BEAVER FALLS, Pa. (KDKA) – A runaway rhea has been causing quite a stir in the Beaver County town of North Sewickley.
Ever since the big bird escaped from a farm a week ago, the hunt has been on to find him.
Liz Low and husband, Emil, had what she calls a mid-life crisis a few years back, moving from Dormont to raise the birds.
“They’re a relative of the emus,” she says. “Emus come from Australia. These birds come from Peru. Ostriches, which are 350 pounds, are from Africa.”
The family sells the eggs, one of which can make an omelet for six. Once the female lays the eggs, laws of nature are reversed.
“The males sit on the nest and they take care of the babies,” Low said. “The females, all they have to do is lay the eggs, and they’re free to fun around. Something that wouldn’t be a bad idea sometimes,” she laughs.
But it was a male who flew the coop, or should we say, jumped the fence a week ago.
“They don’t normally do that, but it’s breeding season right now, and he probably was intimidated and went right over the fence,” Low says.
Wait! Down on the driveway! The prodigal bird is back, and the chase is on. It’s a very slow chase, since we don’t want to startle the big guy.
“This is the closest he’s been to home in a week,” Low says, as she climbs a hill with a bucket of bird feed. “So he’s probably getting hungry. And it’s breeding season, so he wants his share of the girls, I guess.”
Rhea sightings have been frequent. The missing bird has been raiding backyard bird feeders.
Although that attempt failed, the couple received good news at the end of the day. The pastor of a nearby church, aided by a youth group, captured the rhea and returned him to the farm.
Members of the youth group named him “Kevin.”