It’s Opening Day for Major League Baseball, so we’re marking the occasion with a fun gallery of photos of the birds commemorated by North American professional sports teams. It would be a pretty brief gallery if we stuck to baseball, since only three MLB teams qualify for this list. So we’re also recognizing teams from the NFL, NBA, and NHL — 11 species in all that inspired the names of 12 teams. The photos are from our Reader Galleries.
When the NBA's original Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2013, they adopted the Pelicans as their name to reflect the region's culture and community. "The Pelican does that," said owner Tom Benson. "Our region has been hard hit in recent years, and the one thing that stands out is the resiliency and determination to come back, to fight and overcome. The Pelican symbolizes that." He was referring, of course, to Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil crisis. Photo by Gary Miller