Gordon the 'famous' Nayland goose dies after suffering from suspected bird flu
- Credit: Fay Keep
Residents in Nayland are devastated by the death of the village's famous goose Gordon - who has been put to sleep after showing symptoms of suspected bird flu.
The wild greylag goose, known locally as Gordon, has lived along the River Stour at Caley Green for more than five years and has touched the hearts of villagers for his "friendly" nature.
According to residents, Gordon has been taking up residence at the bus stop in Bear Street and guarding it for many months, "greeting" people as they get off the bus.
Bus travellers and school children were fascinated by him, with visitors to Nayland often enjoying watching and feeding him. He even featured on BBC Look East, when he received an anonymous Valentine card at the bus stop in 2019.
Sally Dalton has lived in Caley Green for nearly five years and has become the wildlife's principle carer, getting up at sunrise every morning to check on them.
She said Gordon was very "people-friendly" and a "definite character", adding that he will be terribly missed by the village.
"Gordon was the general in charge of the ducks, he would martial all 30 of them and he was a real character," she said.
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"I have lots of happy memories of Gordon, especially when he would flap his wings and run over to me when I took his food over.
"So many tears have been shed following his death, as for a wild greylag goose he was semi-tame and he was part of the community."
Mrs Dalton and her husband had noticed Gordon was "not himself" around Christmas, but at first they thought he may be in semi-hibernation state.
However, Mrs Dalton said Gordon kept standing outside her house last week, and his neck appeared to be very swollen so they phoned the RSPCA.
"The last thing we wanted was for Gordon to be attacked or run over," she said.
The RSPCA arrived on Tuesday, January 5, where they assessed Gordon and noticed he was displaying symptoms consistent with bird flu.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We understand the upset the loss of Gordon will have on the local residents, as watching and being around wildlife especially during these challenging times can bring a real source of comfort.
“Sadly, poor Gordon was very sick. He was thin, lethargic, his neck was swollen and was displaying symptoms consistent with possible suspected bird flu which we reported to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
"The government has advised that to prevent the spread of this horrible bird disease, which has no known cure, sadly the kindest thing to do for any suspected infected birds is to put them to sleep to prevent them suffering and to help minimise the spread."
Gordon's presence throughout the lockdown has raised the spirits of everyone in and around Caley Green and he will be truly missed.
Rosie Emeny said: "Poor Gordon provided us with lots of smiles and laughs throughout these horrible uncertain times."
Another villager Joanne Neep said he was "probably the most famous Nayland resident".
The RSPCA added: “Anyone finding dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, should report it to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77."