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Follow that bird: Emu on the loose in North Carolina

Melvin Smith of Greene County said the emu is the last remaining bird from a farm his family owned during the 1980s.

By Ben Hooper

SNOW HILL, N.C., March 5 (UPI) -- A North Carolina man is searching for his 24-year-old pet emu, which he said jumped a fence when she was spooked by the noise from farm equipment.

Melvin Smith of Greene County said the emu -- a large, flightless bird native to Australia -- jumped a fence on his property and ran off about 4 p.m. Tuesday when the bird was startled by the noise from a loud piece of farming equipment.

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Sheriff's deputies have been on the lookout for the female emu and some neighbors reported seeing what they thought was an ostrich looking into their windows Wednesday morning.

Smith said the emu belongs to his mother, who is in a nursing home. He said his family kept one male and one female emu after their farm, which formerly housed about 3,000 of the birds in the 1980s, closed down. He said the male emu died a few years ago.

Smith said he has been spreading food around his property in an attempt to lure the emu home.

The Kansas Emu Association said the animals can live for more than 30 years and grow up to 6 feet tall.

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