The Hokie bird has a few new friends on campus this week as two presidentially pardoned turkeys will now call Blacksburg home.
Drumstick and his friend, Wishbone, will live out their days at Gobbler’s Rest, a custom-built enclosure on Virginia Tech’s campus.
“Unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of year, Drumstick has a very, very bright future ahead of him,” President Donald Trump said during last week’s pardoning.
Drumstick won a vote to be the lucky bird, and it’s easy to determine which is which. Sunday during a public viewing, he strutted around the room to the pleasure of nearly two-dozen people and was the loudest in the new roost.
Both have a birthday of June 28, but have a few differences in their personality or choice in music as a sign on their stall indicates.
Drumstick, who weighs 47 pounds and has a wingspan of five feet, enjoys classic rock and his favorite band is Journey. He is the alpha bird of the dynamic duo.
Wishbone, who weighs 36 pounds and is 28 inches high, has a more country-taste. He enjoys country music and his favorite artists are Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
The birds were raised on a Minnesota turkey bird with the help of several members of the local 4-H chapter.
Sparing the “national turkey” became a tradition under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush was the first to formally grant a pardon to the bird.
Last year, President Barrack Obama pardoned “Tater” and “Tot,” who also call Virginia Tech home.
Tot was not there when the two birds arrived. He remains at the nearby vet school with a leg infection.
Trump joked that he had reversed several of Obama’s executive orders, but Tater and Tot were safe as he was given legal advice he couldn’t do that one.
Thousands of people have visited Tater and Tot over the past year. Tech officials say Sunday’s open house was probably the only official public appearance by the new birds.
Joel Brandenberger, the National Turkey Federation President, said the relationship between his organization and Virginia Tech helps showcase the modern turkey industry while maintaining a connection to the past.
Drumstick and Wishbone were given the royal treatment even staying at a fancy hotel near the Whitehouse. Pictures made the world media of the two sitting on their own queen-sized bed.
Rami Dalloui is a poultry immunologist at Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Last year, he attended the pardoning ceremony and is excited about Drumstick and Wishbone to be coming here.
“Tater and Tot are excited to get some new neighbors,” he said Sunday. Drumstick and Wishbone will reside in a stall directly beside last year’s pardoned birds.
The stall is located at the school’s Livestock Judging Pavilion on Plantation Road, and the birds will be cared for by students of Tech’s poultry club.
They were guarded by a U.S. Secret Service security team until they were transported to Blacksburg. They arrived Friday with their welcoming by media including a reporter from Poland. The birds were unveiled to the public on Sunday.