Posts From The Road: Thanksgiving Turkey And Giving Thanks

Crossing the Road: While driving around and enjoying the scenery at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, we came upon this flock of wild turkeys as they marched their way across the road in front of us. We stopped to watch their actions and movements. They did not seem phased by our presence and continued their journey across the road. Photo by Gary Warren/

What’s Up: A nearby distraction got the immediate attention of three wild turkeys at our campsite in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. We visited the park on our first RV journey in December 2015. The turkeys did not seem bothered by our presence and stayed in the area for more than two hours. Photo by Gary Warren/

By Gary Warren
Formerly of Los Alamos

We love traveling and camping in our little RV. However we camped with some turkeys along the way, both figuratively and literally! This Post From the Road will feature some turkeys we have camped with literally; we’ll not  go into the other turkeys.

What do you call a “group” of turkeys? There are several terms which apply to a group of turkeys. The most common terms are a rafter of turkeys, a gaggle of turkeys, or a flock of turkeys. Whatever the term, it is a fact that turkeys do live and mingle in groups. The number of turkeys may be as low as five in a group or as many as 50.

Our first journey in our camper van was December 2015. It was a strange time to set off on your first trip in the winter but that’s the way we roll. We were visiting family for the holidays and were anxious to try out our new (to us) 2009 RV van. Our second night in the van we stopped at Palo Duro Canyon State Park just south of Amarillo, Texas.

We secured our campsite and decided to drive through the state park and enjoy the scenery of this canyon located in the north Texas plains.

By the time we returned from our drive we arrived at our assigned campsite and were greeted by a rafter of wild turkeys, probably 12-15 birds.

We set up camp with little interference from the fowls and got in the van because it was very chilly outside. We thought the turkeys would spend a little time at our site and then move on. That happened but it took more than two hours before they decided to move on and find a resting place for the night. In the meantime I was entertained by taking photos of their actions and activities.

Another time we encountered a rafter, (gaggle, flock) of turkeys was last January at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge near Socorro. They were not technically at our campsite because there is no camping or lodging in the Bosque del Apache itself. Our campsite was just outside of the Wildlife Refuge. We were driving the Bosque del Apache admiring the scenery when several wild turkeys began crossing the gravel road in our path.

We immediately stopped and quietly approached the rafter of turkeys but they showed little interest in us or why we were there. I began to think these wild turkeys had seen enough traffic in the park that they had become “domesticated” wild turkeys. We watched for a while and took photos of their activities as they crossed the road and gathered at a small nearby stream. By this time it appeared that these turkeys were simply gathering at their favorite watering hole after a long day at the bosque.

The turkeys we have encountered in the wild have led a totally different life than the farm raised turkey that will be in our oven this week as we prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.

As we enter the Thanksgiving season I am very thankful for the lives that most of us enjoy as we navigate through life. We are free to move about and enjoy the journey like those turkeys we encounter on our travels.

My wish is that we could all pause and give thanks this season for the opportunities that we encounter every day. May we have a heart of thanksgiving not just this week but every day of the year.

Turkey Trot: Four turkeys seen in the left of the photo seem oblivious to their companion to the right who seems to be dancing to a different drum or perhaps just practicing up dance skills doing the ‘turkey trot’. Photo by Gary Warren/

Crowded Bar: After a busy day at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge this rafter of turkeys seemed to have gathered at the local watering hole for some rest and relaxation. After watching them for a while, we left the group to party on as they pleased. Photo by Gary Warren/

Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country, and he shares his photographs, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.

LOS ALAMOS website support locally by OviNuppi Systems