This Post Is for the Birds… The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site of New Mexico: Part 4

A rather strange turkey you might note, with claws out, coming at you. It isn’t so strange if you’ve experienced it, as I did. I was taking close-ups of a hen’s chicks when she decided to discourage me by flying at me with claws aimed. She succeeded.

 

Peggy and I are on our way home from North Carolina today. We flew back to surprise our son, Tony, who was promoted to Lieutenant Commander for the Coast Guard in Charleston, South Carolina. While he teaches at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut overseeing cadets who want to fly for the Coastguard, he was visiting his In-laws in South Carolina and the Coast Guard arranged for the appointment ceremony to take place in Charleston.  

Today’s blog is for the birds, so to speak. I am featuring petroglyphs of birds we found at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in New Mexico. They ranged from eagles to turkeys.

It’s no wonder that the Jornada were impressed with eagles. I am. I took this photo of a Bald Eagle in Oregon.

Here’s his look-alike petroglyph at the Three Rivers’ Site.

The mighty eagle may have ruled the skies of southern New Mexico, but it was the Thunderbird that ruled the heavens. A flap of its wings would gather clouds and send thunder bouncing off the far mountains. Lightning would shoot out of its eyes. The Thunderbird existed in numerous Native American and First Nation cultures. Peggy and I have found images from New Mexico to Alaska.

This petroglyph of a Thunderbird is one of the most powerful petroglyphs I have seen.

Peggy and I found this totem pole Thunderbird on Vancouver Island, British Colombia. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Another example from Three Rivers.

It wasn’t surprising that we found a roadrunner petroglyph, the superfast, long-legged bird of the Southwest that is common in the desert and eats rattlesnakes for breakfast. Did you ever watch the Roadrunner-Coyote cartoons? I was addicted to it at UC Berkeley in the mid-60s. Cartoon time was mandatory break time! My fellow dorm residents and I would gather around the lone TV in our dormitory and cheer as Road Runner once again foiled Wile E. Coyote.

A roadrunner with its snake breakfast. I am also intrigued with the upside down animal above the roadrunner. I think it might be a peccary.

This sophisticated petroglyph looks a lot like a goose or duck to me. Note how the artist has used the contour of the rock to give body to the goose.

We also found petroglyphs of wild turkeys, the bird that Benjamin Franklin preferred over the eagle as a national symbol for America. These characters provide us with endless entertainment as they roar around in our backyard, chase each other, show off, and search for food. I suspect that the Jornada regarded them as a source of food.

Possibly a turkey head.

And a stick figure turkey!

I’ll finish today with this tom turkey strutting his stuff in our back yard. We’re always amused that the hens totally ignore the guys when they put on their shows, almost appearing bored. We’ve decided that the shows are to impress the competition.

NEXT POST: The slithery serpents of Three Rivers. Last week I blogged about my encounter with a Diamondback Rattler. This time I will focus on how the Jornada perceived snakes and lizards. There is even a rattlesnake!

 

20 comments on “This Post Is for the Birds… The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site of New Mexico: Part 4

  1. I always cheered for Wile E. Coyote. There was much about him that spoke to me, something that was observed by my colleagues who noted that my system designs were heavily inspired by the coyote.

    • Thanks, Lexi. Tony has worked hard to get there.
      The various bird portrayals help, in a way, to carry us back in time to a different reality, that wasn’t all that different. –Curt

    • thanks. That was part of my reason for the adding actual photos, Juliann. The ancients were looking at the same animals/birds we do. The Thunderbird is more mythological, more of a god. –Curt

  2. I’m proud of your son, not just for his promotion but his continued service. These bird petroglyphs are funny little creatures, as all petroglyphs when it gets down to it. None are exact — almost cartoonish, in fact. Thanks for posting and sharing. And come on back to my part of the world soon. (North Carolina is practically in our back door!)

    • The petroglyphs at Three Rivers run the gamut, from relatively simple to fairly sophisticated. I like them all, for their mystery as well as their depiction.
      Thanks on Tony. He is a good man doing an important job.
      As long as our daughter lives in Charlotte, I suspect we will be out that way frequently. –Curt

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