Follow that bird! Emo emu embarks on 80-mi adventure, attempts escape from Prius (PHOTOS)
Transporting the wayward Beatrice home after a month-long, 80-mile, cross-state jaunt was an adventure in itself.
Taft Hill Farm curator Kermit Blackwood and Daniel Lipschutz, a farm worker, placed a sock over her head, wrapped a rope around her ankles and surrounded her body in a red blanket. It took 20 minutes to wrangle the emu into a 2013 Toyota Prius, especially since she tried several times to escape again.
But the emu-caused excitement didn’t end there, Robert DuGrenier, the farm’s owner, told WMUR.
During the ride home, Beatrice became frustrated and nearly threw herself out the back window.
At that point, Blackwood and Lipschutz took the sock off and moved her to the trunk of the hybrid, where she settled down.
Beatrice had been missing for a month from Taft Hill, a West Townshend, Vermont wildlife rehabilitation center. After she and two other emus from the herd had disappeared, the leg of one was discovered on the farm, likely eaten by a pack of coywolves that may have set them free, DuGrenier told WBZ. A second emu was found in a neighboring town, but a search revealed neither hide nor hair of Beatrice.
Then an emu started wandering around Bow, New Hampshire in mid-September, becoming the talk of the New England town. The population of just over 7,500 wasn’t used to having a flightless Australian bird in its midst, after all.
No one knew where the “elusive emu” came from, and no one stepped forward to collect the wayward wanderer.
“Some people have them on farms, I know they raise them for meat,” a Bow police dispatcher told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “We’ve checked the farms in the area and nobody has claimed it.”
That is until local news picked up the story, spreading the gossip across state lines to West Townshend, 80 miles (128 km) away.
It wasn’t until a week after the bird had been captured by Maria Colby, who owns Wings of the Dawn, a wildlife rehabilitation center in New Hampshire, that DuGrenier heard about the excitement caused by the emu.
“Could this animal be her?” he wondered. Video posted by the Bow Police Department confirmed it for him, he told WMUR.
Emus can walk long distance with ease, moving at a steady pace to find sources of food, according to the Billabong Sanctuary in Australia. If necessary, they can run at speeds of 30 mph (48 km/h).
To get to Bow, she would have had to cross the Connecticut River and mountainous terrain.
Blackwood figured he’d take look into it, he told the Concord Monitor, and called Colby.
Then he and and Lipschutz piled into the Prius and headed over. The curator wore a jacket lined with shimmering silver fabric that Beatrice would recognize.
“It’s something I wear when I go out to milk the cows,” he told the Concord Monitor. “I turned it inside-out. I didn’t want to freak out poor Maria.”
Did you know? Emus are the only birds with calf muscles, but they can’t walk backwards!
When the two men got to Wings of the Dawn, Colby brought them to where the captured emu was. She greeted Blackwood by rolling her neck towards him, just as he’d hoped she would.
“That’s her,” Colby said. “I see it.” The bird hadn’t greeted her that way during the week-long stay, she told the Concord Monitor.
“She absolutely recognized me,” Blackwood said, after meeting the bird at Wings of the Dawn. “And I recognized her.”
“Everything is well. Beatrice is home,” he said at the end of the adventure.