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DNR captures wayward emu in Lake County

There’s one less feathery fugitive roaming the Lake County countryside.

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources captured a runaway emu that had been sighted around the outer limits of Two Harbors three separate times within the past two weeks. The DNR returned the emu to its owners, who possess an assortment of animals and had reported the bird missing.

“We don’t have a lot of stuff like this happen,” said Two Harbors-based DNR Lt. Dan Thomasen. “It kind of stood out and made everyone take notice.”

The first emu sighting was reported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on July 10. A deputy responded to the call, which placed the emu near Isackson Road, more than three miles southwest of downtown Two Harbors. By the time the deputy arrived, the emu had fled the scene.

Another call came in July 13. This one put the emu at a property on Old Drummond Road, more than seven miles northwest of downtown Two Harbors and about 10 miles away from the first sighting off Isackson Road. Deputies again were unable to locate the bird.

The emu popped up again July 18 at a property on Stanley Road, about a mile from the site where it originally was spotted.

Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said the elusive avian kept disappearing before officers could get the creature in their sights.

“We didn’t have any menacing reports or anything like that,” Johnson said. “There are other large animals in the area — bear, moose, deer. We just didn’t know how it would respond to traffic.”

Johnson eventually handed the case over to the DNR, which tracked down the bird in short order. Thomasen said the capture was uneventful.

Emus can grow to be more than six feet tall, making them the second-largest living bird in terms of height, behind only the ostrich. Native to Australia, emus have sharp claws and a powerful kick capable of seriously injuring humans, although reports of such incidents are extremely rare. They can run at a top speed of 30 mph.