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Auburn’s eagle Independence soars over Philadelphia Eagles game

PHILADELPHIA — It was fitting Thursday that an eagle named Independence would soar over Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field to before an Eagles’ game.

But, here’s the kicker. The eagle is a mascot of Auburn University and is used to flying at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Just a couple of miles from where the Declaration of Independence was signed, “Indy” was released from her carrier high in the stadium seats and soared down to the field during the National Anthem.

The only thing missing were thousands of voices chanting “Waaarrrr Eagle! Hey!” Though the crowd was cheering as Indy circled downward toward her handler Amanda Sweeney on the turf.


“Watching Indy descend upon Lincoln Financial Field in ceremonial fashion during the National Anthem is an exciting moment for our fans to take in and adds another important layer to our gameday experience,” said Brian Papson, vice president of marketing for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Independence, or Indy for short, came to the center in 2018 from a Florida rehabilitation center where she was admitted as a baby with a wing injury, according to the Auburn resident raptors web page.

Although her wing healed, Indy imprinted on people during her time in rehab and can’t be returned to the wild. She now serves as an ambassador and helps educate people about the importance of raptors.

She flew before an AHSAA high school championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2019 and made her debut Auburn pre-game flight during the 2021 football season.

Indy weighs around 7 pounds and has a roughly 6-foot wingspan.

She wasn’t the only Auburn connection that night. Former Tigers lineman Jack Driscoll and punter Aryn Siposs play for the Eagles, who beat the Vikings 34-28.

The Auburn University Raptor Center sees Indy’s first flight with the Philadelphia Eagles as just the beginning. Since the ink dried on an agreement, the center teemed with anticipation of and preparation for the Eagles vs. Vikings game.

“We are really excited about our new relationship with the Eagles,” said Auburn University’s Raptor Center Director Wade Stevens. “If all goes well, we hope this flight becomes a more regular occurrence.”

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