"War Eagle" is Auburn's battle cry -- not a mascot or nickname. "War Eagle" has become a way for the Auburn family to greet and identify with each other all over the world. Anywhere you're wearing something with an Auburn logo on it, chances are you'll hear a friendly "War Eagle!"
The most popular story about the battle cry dates back to the first time Auburn met Georgia on the football field in 1892 and centers around a spectator who was a veteran of the Civil War. In the stands with him that day was an eagle the old soldier had found on a battlefield during the war. He had kept it as a pet for almost 30 years.
According to witnesses, the eagle suddenly broke free and began majestically circling the playing field. As the eagle soared, Auburn began a steady march toward the Georgia end zone for a thrilling victory. Elated at their team's play and taking the bird's presence as an omen of success, Auburn students and fans began to yell "War Eagle" to spur on their team. At the game's end, the eagle took a sudden dive, crashed into the ground, and died.
But the battle cry "War Eagle" lived on to become a symbol of the proud Auburn spirit.
Whenever Auburn people gather, the battle cry "Warrrrrrr Eagle!" is almost certain to be heard. It has been a part of Auburn's spirit for more than 100 years.
War Eagle Legend 2
The toughest player on the Carlisle Indian team in 1914 was named Bald Eagle. In an effort to tire him out, Auburn began to run play after play straight at him. Without huddling, the quarterback would simply yell out, "bald eagle" and the Tigers would attack. Spectators mistook "bald eagle" for "war eagle" and began shouting it every time the Tigers came to the line. When Lucy Hairston scored the game-winning touchdown for Auburn, he supposedly yelled "War Eagle," and a new Auburn tradition was born.
During a Langdon Hall pep rally in the undefeated season of 1913, the head cheerleader said, "If we are going to win this game, we are going to have to go out there and fight, because this means war." At that moment an eagle emblem fell off a students military hat. Asked what it was, he reportedly shouted, "It's a War Eagle." The next day it became the favorite student cheer when Auburn beat Georgia, 21-7, to win the SIAA championship.
War Eagle Legend 4
Some say that Auburn fans adopted the "War Eagle" phrase due to its connection with Saxon warriors who used the yell as their battle cry. When buzzards would circle the battlefields, settling among the dead, the Saxons began calling them "war eagles."
Since the first War Eagle, there have been six other birds throughout Auburn's history which have served as the school's symbol and kept alive the legendary battle cry. War Eagle VII (Nova) currently entertains fans with her customary flight around Jordan-Hare Stadium prior to each home football game.