Boy, 12, ‘full-time parent’ after saving gosling from buzzards

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

A schoolboy and an orphaned gosling have become “joined at the hip” during lockdown after he rescued it from hungry buzzards.

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

Rex Stilwell, a 12-year-old student at Beeston Hall School near Cromer, saved the baby bird on March 21 when his mum, Emma, spotted it scurrying up and a down a road near their house. Rex decided to call him Winston, and has even made an Instagram account on the Greylag’s behalf (@winston_goosehill).

Ms Stilwell said: “I was on my way to the shops when I saw the poor thing, but called Rex and told him to get straight out there on his bike to save it.

“We think he was only two days old and this is usually the time at which they imprint on their mothers.

“Instead, Winston has imprinted on Rex - and the two have become absolutely inseparable over the past three weeks.”

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant


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According to his mum, Rex has become a “full-time parent”. Every day he weighs Winston, plays with him, feeds him, bathes him and even sleeps with him. When he thought something was wrong with him, Rex took him straight to the vet to check if he was ok - and he was.

Rex has in fact spent all of his savings on a “goose house” for the garden, because although the family expect Winston to fly off when he is ready to find a mate, it is possible that he may visit in the future.

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Ms Stilwell said: “Rex was so tired the other day because Winston is taking up all of his time and it’s just so sweet. When he went up to bed, I told him that the goose was so lucky to have him, but Rex said that actually, he was lucky to have the goose.

“They have an amazing bond, and it’s definitely the perfect distraction for him through this weird time we’ve all found ourselves in.”

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

But Winston is providing entertainment beyond merely the Stilwell household by sitting in on all of Rex’s virtual teaching sessions with his classmates and teacher.

Ms Stilwell said: “The teachers don’t seem to mind it really. Everyone is invested in Rex and Winston’s journey together.

“Once he gets a little bigger, Rex is going to take him swimming in a nearby lake.”

Rex taking Winston to class with him. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex taking Winston to class with him. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex looking after his baby goose Winston. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

Rex has been recording Winston's weight every day since he rescued him. Photo: Emma Stilwell

Rex has been recording Winston's weight every day since he rescued him. Photo: Emma Stilwell - Credit: Archant

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