Nova — Auburn’s War Eagle VII — will not be flying pregame at Auburn football games this season for the first time in more than a decade.
The famed golden eagle was diagnosed with a heart condition following a routine checkup, leading to the decision to withhold the 18-year-old bird from its regular activities, the university announced.
“Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.
Due to the cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart, Nova will be replaced by Spirit — a bald eagle — during pregame flights in 2017.
The veterinary staff elected that pregame flights could lead Nova’s heart to work harder than normal, thus resulting in the move to Spirit.
Nova came to Auburn in 2000 after hatching at the Montgomery Zoo in 1999. He took his first pregame flight in 2004 and was named War Eagle VII in Nov. 2006.