Hokie Nation flocks to visit Tater and Tot at Gobblers Rest

President Tim Sands visits the newest member of Hokie Nation, Tater (or is it Tot?).

Move over HokieBird, there’s a new bird in town. Two of them, actually.

The day before Thanksgiving, two of the country’s most famous birds migrated from the White House to their new living quarters, dubbed Gobblers Rest, inside the Livestock Judging Pavilion on Plantation Road.

The birds in question? None other than the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate that President Barack Obama “pardoned” as part of the annual White House ceremony.

Since the birds — who go by Tater and Tot — landed in Blacksburg, thousands of people have turned out to see the newest additions to the Hokie Nation.

“It was amazing to see so many people so excited about the turkeys,” said Rami Dalloul, a poultry immunologist. “We continue to get folks stopping by to snap photos and see part of history for themselves.”

In the past, the birds have moved from the White House to a farm or historical site. This is the first time they will live at a university.

“Considering how Virginia Tech is home to the HokieBird and is where the modern turkey industry has its roots, it is apt that the pardoned turkeys call Blacksburg home,” Dalloul said.

The birds are cared for in part by the poultry club, which helped create Gobblers Rest — including painting the footprints on the wall between the White House and Blacksburg.