Search continues for Midland Co. emus

The search continues for the owner of a pair of emus after a Midland County resident had a run in with the exotic birds on the rail trail.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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MIDLAND CO., Mich. (WNEM) - The search continues for the owner of a pair of emus after a Midland County resident had a run-in with the exotic birds on the rail trail.

The resident said it’s an experience she’ll never forget.

“I was just taking my dog for a walk,” said Midland County resident Kate Buning.

She said it’s something she does every day on the Pere Marquette Rail Trail in the North Bradly area. But on Monday, things were different.

“Just came across two emu coming out of the woods. And I snapped a photo, I just thought it’s unusual,” she said.

Buning said she’s seen eagles, foxes, coyotes, and bear tracks on the trail. Coming face to face with a pair of emus was a first. She said the emus became hostile and started to attack.

Related: Emus on the loose in Midland Co.

“It was terrifying. I literally was thinking ‘Really? Am I going to die? This is the way I’m going to die, being assaulted by emu.’”

Buning said she believes the emus were after her dog. She said they followed her for about a half mile along the trail.

“Kind of like a bear technique, I was like you know, make yourself big, throw stones at it I guess. Because they just wouldn’t stop coming at us. And I called 911, poor lady, I was really frantic. And I ended up being able to reach the road and they quit following me,” she said.

Buning said she is still shaken up by the experience.

Emus have gained popularity through insurance commercials. Since the incident, people have poked fun at her, asking if she was offered any coverage.

“I have heard that. Everybody at work has been laughing at me all day long. So, they did not. I probably would not have bought it. The technique was a bit aggressive,” she said.

Buning is just glad humans and animals alike were not hurt during this encounter. She said be back out to the trail soon.

“I enjoy walking my dog. But I definitely will be taking my bear spray with me at all times,” Buning said.

The Midland County Sheriff’s Office said the birds have not been found.

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