Southeastern Raptor Center auctioning 2015 Auburn game day eagle jess and lure sets

Published: September 11, 2015
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The Southeastern Raptor Center, or SRC, has launched a series of online auctions of one-of-a-kind, handcrafted jess and lure sets used by the eagles during their 2015 game day flights.

Fans can check out photographs of the lures and jesses, and place bids from the center's website, www.auburn.edu/raptor. Each auction will open at the same time – Thursdays prior to the home game at 2:30 p.m. CST and close on Monday after the home at 2:30 p.m. CST.

Each game day jess and lure is being auctioned to support the center's mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation.

Fans will have an opportunity to own the lure and jesses set from the following games:

  • Sept. 12, Jacksonville State. The auction opens Sept. 10 and will close Sept. 14
  • Sept. 26, Mississippi State, The auction will open Sept. 24 and close Sept. 28
  • Oct. 3, San Jose State. The auction will open Oct. 1 and close Oct. 5
  • Oct. 31, Ole Miss. The auction will open Oct. 29 and close Nov. 2
  • Nov. 14, Georgia. The auction will open Nov. 12 and close Nov. 16
  • Nov. 21, Idaho. The auction will open Nov. 19 and close Nov. 23
  • Nov. 28, Alabama. The auction will open Nov. 26 and close Nov. 30.

Andrew Hopkins, a raptor specialist at the SRC and one of two trainers for the Auburn eagles, coordinated the designs of each lure with volunteers or SRC staff.

"Each of these lures and jesses are uniquely designed for each game," Hopkins said. "The leather is either painted, burned or stamped with the design. Typically the lures feature each team and are dated.

"This year we play Ole Miss on Halloween and therefore that lure has a Halloween theme. Each year it amazes me with the designs our volunteers come up with."

Jesses are cuffs worn around the eagle's ankles with straps to assist the handler in securely holding the eagle. The lure is used by the handler to entice the eagle to land midfield and often has talon marks from being used.

"These items are truly a rare piece of Auburn memorabilia and something every Auburn fan will want to own," said Dr. Jamie Bellah, director of the Southeastern Raptor Center and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. "We are proud to offer these items to Auburn fans in support of the educational mission of the raptor center."

Bellah said center staff considered how to best raise funds to support the Southeastern Raptor Center, a division of the College of Veterinary Medicine that has a threefold mission of wildlife rehabilitation, education and conservation.

The role of Auburn's eagles is to promote wildlife conservation as a part of the education initiative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Raptor center staff care for and train the eagles – Nova, a golden eagle who is War Eagle VII, and Spirit, a bald eagle.

The center conducts more than 350 educational programs annually, both at the center and around the Southeast, to educate the public about the importance of birds of prey. The center also takes in injured birds of prey, rehabilitates them and releases them back into the wild. This year alone, more than 400 birds were admitted for treatment. When release is not possible, the bird becomes a permanent resident at the center or is transferred to another educational facility.

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