I have been asked that question quite a few times. Auburn has and always will be the Tigers. They were founded with that mascot. The term you hear quite often, “War Eagle” is known as Auburn’s battle cry. Just like Alabama has an elephant as their mascot, but they shout “Roll Tide”.
The Story Behind It All:
It was said, according to the legend, that a soldier in the Civil War was the only survivor of a bloody battle from the Confederate Army. The soldier came across a wounded eagle on the battlefield. He kept the eagle as a pet and nurtured it back to health. Several years later, he returned to his alma mater, Auburn, as a faculty member, keeping the eagle with him. Most people knew who he was and saw the eagle with him, so they were a well-known duo around campus. As many know the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” is a game playedevery year between Georgia and Auburn. The first game between the two was played in 1892. The Civil War veteran was a spectator at the game. Auburn was losing to Georgia. The eagle suddenly broke free from its master and started circling the field. Everyone started yelling “War Eagle” in reaction to the eagle flying, and it energized their team. It lifted the spirit of the Auburn Tigers to a thrilling victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. The eagle circled the field until the end of the game where it fell to its death. It was said that it was over thirty years old.
This is why Auburn shouts “War Eagle” and this is why the eagle circles around the field before every home game. It is quite an experience if you have never been to a game! If you are an Auburn fan, it sends chills through your body when you see the eagle fly. If you are visiting, it completely fascinates you. A lot of visitors go to a game against Auburn to cheer on their team, but they also visit because they get a chance to experience the many traditions that Auburn has, but especially the eagle flying before the game.
Auburn University uses their eagles to promote their wildlife as part of their conservation. They rescue all their eagles and train them. They use real habitats such as open water and wetlands to create a natural living for the eagles. There are only certain eagles that fly on game days. When they have reached an older age (around 30 years old) they retire them and keep them in their habitat and train other eagles for the game day tradition. There are on record seven “War Eagles” that have been flown before football games at Auburn.
The Fight Song:
The fight song came about in 1955 as it debuted in it’s season opener against Chattanooga. The battle cry “War Eagle” became very prevalent.
“War eagle fly down the field,
Ever to conquer, never to yield.
War eagle fearless and true,
fight on your orange and blue!
Go! Go! Go!
On to vic’try strike up the band,
Give ‘em hell, give ‘em hell,
Stand up and yell, hey!
War eagle win for Auburn,
Power of Dixieland.”
This video sums up all the history:
Check it out! And War Eagle!