(Editor's note: This column about a chicken that showed up on the Courthouse lawn last June won first place for humorous column in the Alabama Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest.)

While sitting at my desk on a bright, sunny Thursday morning, I received a phone call.

“Good morning,” I said. “Advertiser-Gleam. This is Sherry. May I help you?”

“Yes, ma’am. I think I have a story you may be interested in,” the caller said.

“I’m listening.”

“There’s a chicken at the Courthouse.”

“A chicken?”

“Yep. It comes early every morning and she’s here this morning. It has been going on for a few days.”

Well, this phone call led to an investigation.

Apparently, the chicken only shows up some mornings. As I walked around the Courthouse, I was beginning to believe the evidence was hearsay and circumstantial at best. I found one red feather but I was doubting I would find the chicken. While walking around the area, I was directed by the guards to where she was last seen. I followed their directions and there sat the culprit.

Mike Lieberman, an employee at the Courthouse, came out the door to investigate my adventure with Courtney, the Courthouse chicken. He informed me that she is a golden comet hen and the chase was on. She was evading our attempt to find and photograph her.

I was raised on a farm so I was more than happy to pursue her around to get the best shot. She flew onto the railing and over to the other side of the walkway.

Lieberman and myself had her trapped under a tree but she was one fast hen. Once she moved from underneath the tree and was able to take flight, she flew away and hid under a car in the parking lot. She did hit me with her wing, but I am not pressing charges at the moment. We discussed disorderly conduct but security does not believe it would stand if we went to trial.

I felt a little “hen pecked” from the investigation but I got “eggxactly” what was coming. I knew better than to try to catch a chicken without the proper gear.

Ms. Courtney, a name given to her by a staff member at the Gleam, has not been seen in a few days and the investigation is still open as to her location when not at the Courthouse. It is alleged that “fowl” play may be involved. A few of the Courthouse staffers, none of whom want to be named, claim she was tasty; however, no one has any had evidence of her whereabouts. There is a rumor circulating that she was seen walking down Taylor Street.

There is no all points bulletin or BOLO at the moment but she is currently being looked for by several staff members from the Courthouse and the Gleam. Reports state that she may have gone home, but no one is sure where that location is. Speculation is she may have come from the chickens on Hill Avenue but this has not been confirmed.

If anyone has any information of the whereabouts of Courtney the Courthouse chicken, let us know so we can do a follow up story.

(Sherry Mayberry is the newest member of the Advertiser-Gleam news team. Longtime readers might recognize the name. She served as our summer intern in 2015.)

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