Nova, golden eagle known for pregame flights at Auburn University, being retired


Auburn’s famed golden eagle Nova, War Eagle VII, pictured, soars above Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2004. In 2017, Nova was sidelined with cardiomyopathy. Auburn is retiring Nova and has named golden eagle Aurea as War Eagle VIII. (Courtesy of Auburn University)

AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) — One of Auburn University’s beloved golden eagles that has been a fixture at Jordan-Hare Stadium for years will be retired.

The decision to retire 20-year-old Nova was made during the Auburn University Board of Trustees meeting Friday, according to a press release sent out by AU.

“Nova has brought much attention to wildlife conservation and is treasured by the Auburn Family and countless fans and conservationists across the country,” Interim President Jay Gogue said in the release.

Nova was born at the Montgomery Zoo in 1999 and came to Auburn University the following year. He made his first pre-game flight at the Kentucky game in 2004 and was designated “War Eagle VII” in 2006. During his tenure, Nova made 58 pregame flights and has appeared in nearly 2,000 programs at Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center, as well as events across the Southeast.

In games where Nova flew, the Tigers had a 44-14 record.

In 2017, Nova was taken off pregame flights due to heart issues. Specifically, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which has gotten worse in the last couple of years.

“Nova will be mostly restricted to presentations at the raptor center,” said Dr. Seth Oster, AU faculty avian veterinarian in the press release. “We will keep him in low-stress situations, either sitting on a perch or sitting on a glove. We have an amphitheater for presentations to small groups.”

During halftime of the Auburn-Samford game Saturday, Nova will be honored. In addition, the university will mark the transition of golden eagle, Aurea, being named “War Eagle VIII.”


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