Pro sports teams named for birds

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

Osprey

Osprey
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While the United Kingdom has a rugby team in Wales called the Ospreys, and the minor-league baseball team in Missoula, Montana, is called the Missoula Osprey, it's true that no North American pro team uses the name of the beautiful, widespread raptor. (Hey Orlando, Oakland, Oklahoma City, it's up for grabs!) However, the name of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks is inspired by the bird. It was chosen from a fan naming contest when the team was founded in the early 1970s. The fish-eating hawk occurs on five continents. Photo by Marilynne Strazzeri

Related: The home of the Milwaukee Bucks is the world’s first bird-friendly arena

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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and BirdWatchingDaily.com. He joined the staff of BirdWatching (formerly Birder’s World) in 2000 and has worn many hats over the years: reporter, story wrangler, photo editor, managing editor, and now editor. Originally from Omaha, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Milwaukee and holds a Bachelor’s in journalism from Marquette University. You can reach Matt at (617) 706-9098 and [email protected].

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