling Jordan-Hare Stadium 87,000+ strong to launch the Harsin era of Auburn football. And to top off the spirit and excitement of Fall on the Plains, the pregame eagle flight tradition returns from its pandemic-year hiatus. Staff and volunteers of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Raptor Center are preparing for the season, flying our resident eagles in the stadium every morning.
The tradition of pregame eagle flight began in 2000, when golden eagle Tiger, War Eagle VI, made a short flight from the end zone to midfield. Tiger’s first 50-yard hop has evolved into circling, soaring flights around the stadium, launching from an upper deck ramp and ending with a dramatic midfield landing. Her successor, a male golden named Nova who was War Eagle VII, began stadium flights in 2004 and retired to his home at the Southeastern Raptor Center in 2016. Since Nova’s retirement, Aurea, a female golden who is War Eagle VIII, thrills crowds at Jordan-Hare alongside 25-year-old Spirit, the only bald eagle to have flown in this esteemed role until now. This fall on the Plains marks a special time for Spirit as she prepares to take the field for her final pregame flight. She has inspired Tiger fans during pregame festivities at 45 football games over the last 18 years and has become an unforgettable part of Auburn eagle lore. And her successor, a younger bald eagle named Independence — or Indy for short — took her first pregame flight against Akron, helping to carry on the storied eagle flight tradition.
In the two decades since Tiger took her inaugural flight, this pregame event has grown into one of the most recognizable and widely anticipated college football traditions in the nation. Since Fall of 2000, resident eagles from the Southeastern Raptor Center have been flying down the field to match lyrics from the school’s fight song as the fans cry ‘Warrrrrrrrrrrr Eagle, hey!’ In 2011, Sports Illustrated selected our eagle flights as the second-best pregame tradition in all of college football — edged out only by The Ohio State University band’s dotting of the “i” in Ohio — even though the Ohio State representative never flies from the upper levels of the ’Shoe to accomplish this feat.
Now we invite you to be part of this story.
To celebrate 20 years of eagle flights at Jordan-Hare, this Fall we are offering you the opportunity to sponsor one of only five pregame eagle flights. The cost of a single pregame flight sponsorship is $25,000 and the sponsor will be presented with the lure and jess used in that game’s flight, framed with an appropriate plaque commemorating the occasion, announcement in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s social media and quarterly magazine which is received by more than 10,000 alumni and friends, and sponsor recognition by the stadium announcer during pregame festivities. Your gift will directly support the rehabilitation and educational mission of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Raptor Center through the purchase of facility upgrades, food for our resident raptors, medical supplies and other mission-critical needs.
Secure your place in eagle flight tradition history by supporting Auburn’s treasured eagles and helping provide the best possible life for our resident raptors. To discuss your personal or corporate interest in sponsoring an Auburn pregame eagle flight, contact Diana Turner, senior director of development at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-844-1274.