Wild Turkey Spotted Joining Funeral Processions, Paying Respects at Arlington National Cemetery: PHOTO

by Amy Myers

Visitors at Arlington National Cemetery couldn’t help but watch in wonder as a female wild turkey followed a funeral procession. The bird fell in line behind a group of military personnel, appearing as though it was part of the platoon. Calmly and confidently, the turkey fell in line as though this was far from the first service she attended.

Not surprisingly, the respectful bird turned a few heads on the grounds. Even Arlington National Cemetery had to share the special moment. On Instagram, the National Cemetery posted a snapshot of the feathered visitor as she made her rounds.

Sure enough, the turkey seemed to follow formation perfectly, keeping pace with the servicemember in front of her.

Take a look.

“Recently, one of our turkeys, who resides mainly within our conservation area, has been spotted following funeral processions, paying respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and generally lounging in the sun throughout the cemetery,” the National Cemetery explained. “The turkey has been identified as female and her assumed male counterpart has been spotted on wildlife cameras within our conservation area. If you spot her, or any wildlife within ANC, please remember this is their home and be respectful of them and their space.

Arlington National Cemetery Sees Wide Range of Wildlife, from Turkeys to Coyotes

The National Cemetery’s staff explained that the wild turkey spotting isn’t unusual. In fact, there are quite a few wild residents on the cemetery’s grounds.

“Visitors to Arlington National Cemetery may not expect to see an abundance of wildlife, since the cemetery is so close to the heart of Washington D.C. This however, is not the case. Within ANC’s 639 acres, wildlife is populous. ANC’s wildlife population includes deer, squirrels and chipmunks, coyotes, foxes, snakes, a variety of birds and even wild turkeys,” Arlington National Cemetery explained.

Back in March, the National Cemetery demonstrated just how frequently you can find different animals among the graves of our nation’s heroes. In the photo, a fox, squirrel, hawk, whitetail deer and fawn all pose in separate snapshots.

Arlington National Cemetery Shares Video of Gorgeous Landscaping

The reason Arlington National Cemetery is so popular with animals is its incredibly lush landscaping. With more than 9,600  native and exotic trees and at least 500 species of woody plants, the grounds are an oasis for wildlife that wanders close to Washington, D.C.

“We take our commitment to environmental stewardship very seriously at Arlington National Cemetery,” the cemetery shared in another post. “Our Memorial Arboretum is a living tribute to those who have honorably served their nation. Rolling green hills, majestic trees, and a diverse collection of plants create a rich natural tapestry to honor our veterans.”