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.
The NFL's Atlanta Falcons were not necessarily named after the Peregrine, but it is one of just a few falcon species that can be seen in Georgia. The team was named through a public contest. The winner suggested the name because "the falcon is proud and dignified with great courage and fight." Today, the world's largest freestanding sculpture of a bird stands outside the Falcons' stadium. Photo by Phillip Hardy