Kevin, Penticton’s famous broken-winged goose, is alive and well, say friends of the popular bird who lives on Okanagan Lake.
He survived the frigid, icy temperatures of last week, albeit a bit begrudgingly, and seems to be doing well now that the ice has mostly melted, says Kyle Sunderman, one of Kevin’s longtime friends.
Sunderman befriended Kevin around a year ago, but lately, he has been posting pictures of Kevin to local Facebook pages to keep people updated on his wellbeing.
“I work with adults with special needs, so it’s become our morning ritual to go visit Kevin. We talk to him, and he’s gotten to know us. He will even come out of the water to visit if he sees us coming,” said Sunderman.
Sunderman, who has been working with adults with special needs for 24 years, says Kevin has provided a real opportunity for compassion and connection with his clients. He’s grateful to the famed goose for all the joy Kevin has brought to people through this challenging time during the pandemic.
“I’d say, through the past year, with COVID-19, Kevin has been the kind of light we’ve all needed. We’ve seen him persevere through freezing cold temperatures and being on his own and not being able to fly, showing us he can get through anything.”
Sunderman did get a little worried last week when he couldn’t find Kevin anywhere.
“I hadn’t seen him for a few days during the cold snap, and it was worrisome. But then I was out for a walk with my wife, and there he was on the ice,” he said. “I’m no goose expert, but I could tell by his body language that he wasn’t loving the ice.”
A call to help Kevin before winter hit went viral in November, with people as far as Washington and Vancouver Island reaching out to help him. Several people volunteered to adopt him, and rescue groups throughout B.C.’s interior and coast also offered to take him in.
But Kevin has eluded several capture attempts and remains on the lake, spending time around the Peach and near the Kiwanis bridge.
“Apparently, three years ago, people attempted to rescue Kevin but weren’t able to capture him then.”
Since posting pictures of Kevin on social media, people often approach Kyle asking for updates on Kevin. He also gets messages from as far as the coast and the Kamloops asking for an update on how the bird is doing.
“I’m not Kevin’s keeper by any means. I post pictures of him because I care about his wellbeing, and I think a lot of people in Penticton do too,” he said. “He’s become part of the folklore of Penticton.”
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