Emu making itself at home in downtown Hur


About 50-years-ago Holly Kerby screeched his car to a sudden halt in the Village of Hur, and announced with halting speech, that he had just seen a kangaroo cross the road as he was coming up Pine Creek Hill.

We all laughed, since Holly had a tendency to see strange varmints in these hills around Hur. I now want to apologize to the late Holly Kerby, for a short time ago his daughter-in-law, Phyllis Kerby, called to say that there was an ostrich or an emu circling her house, and we'd better come out.

We did, and sure enough, right there at the head of Pine Creek Hill was this large bird, running and prancing around Phyllis' front yard, pecking on her windows.

A call to DNR resulted in some information that the creature, whose owner is unknown, had been wandering around the Calhoun hills for several days.

Officers had been unable to catch it. It was certainly a photo op for The Hur Herald.


Phyllis Kerby of the Village of Hur was napping on her couch when she heard a pecking on her window. She rose to investigate, discovering the large six-foot tall Australian bird attracted to it's reflection.

Phyllis called 911, advising them that she was "not crazy and not drunk."

Calhoun County dispatch advised her that the Emu was for real and had been sighted by other folks.

The previous day the wandering animal was spotted at the Duane Poling residence near Grantsville. DNR officer, Tom Fox, said he had been receiving Emu reports for about two weeks. "I haven't a clue who might own it, but it may have drifted in from Braxton County," he said.

The first Calhoun sighting was in the upper West Fork area at Nicut. He said other reports have come in from Arnoldsburg, Crummies Creek, and the Calhoun Park at Mt. Zion.

Fox said the owner would probably want the animal returned. "It would be best to just leave it alone, for now," he advised.

Dianne Weaver feeding "Big Bird"


It wandered across Calhoun County for two weeks, surprising and entertaining each community. Chased by dogs and people, and put into flight by oncoming cars.

In a few quiet moments folks settled down to feed it. This past weekend it was lured with some corn into one of Charley Heiney's barns between Hur and Joker, and is currently awaiting extradition to Braxton County.

The EMU apparently escaped from a petting zoo in Braxton after it caught on fire. The owners are excited about getting the bird back. They are expected to come to Calhoun to complete the extradition. Pro Hardware employee, Howard Johnson, was the "corn man," instrumental in its capture. Actually, as Emus go, it was quite friendly.


Calhoun's wandering Emu has been held captive pending placement for several days in a barn on the Joker Ridge.

Mrs. Charles Heiney of Grantsville, who has developed a fondness for the creature, reports the bird has been "busted out" and is now on the loose again.

The Heiney family captured the six-foot bird in the Hur-Joker area a week ago. Several reports indicate the Emu escaped from Braxton County, and has traveled from Nicut to Crummies Creek to Hur in the past three weeks. Mrs. Heiney had planned on placing the creature on the Ball Farm on Bull River in a high-fenced area. "I would like to get it back," she said. So, if you spot Calhoun's wandering Emu, give her a call at 304-354-7912.


Calhoun's wandering Emu has been joined by a second Emu, probably a male. The last sighting was on Pine Creek Hill above Grantsville last Saturday at the Raymond Starkey residence.

Starkey discovered the six-foot birds in his pasture. One of the critters had his calf by the ear, the animals were "fighting" over food in a grain box.

"It wouldn't let go for about three minutes," he said.

Starkey called 911, and Sheriff Allen "Lash LaRue" Parsons came to his assistance, roping one of the animals and leading it to another field.

Then both animals went into the woods one more time.

The staff of The Hur Herald is starting a fund to place a TV head-cam on the creature, and have an ongoing travelogue of the county live on the net.

Last week one of the Emus was "busted out" of Charles Heiney's barn on the Joker Ridge by a "free the emu" person. Earlier the critter spent time in downtown Hur at the corporate headquarters of The Hur Herald.


When we last saw Calhoun's wandering Emu it had found a soul mate at the top of Pine Creek Hill and was jockeying for food from a grain box with Raymond Starkey's calf.

It grabbed the calf's ear in a contest for the grain, and did not want to let go.

Starkey, unable to understand the nature of the bird, turned to Calhoun Sheriff, Allen Parsons for help. Parsons roped one of the Emus and placed it in Raymond's barn, ignoring the prospect of the bird's powerful kick.

The other Emu ran into the backwoods of Pine Creek. Sheriff Parsons, duty done, left the scene in his cruiser to return to Grantsville.

Moments later, the Emu kicked down the barn door, escaping again. Parsons reported the Emu passed his cruiser as he drove down the highway.

Later, one of the critters was caught by Bonnie Lemley's daughter on Northside, Grantsville, who turned it over to the Emu Warden, who is now "holding" the subject in a pen.

Final Note: One emu was returned to its owner, while the other one was spotted on Sand Ridge, to disappear forever.