A brief history of the War Eagle Battle Cry & the Auburn Raptor Center


A brief history of the War Eagle Battle Cry & the Auburn Raptor Center

“War Eagle” is Auburn's battle cry —not a mascot or nickname

It is one of the most iconic moments in all of college football: Jordan-Hare’s capacity crowd of almost 90,000 rumbling in unison as a rare eagle is released to free-fly in circles around the stadium, eventually landing mid-field on its leathery pseudo-prey. We dare any living, breathing human, regardless of the colors you wear, to not get goosebumps from this phenomenon. Bald eagles, golden eagles, and other birds of prey are residents of the Auburn Raptor Center where they are raised and trained to open home football games in this inspirational fashion. War Eagle y’all.


“War Eagle” is Auburn's battle cry —not a mascot or nickname. The phrase has a long history and deep significance among the Auburn Family (e.g., students, alumni, fans) who use it to greet and identify with each other all over the world! 

The most popular legend about the battle cry dates back to the first time Auburn met Georgia on the football field in 1892 and centers on a spectator who was a Civil War veteran. In the stands with him that day was an eagle the old soldier had found on a battlefield during the war. He had kept it as a pet for almost 30 years.

According to witnesses, the eagle suddenly broke free and began majestically circling the playing field. As the eagle soared, Auburn began a steady march toward the Georgia end zone for a thrilling victory. Elated at their team's play and taking the bird's presence as an omen of success, Auburn students and fans began to yell “War Eagle” to spur on their team. At the game's end, the eagle took a sudden dive, crashed into the ground, and died.

But the War Eagle battle cry lived on to become a symbol of the proud Auburn spirit. Whenever Auburn people gather, the battle cry “Warrrrrrr Eagle!” is almost certain to be heard. It has been a part of Auburn's spirit for more than 100 years.

Since the first War Eagle, there have been seven others throughout Auburn's history that have served as a symbol of the Auburn spirit and kept alive the legendary battle cry.

The eagle flying before Auburn’s home football games is a tradition uniquely Auburn. Be sure to be in your seats at least 25 minutes before kickoff to ensure you arrive in time to see these flights!

- via from auburn.edu/wareagle 


The Auburn University Raptor Center, a division of the College of Veterinary Medicine, is a rehabilitation and education facility providing critical education, rehabilitation, and conservation efforts for raptors. Our mission is to provide the highest quality medical care and rehabilitation for wild raptors, support raptor conservation efforts, expand the public’s knowledge about raptors, inspire their passion for raptor ecosystems and embolden the Auburn spirit. 


Football, Fans and Feathers is a presentation put on by the Auburn Raptor Center on the Friday’s before home football games at 4 p.m. These presentations are open to the public and are a great opportunity to visit an eagle up close. This is a free-flighted presentation that includes numerous raptors flying over the crowd. After the presentation, visitors have the opportunity to have their photos taken next to many of the raptors including the eagle! Click here for more information. 



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