New eagle ready to take flight ahead of Auburn’s first game of the season

New eagle ready to take flight ahead of Auburn’s first game of the season
Aurea, Auburn's newest eagle to participate in pre-game flights (Source: Auburn University)

AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - Auburn University is getting a new ‘war eagle’ who will take flight over Jordan-Hare Stadium before the Auburn Tigers hit the field.

5-year-old Aurea, a golden eagle, will join Spirit, a bald eagle, as one of two eagles to carry on the traditional flights above the stadium prior to game time.

After being brought to the Auburn raptor center in 2016 with an injury to her right wing, Aurea was rehabilitated, but does not have the flight stamina to be released into the wild.

Both Aurea and Spirit will not fly on game day, however. “We will bring both eagles to the stadium and look at their game face, or demeanor, and decide which one we want to use. Of course for games like the military appreciation game, we like to use bald eagle Spirit," said Andrew Hopkins, assistant director of raptor training and education at the Southeastern Raptor Center.

While Aurea will be taking flight before the home games, she does not serve as the official War Eagle. That title goes to Nova who serves as War Eagle VII, but has not participated in pregame flights since 2016 due to a heart condition.

The Auburn Tigers will take on the Oregon Ducks in their first game of the season on Saturday, Aug. 31 at AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas. You can watch the game on WTVM.

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