AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) — Auburn’s Raptor Center is tasked with rehabilitating injured birds of prey and training them into War Eagles.
“There’s a lot more that goes into than just opening up an enclosure and just letting the eagle jump out,” Andrew Hopkins, AU Raptor Center Trainer said.
The storied tradition of the War Eagle flying around the Jordan-Hare Stadium is a special one to Auburn fans. But so much goes into making these birds like Aurea flight-ready.
When it comes to where the War Eagle will be flying from, that all depends on mother nature.
“All eagles are trained to a certain piece of leather – it’s called a lure. they know that every time they touch it, they get a food reward. On game day, they’re looking for us to show them that lure.”
The War Eagle soars over the stands looking for that lure, the trainers will hide, and let their instincts take over.
“The crowd distracts them – so we love a sellout because that means there are a lot more people in the stadium that they basically have to look thru to find us. She can pick me out of 87,000 people.”
This Saturday at the Iron Bowl, fans from both sides can look for the newest War Eagle, Aurea, as she takes her second flight of the season at Jordan-Hare Stadium.