The Southeastern Raptor Center is giving fans the opportunity to own a little piece of the Southeastern Conference’s greatest pregame tradition – the flight of the eagle – by bidding on the eagle’s jess and lure used each week.
Fans can check out photographs of the lures and jesses, and place bids on the center’s website. Each auction will open each week at the same time – 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays prior to the home game and close on Monday after the game at 2:30 p.m. Money raised from the auctions support the center’s mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation.
Andrew Hopkins, a raptor specialist at the SRC and one of two trainers for the Auburn eagles, handmade each jess and lure, and works with SRC volunteers who create a design on each. “Each of these lures and jesses is uniquely designed for each game,” Hopkins said. “The leather is either painted, burned or stamped with the design. Typically the lures feature each team and are dated.”
Jesses are cuffs worn around the eagle’s ankles with straps to assist the handler in securely holding the eagle. The lure is used by the handler to entice the eagle to land midfield and often has talon marks from being used. The items are handmade and uniquely decorated by volunteers or staff of the Southeastern Raptor Center and are used one time – during the Auburn eagle’s pre-game flight.
“These items are truly a rare piece of Auburn memorabilia and something every Auburn fan will want to own,” said Dr. Jamie Bellah, director of the Southeastern Raptor Center and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We are proud to offer these items to Auburn fans in support of the educational mission of the raptor center.”
The education division of the SRC cares for and train Auburn’s eagles – Nova, a Golden Eagle who is War Eagle VII, and Spirit, a Bald Eagle, as well as conducts more than 350 of educational programs annually, both at the center and around the Southeast, to educate the public about the importance of birds of prey. The rehabilitation division of the center takes in injured birds of prey, rehabilitates them and releases them back into the wild. This year alone, more than 400 birds were admitted for treatment. When release is not possible, the bird becomes a permanent resident at the center or is transferred to another educational facility.
Fans will have an opportunity to own the lure and jess set from the following games:
- 3, Clemson. The auction opens Sept. 1 and will close Sept. 5.
- 10, Arkansas State. The auction will open Sept. 8 and close Sept. 12.
- 17, Texas A&M. The auction will open Sept. 15 and close Sept. 19.
- 24, Louisiana State University. The auction will open Sept. 22 and close Sept. 26.
- 1, University of Louisiana-Monroe. The auction will open Sept. 29 and close Oct. 3.
- 22, Arkansas. The auction will open Oct. 20 and close Oct. 24.
- 5, Vanderbilt. The auction will open Nov. 3 and close Nov. 7.
- 19, Alabama A&M. The auction will open Nov. 17 and close Nov. 21.