Auburn Family

Training Process for the "War Eagles" of Auburn

"WAR EAGLE" is Auburn’s battle cry. Not only is "WAR EAGLE" heard in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium during home football games-- it has become a favorite greeting for Auburn men and women all times of the year.

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This tradition dates back to 1892 when Auburn met Georgia for the first time on the football field. The tradition involves a veteran of the Civil War and his pet eagle. The legend states that once the eagle left his owner to circle the stadium during the football game, Auburn began to win. Auburn students yelled “WAR EAGLE” in tribute to the eagle, which was thought to have been the reason for Auburn’s victory against Georgia.

Today, the War Eagle still plays a huge role in the football games, spirit and history of Auburn.

Eagle TrainerThe War Eagles that circle the stadium before an Auburn football game are taken care of and trained at the Southeastern Raptor Center in Auburn. At the Raptor Center, Marianne Hudson and Roy Crowe, both raptor education specialists, are responsible for training the non-releasable educational birds. Hudson and Crowe work as a team to train the War Eagles to fly around the stadium at the beginning of each home football game when Auburn fans are yelling their “War Eagle" battle cry.

“There are three eagles currently in residence at the Raptor Center,” said Hudson. “One is Nova, War Eagle VII, Tiger is War Eagle VI and Spirit is the bald eagle. Tiger no longer flies at football games, but she was the original one who did. Now Nova and Spirit fly at the football games before kickoff.”

Practices for the eagles are held throughout the week in the Jordan-Hare Stadium. The eagles are trained to respond to a food reward, which is placed on the 50-yard line. A typical practice consists of repeatedly having the eagles fly around the stadium, find their food and then land in the correct area.

During the Auburn-South Carolina football game this weekend, take note in the “War Eagle" battle cry before kickoff when Nova or Spirit circles the stadium.

“Knowing the process to train the War Eagles makes this tradition of Auburn’s even more special to me," said Kadie Smith, a sophomore at Auburn. "I really appreciate and feel part of this Auburn tradition while watching it, and I love knowing the secret behind the continued and celebrated legend of the War Eagle.”

For more information on the eagles, visit the Auburn University Raptor Center web page.
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