Exploring Alabama - "Tiger" the War Eagle - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

(11/15/2004)

Exploring Alabama - "Tiger" the War Eagle

     One of the stars atAuburn doesn't spend much time on the field. But talk about an entrance. Flying down from a perch on the second level of Jordan Hare Stadium, Tiger swoops and soars over the heads of 87,541 fans who cheer her arrival. 

 

     Fans get down right emotional about this relatively new tradition at Auburn . “It's such a majestic animal and so reflective of what the auburn spirit's about,” says Hal Baird, a former AU Coach and now key player in the administration. Another fan summed it up this way, “It's my favorite part of the game.”

 

     Tiger is the grand dame of the auburn eagles. She's a 26 year old golden eagle. And just like the Auburn football team, Tiger has to practice. Two days before she flew at the Auburn-Georgia game on November 13th, Tiger was up early getting in a few practice flights at the stadium. She didn’t let a light drizzle slow her in a beautiful downward spiral to a breakfast of raw meat out on the 50 yard line. The Director of the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn , Roy Crowe says Tiger and the two other Auburn eagles cooperate well in their training. “We don't train the bird to fly around the stadium,” says Crowe. “The bird already knows how to fly but we train the bird to come to us...when and where we want it to."

 

     But don't think that's all Tiger does in a week on the plains. She and a number of her feathered friends travel across the southeastern U.S. throughout the school year as a part of the Raptor Center ’s education outreach program. “While everybody sees the bird fly at the stadium, the real mission of the Raptor Center for the education part is doing these educational programs,” said Crowe.

 

     Even though Tiger is getting a little older, and had to give up flying at the games to recover from a bird illness, she still gives her trainers and the fans what they want to see….a REAL War Eagle.

 

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