A visual approximation of the hen in question. (Photo: Konstantin Nikiforov/Wikipedia)

On Wednesday morning a hackneyed old joke became an unexpected reality when a chicken attempted to cross the road at Bay Bridge toll plaza in San Francisco.

CBS San Francisco reports that, at approximately 5:50 a.m., a brown hen was spotted “running around the Fastrak lanes” approaching the plaza. In addition to causing bewilderment and slowing traffic, the bird did not appear to be in possession of the electronic device required to pass through Fastrak toll stations.

Thirty minutes after the initial sighting ruffled feathers, callers to KCBS radio station’s traffic watch service reported that there was more than one hen on the road. These reports, however, were never confirmed—it appears to have been just one rogue hen that caused the traffic trouble.

California Highway Patrol officers in neon yellow high-visibility jackets eventually captured the bird following a low-speed on-foot chase across multiple road lanes. The hen was escorted to the back of a patrol car and taken to a local veterinarian, with many “fowl play” puns made along the way. No charges were laid.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.