Benton County's Big Bird returns home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Benton County's Big Bird returns home

Bonnie Sanders with Big Bird Bonnie Sanders with Big Bird

VINTON (KWWL) - Benton County's "Big Bird" is safe at him home once again.

Dwight and Bonnie Sanders, of rural Vinton, reported thier ostrich missing Sunday. Dwight was driving a tractor when he spotted the bird running in the field.

A few other Big Bird sightings were reported over the next few days, but none yielded his capture. Finally Wednesday, the bird was spotted in a neighbor’s field less than a mile from home, where a gated fence was able to keep him confined until the capture could be made.

Although the owners were unsure of how they would manage to catch the ostrich, Dwight, with the help of his son, Jason, and farmhand David Kalina, were able to successfully round up Big Bird. Ostriches can run up to 40 miles per hour.

Dwight explained the round up. “I called to Big Bird and after a brief hesitation she ran towards me. I was able to hold on to her neck, but she got nervous. We had read some information on rounding up an ostrich that suggested putting a sack over the ostrich's head to calm her down, and that seemed to help.”

It took all three men to get her into the trailer, but once there she sat down and stayed there, with her owner by her side, until they arrived home. The hood was then removed and Big Bird got up and walked out of the trailer.

As to how the ostrich got loose in the first place, the Sanders said it appears that Big Bird must have been pushing against the gate and broken the latch.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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