True Blue Spotlight

SPRING15true-blue-spotlightGlory, one of Georgia Southern’s beloved bald eagles, turned 30 in March. To celebrate, the Center for Wildlife Education and Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center hosted a day of birthday activities, which included prizes, cake and a flighted raptor show.

“Turning 30 was a big day for Glory,” said Casey McCall Corbett, education coordinator at the Wildlife Center. “We wanted to make it all about her.”

Since first appearing at football games in the 1990s, the revered matriarch has presided over numerous events, including three national championships. She has relinquished her mascot responsibilities to our current bald eagle, Freedom. Glory now welcomes visitors to the Center for Wildlife Education while sitting high in her nest on the Raptor Walkway.

For the birthday celebration, Wildlife Center Director Steve Hein presented a program on eagles, highlighting Glory’s story so that everyone in attendance got a chance to know this “mighty” bird a little better.

Glory’s story started in 1985 when her egg was retrieved from a nest in the Florida Everglades by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She successfully hatched from her egg and was eventually released in the Gulf Shores area of Mississippi. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had hoped she would find a mate, lay eggs and help the endangered bald eagle population. Unfortunately, her story in the wild ended too soon. She was shot while flying near Albany, Georgia. The injury required the amputation of part of her left wing.

Then in the fall of 1990, Georgia Southern was just minutes away from winning a fourth football national championship. During the live televised game, a cameraman focused in on a bird of prey flying high over the stadium and the sports announcer commented that it was Georgia Southern’s mascot. As well-meaning as he was, he did not realize it was a turkey vulture. Hein, a master falconer, was contacted for help and after making a few calls to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Glory was placed with Georgia Southern University.

This Georgia Southern ambassador is a powerful representation of the University’s True Blue spirit, and fans can visit Glory and the other bald eagles at the Center for Wildlife Education and Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center on campus Monday through Friday and most Saturdays during the months of September through May.

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