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Odd Bird Accompanies Golfers in Washington


An unlikely visitor stopped by Oaksridge Golf Course in Elma, Wash., a rural town west of Olympia. An emu, a flightless bird native to Australia, became an interested observer of Sue McMeekin of Satsop and Les Bell of Montesano, Wash.

The bird, second in height only to an ostrich, can grow to more than 6 feet tall and weigh up to 100 pounds. It's capable of running as fast as 30 mph for short distances.

McMeekin and Bell were escorted by the bird for seven of their nine holes. It watched each swing and sometimes walked between them or stood directly in front of them. The emu seemed to take particular interest in McMeekin's red fleece jacket.

"It was strange," McMeekin said. "She's awful big and she made me nervous."

After hanging around the pro shop, the emu started following McMeekin and Bell while course employee Jeremy Behm called the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department. A deputy was dispatched but could not immediately determine the bird's owner. Soon, however, the emu's owner left his home near the course and picked retrieved it, Behm said.