Commuters’ Feathers Ruffled

Ostrich takes hike on bridge

The 6-foot-tall bird, who apparently didn’t feel like hiding its head in the sand, escaped from the back of a cargo van on the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday, stopping evening commute traffic in both directions and sending dozens of tourists racing for their cameras.

The ostrich, a female, got loose around 4:45 p.m. from the rear of the northbound van, which was heading for a Healdsburg vegetable farm, said California Highway Patrol sergeant Wayne Ziese. A sudden acceleration of the van caused the bird to smash through the rear window and land on the bridge pavement, just north of the toll plaza.

“It should never have happened,” said the driver of the van, Ronald Love. “The ostrich’s butt broke the window. You never would think an ostrich could fit through a little window, but she did.”

Love, the owner of Love Farms, had bought the ostrich for $300 a few hours earlier in Watsonville and was taking it to its new home. Love said he had rescued the ostrich from a date with the butcher and was planning to use the bird to produce ostrich eggs, and this is how the bird showed its gratitude.

The usual gaggle of afternoon bridge tourists began passionately snapping photographs.

Bridge police officers, Highway Patrol officers and a bridge tow truck driver helped Love corral the ostrich inside a garage used by bridge tow trucks. The ostrich roundup took about 10 minutes.

“It was quite an adventure,” Love said. “Strange things always seem to happen with ostriches. I guess this proves it.”

I’d love to know some of the strange things that “always seem to happen with ostriches.”

One Comment

  1. I heard about this story at work and was waiting for the punch line. It was presented as “Did you hear about the ostrich that got loose…” As for the other things that “always seem to happen with ostriches,” I’m not familiar with those. Guess I just have my head stuck in the sand.

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