Tim Shortt, FLORIDA TODAY
CAPE CANAVERAL - Taco was looking for love Wednesday morning.
The 6-foot-tall emu approached cars and even a man on a scooter on State Road A1A, but found no feathered friends.
The lusty emu had jumped a 4-foot fence at his owner's home on Lincoln Avenue, wandering several blocks out to the highway. As people made their way to work and school about 7 a.m., Taco strolled through traffic.
He zigged and zagged as Brevard County sheriff's deputies directed traffic and tried to find the owner, Paul Eaton.
"It was walking toward some folks, which was a major concern," said Sheriff's Lt. Alex Herrera. "It's a big bird."
Officials wanted to prevent the bird from harming someone, and also stop drivers from hitting the flightless bird, which in a crash, could "injure someone, to include the bird," he said.
Deputies found Eaton on the beach, and he showed up to help corral Taco. Throwing a T-shirt over the wayward bird's small head to calm it, Eaton got the bird safely into his truck and back home.
At home, Taco lounged under heavy foliage of Eaton's yard. Eaton's home, a lush lot in a residential neighborhood, is home to dogs, chickens, 19 parrots, and of course, Taco.
"He hangs out here in mating season," Eaton said, motioning behind a 4-foot fence that Taco cleared to make his escape. "He felt it was time to move on, close to the females, and he hopped the fence."
But unfortunately for Taco - who was named by a group of kids at a show-and-tell session - there are no other known emus in Cape Canaveral.
Eaton has raised Taco since he was an egg, about four years ago, and cared for Taco's parents before that. In 20 years of raising emus, only one time before has one escaped, Eaton said, adding that he planned to build up his fence - to 6 feet - as soon as possible.
Eaton briefly worried Taco had a limp as a result of his fence-jumping debacle, but said the big bird seemed to be OK.
"I think it shocked him more than anything else."