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Aurea, Auburn’s New War Eagle, Ready to Take Flight Next Season
AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

At Auburn University, tradition is everything. From War Eagle to Toomer’s Corner, fans pride themselves on having some of the most special and iconic rituals in America. It’s been a while since we last saw Nova fly during college football games, and, sadly, we won’t ever again.

Back in 2017, Auburn’s famous golden eagle Nova, also known as War Eagle VII, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart, and stopped flying at football games in order to lower his stress. However, after the 20-year-old male eagle’s biannual checkup at the College of Veterinary Medicine last fall, it could be worse.

University veterinarians said in a news release and announcement in early November 2019 that Nova might be in the early stages of heart failure following the recent exam.

RELATED: The 100-Year-Old Legend Behind Auburn’s “War Eagle”

Throughout the 2019 season, Aurea, a 5-year-old female golden eagle, and Spirit, a 23-year-old female bald eagle, made the pregame flights at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Nova’s absence from the pregame tradition in Alabama.

Under the care of Dr. Seth Oster, the faculty avian veterinarian for the college’s Southeastern Raptor Center, and Andrew Hopkins, Auburn eagle Nova is trying to get better.

“Nova’s condition has been medically managed and he has remained stable during the past two years, however, during his October exam, we observed decreased systolic function and enlarged vessels in his liver. This could be an indication of the early stages of heart failure.”

— Dr. Seth Oster

Nova’s medication dosages have been adjusted, and the vets will know more after the latest rounds of treatment.

The diagnosis of cardiomyopathy is awful. Not seeing Nova at university football games is awful. This is awful.

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Let’s all hope he gets better soon.

Auburn Retires Nova, Introduces War Eagle VIII

With Nova’s current medical condition of possible heart failure, Auburn made the tough decision to retire the golden eagle at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting in November.

Aurea, a 5-year-old female golden eagle, has officially been named War Eagle VIII.

“Auburn University retired its famed golden eagle Nova, War Eagle VII, during today’s Board of Trustees meeting and named golden eagle Aurea as War Eagle VIII. A ceremony marking the transition will be held at halftime of the Nov. 23 football game with Samford University.”

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Throughout his career, Nova made 58 pregame flights and made in appearance in 2,000 educational programs as War Eagle VII. He’s a true legend and will always be a big part of Auburn’s rich history.

Now it’s Aurea’s turn to take flight at Auburn football games.

This post was originally published on November 6, 2019.

READ MORE: Believe It: First Words Spoken on the Moon Were Almost ‘War Eagle!’

With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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