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.
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