A Staten Island goose happily rejoined his gaggle after a Long Island couple helped him recover from being shot with an arrow.
Video from the reunion showed the white domestic goose, who made headlines in March after he and another goose were seen swimming with arrows sticking out of their bodies, excitedly flapping his wings and honking as park rangers released him to the other geese at Willowbrook Park on Wednesday. The feathered friends honked back.
“Usually they’re peaceable, but they were missing their buddy,” said Cathy Horvath, of Massapequa, who rehabilitated the goose.
Bobby and Cathy Horvath, licensed wildlife rehabilitators, said the New York City Park’s Department urban park rangers contacted them March 17 after park visitors took videos and reported seeing two geese with crossbow injuries.
The geese were captured and handed over to the Horvaths for treatment, Bobby Horvath said.
A parks representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.
One of the geese, a female Canada goose, was lucky — hers was “was only a flesh wound,” said Cathy Horvath, and she was released after about five days.
The white domestic goose wasn’t quite so lucky, the Horvaths said. He required surgery and two weeks of antibiotics and pain medication to help him recover.
For a time, he lived in a dog kennel in the Horvaths’ living room, where they named him Angel. After his injuries healed, he was allowed to walk around in the backyard.
Domestic white geese are not found in the wild unless they’ve been released by their owners, and they thought he might do well at a sanctuary, the Horvaths said. But the longer the goose stayed with the Horvaths, Cathy Horvath said it became obvious something wasn’t quite right.
“He was depressed. He would sit on the grass with his head down, I had to convince him to eat food and drink water,” she said. “I’d look out the kitchen window and he would just be sitting in the yard in a lump, and it was heartbreaking.”
The Horvaths said they believe the white goose had bonded with two other geese at the park.
With the help of the park rangers, Cathy Horvath said they arranged to take the white goose back to his home. He finally waddled into the pond at Willowbrook on Wednesday.
“I knew they were going to be ecstatic and screaming and carrying on,” Horvath said. “It was so amazing to see them go back to each other.”