GUILDERLAND — An emu by the name of Sheriff Cody was back home safe Wednesday after going on his own brief patrol through the neighborhood, stopping traffic and tiring out his pursuers along the way.
The incident started in the early afternoon, after the emu being housed at Whispering Willow Wild Care, 3558 Carman Road, took advantage of an improperly secured gate and got out, center director Joyce Perry said.
A good Samaritan spotted the emu, called 911 and the effort was on to end the flightless bird's flight from custody.
Traffic stopped. Police responded. "The Guilderland Police were wonderful," Joyce said.
One passerby, Mark Grimm, an Albany County legislator, managed to snap a couple of photos of the good sheriff on Carman, crossing the road.
"The emu was just prancing all around and all of a sudden stops and starts to walk right toward me," Grimm said.
The emu approached Grimm's car hood before moving on.
"It was really a strange sight to see," he said, of the feathered jaywalker, a species native to Australia that is the second-tallest bird in the world.
Sheriff Cody has been staying at the wild care center since about May, Perry said. His owner moved to the area from Florida and knew someone who knew Joyce.
The owner is in the process of finding a more suitable home by winter as Whispering Willow deals mainly with birds of prey, providing rehabilitation, education and outreach.
The emu was a little frightened from his ordeal, but otherwise OK. In all, he was gone about two hours, she said. He was back home by about 3:30 p.m.