The renowned bisexual goose Thomas, who raised 68 cygnets while engaging in a love triangle with two swans, passed away at 40.
The unusually long-lived bird preferred a black swan named Henry over the female geese in Waimanu Lagoon in Waikanae, north of Wellington.
Until a young female swan named Henrietta grabbed Henry’s heart and turned Thomas into the third wheel, the couple had been together for 24 years.
But throughout the following six years, Thomas assisted in raising their 68 cygnets, frequently acting as an uncle to the hatchlings in their nest.
He became a local celebrity thanks to his odd relationships, with many local birdwatchers passing the day by to observe his love life.
Thomas was left alone in his old age and occasionally heard sobbing over his companion after Henry died in 2009 at 30. Shortly after Henry’s death, Henrietta flew off with another swan.
Thomas finally had his children without his soulmate present when new female geese came, only to have George steal them from him.
As his health concerns worsened and cataracts rendered him blind, the senior bird retired to the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust in 2013.
Along the way, Thomas assisted in raising a few broods of cygnets, according to the trust, in addition to finding other blind bird friends with whom he could spend his days.
“He did a great job, and [that was] for sentimental reasons,” I said.
When we placed him back into his house at night, he was unhappy if corn on the cob wasn’t there.
According to the organization, which cares for up to 400 birds annually, Thomas showed that old birds could still see.
In it, it was written, “You were a true inspiration for the work we do and the things we are able to accomplish for the animals in our care.”
He was such a unique young man with a great personality. We mourn you very much, Thomas bisexual goose, our dear friend. May you rest in peace.
After a public ceremony later this month, Thomas will be laid to rest next to Henry at the lagoon where they spent most of their lives.