A love affair that spanned decades – and species – is at an end.
Thomas the blind, bisexual goose died last week, and will be buried next to his partner of nearly 30 years, a black swan named Henry, on the edge of the New Zealand lagoon that the pair called home.
Having spent his final years at a Wellington bird sanctuary, Thomas will be laid to rest with a public ceremony held later this month, birdwatcher Mik Peryer said.
“It was a 30 year love story that should be celebrated.”
Peryer, guides tours around Waimanu Lagoon and spent 26 years watching the birds.
Initially, when the pair were first seen together, Henry was thought to be a female swan but the lack of babies soon proved otherwise, he said.
The happy partnership was briefly tested when Henry paired up with a female swan but Thomas stuck around, even helping to raise the inevitable babies.
“Prior to Henrietta turning up they had about 18 happy gay years together.”
The feathered threesome delighted visitors who watched the “the eternal triangle” raise 68 cygnet over the years with Thomas fulfilling the role of doting uncle.
He was left heartbroken after Henry’s 2009 death and could be heard occasionally crying for him, Peryer said.
“Henrietta just flew off with another bird, being a young female, but poor old Tom was left on his own.”
The arrival of a couple of female geese finally saw Thomas father his own babies only to have them stolen by another goose, named George, who raised them as his own.
“You would see George and the babies with Thomas just following them around.”
Failing eyesight and attacks by swans saw Thomas rehomed to the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust in 2013, where he spent his final years eating corn and raising orphaned cygnets.
Thomas, who Peryer estimated to be 38-years-old, will be buried under the commemorative stone – complete with plaque – that marks Henry’s final resting place.
“We had about 100 people turn up for Henry and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened for Thomas.”
Author: By – Avinash Gavai
Avinash Gavai is a veritable Master of the Cultural Zeitgeist, raconteur, and bon vivant who is going through the ups and downs of life with incredible dignity, panache, and savoir-faire. He also happens to be a professional journalist, having earned his news chops in Canada and has experience in reporting on international affairs and pop culture. He’s currently the editor of Primefeed, and writes and edits features dealing with politics, world news, and like really weird shit.