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Disabled Gander becomes local celeb in Milton Keynes

Hank the gander

A gander from Milton Keynes has attracted added attention from visitors concerned about his welfare.

Hank the Honker - yep, that’s the name he’s been given - has the persona of a sad bird wandering around Willen Lake, but the little hero has become the centre of attention.

The gander was born last year with a condition known as Angel Wing, basically that means their wings do not form properly but do not cause any discomfort.

Despite the pain free disability, Hank is unable to fly like the rest of his Canada Goose buddies which means he is being kept a close eye on from the team at MK Swan Rescue group, just to make sure he does not come to any harm.

Allie Short, from the rescue centre, told MK Citizen: "Hank is very well loved and cared for, and actually the fattest little goose there as people take pity on him and feed him constantly,” "We receive messages of concern about Hank regularly, sometimes multiple reports in the same day, and it’s lovely that people care. But really, he’s fine.”

Don’t feel sorry for Hank though, he knows how to play on people’s emotions. The cheeky fella is in charge of not only the rest of his flock, he also plays the sympathy game to us humans so they give him loads of food.

When he spots a visitor Hank waddles up to them, gives out a honk, and waits to be fed - it works every time - especially when Philippa pays a visit.

She is one of the locals and adores Honk, last week she actually shared a video online showing what a tame goose he is.

Explaining Hank’s condition, Short said: "If caught in time it can be fixed in just days by carefully strapping the wing into the correct position, but it has to be done while the bones are still soft enough and this unfortunately wasn’t done for Hank.

“We get masses and masses of calls and messages about angel wing birds as it looks alarming. Most birds cope just fine with it, but they can’t usually fly.”

Angel wing is thought to be brought on by feeding bread, but Short dismisses that theory.

"This claim has been made repeatedly despite an absolute lack of scientific evidence to support it and has only served to increase the sales of expensive floating pellets -which are made of almost the same ingredients as bread,” she explained.

“Hank is probably the best fed goose in the area as so many people know him and take pity on him. He can’t fly so won’t ever be able to travel around with his flock like other geese do, but he is perfectly happy and living his best life where he is.”

[ Goose is the term for a female geese, male ones are called ganders. ]

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