The Champlain Islands are buzzing over a wayward farm animal that escaped from its pen several weeks ago. But this is no ordinary farm animal. It's a 150-pound bird.
The elusive emu was sighted Friday morning at the local elementary school walking right by the principal's window.
"She was on her computer typing and it walks right by her office... She was probably typing about seeing it two days ago and it walks right by her office. It was pretty cute," Steve Berard said. "He was right out the window."
That is when the chase ensued. Berard grabbed an extension cord, and headed out to the playground.
"It will stand still and that is how I actually had it around its neck, I had the wire around its neck and I was trying to lasso it a little better. I did not want to hurt it. Then it laid its neck back, but I was right next to it like you to me, I was grabbing it. I could have sat on him. He did not kick or nothing... people say he will hurt you, but I don't know," Berard said.
The emu has been on the loose for about five weeks now, and has been spotted throughout Grand Isle and South Hero. The emu came from a farm in Grand Isle. The owner of the farm used to be a dairy farmer. He told us he got the emus for his grandchildren, but they don't make great pets.
"The Grand Isle farmer has posted an ad into the paper that has said, 'Free emu if you can capture it,'" said Tonya Poutry of the Islander Newspaper.
He is also willing to give his other two remaining male emus away, as well.
Fish and wildlife told us the emu is considered a domestic animal, so it is the responsibility of its owner and the town animal control officer. No official plan has been made yet to capture the emu on the lam.
"But I think the Islanders in general are just enjoying the sightings of him and hope with this winter we are having he has got lots of food sources. I believe that is what he was doing in my garden because they are omnivores and eat insects," Poutry said.
So the unofficial hunt for the emu escapee continues.
"When I lost her she was right in here," Berard said. "You gotta watch the wings. Like a turkey them wings can really do some damage. Birds are tough. His feet are as big as my hand."
One more story to add to the legend of the Island emu on the loose.
Here is an emu fact for you: One egg can feed four people.
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