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Auburn raptor center show Nov. 26 to feature bald eagles Spirit, Indy

Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center will hold a special Football, Fans and Feathers show at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, featuring retired bald eagle Spirit and young bald eagle Independence, or Indy.

The university’s Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution naming Spirit an Honorary War Eagle upon her retirement from pregame flights after the Nov. 13 game with Mississippi State. The 25-year-old eagle, which made her first flight in Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2002, continues to be part of the raptor center’s educational programs.

“Auburn’s official War Eagles are always golden eagles, but Spirit has become a major part of Auburn tradition,” said Andrew Hopkins, assistant director of raptor training and education.

Indy has made three pregame flights this season, making her debut Sept. 4 at the Auburn vs. Akron game.

The hour-long Football, Fans and Feathers show is presented at the raptor center’s 350-seat Edgar B. Carter Educational Amphitheater at 1350 Pratt-Carden Drive off Shug Jordan Parkway. Tickets are available on the Football, Fans and Feathers website.

During the show, hawks, falcons, eagles and other birds of prey are free-flown from towers and around the amphitheater, enabling visitors to see these raptors flying up close. At the conclusion, several of the raptors are brought back out so attendees can have an up-close view and talk with the trainers.

All birds used in the programs are permanent residents that are non-releasable due to prior injuries or human imprinting.

The Southeastern Raptor Center’s mission is to rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned raptors, educate the public about their importance and research raptor-related issues. The center, a division of the Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is given permission by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to house, care for and showcase birds of prey in its educational mission.

Financial donations to help support the Southeastern Raptor Center can be made online or by contacting the college’s Advancement office at giving@vetmed.auburn.edu or 334-844-1446.