Kennesaw State’s living mascot is no longer with the university following a decision between KSU and the owl’s owner earlier this year.
“Sturgis the Owl is no longer with Kennesaw State,” Assistant Vice President of Communications Tammy Demel said. “The University and the owl’s owner were unable to reach an agreement during contract negotiations and came to the mutual decision to part ways.”
Sturgis is a Great Horned Owl and was KSU’s first-ever live mascot. He has been with the university since his introduction at the second annual “Flight Night” in October 2013.
KSU and Sturgis’ owner Daniel Walthers were unable to come to an agreement regarding a contract, and the decision to part ways was reached.
“We enjoyed having Sturgis as part of the KSU family,” Demel said. “The University’s official mascot, Scrappy, will continue to help spread school spirit throughout Owl Nation.”
In Sturgis’ time with KSU, the owl attended football games and led the team into the stadium in what was known as the Owl Walk at the start of each game.
Walthers began training Sturgis when he was shipped from New York to Georgia at three weeks old back in 2013. Because he was introduced to people and various noises at such an early age, Sturgis was always comfortable at crowded football games, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
In 2014, Walthers announced that Sturgis had adopted the charity Hawk Talk, a local non-profit organization that cares for birds of prey unable to return to the wild and rehabilitates other birds such as hawks and eagles.
Sturgis is the third bird trained by Walthers for a football team. Rise and Conquer, two ravens Walthers trained in 2008 and 2009, became the living mascots for the Baltimore Ravens NFL Football team, according to Walthers’ blog.
Sturgis the Owl currently lives at Winding Woods Ranch in Commerce, Georgia, with other birds Walthers has trained throughout the years.
Fans of Sturgis can find him on Walther’s website, danielwalthers.com, and on The Walthers Blog.