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Roy Crowe

Eagle Consultant and Raptor Education Specialist
Southeastern Raptor Center, College of Veterinary Medicine

Auburn fans may be used to seeing Roy Crowe on game day Saturdays at Jordan-Hare Stadium where he and raptor education biologist, Marianne Murphy Hudson, and other staff, make it possible for fans to enjoy one of Auburn’s most beloved traditions, the eagle flight. In addition, as part of the education unit at the center he provides educational programs for thousands of schools, civic groups and churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Southeastern Raptor Center takes its educational program on the road where people can see the hawks, eagles, falcons and owls up close while learning about habitats, conservation and ecology.

1. What is your educational/professional background?

Interestingly, I have no formal training in flying an eagle. For 25 years I have held a "Master Falconer" permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and do hold an "Eagle Falconry Permit." All of my formal education was in preparation for the ministry. Before coming to work for Auburn in 2000 I was a minister with the Christian Church/Churches of Christ. I was the "preacher who flew birds." Now I am "the bird man, who occasionally gets to preach."

2. What originally led you to get involved with raptors/raptor education?

I have always loved nature and enjoyed hunting. That led me to falconry. It was only natural for local schools to hear of my hobby and ask that I do educational programs for them. In 1999, when the staff of the Southeastern Raptor Center learned of my hobby, they asked that I teach them how to train and fly the education birds.

3. What was your most exciting moment here at Auburn?

My initial response is to say it is at every football game, when I know that the bird is safely back on the glove after a successful flight, but the real excitement of this job comes when you show the birds to a student and you see the spark of curiosity ignite a new passion for learning. That beats all the other exciting moments.

4. This championship football season was most definitely a memorable one. Did you get a different feeling or sense something special when doing the eagle flights this year?

I have to admit that I know far less about football than most people at Auburn, but this year I was impressed by the "never give up" attitude of the team and coaches. I'd like to think that we of the Raptor Center contributed in some small way to the Auburn spirit which led up to the championship.

5. What is your favorite thing about Auburn?

There are two things about Auburn that just amaze me. First are the people. I have experienced personally how this really is a family and not just an association of alumni. The second is the "Auburn Creed." If you have not read it recently, you need to. The values so eloquently expressed there not only make people good, they allow people to be great.

Jan. 21, 2011