‘World’s loneliest bird’ died next to the concrete decoy he fell in love with

He devoted himself to someone not real and never realized she can never love him back.

This is the story of Nigel, a seabird who lived on a rocky desolate island in New Zealand and died with only gannet concrete decoys for company. Conservationists found his lifeless body next to the stone decoy they believe he thought was his mate and the nest he built for her.

via Friends of Mana Island Facebook page

For years, he tried to direct his mating instincts — wooing and even making a nest — to his stone-hearted concrete princess. He probably never understood why his efforts were never acknowledged nor reciprocated.

Nigel was lured to the island five years ago that had about 80 concrete gannet decoys. According to The Independent, wildlife officials first placed the painted stone replicas on the cliff side of Mana Island in December 1997, as an effort to establish a new colony. Conservationists have also been broadcasting gannets’ calls through a sound system for the social attraction project and Nigel was the first to settle on the island after 40 years.

Seabirds play a vital role to the ecosystem as their “droppings provide rich nutrients and their burrows create homes for other wildlife”. Nigel could’ve been the key conservationists hoped for in creating a new colony on the island but sadly, nobody followed and settled after him. Living alone with only his “concrete family” for company, visitors dubbed Nigel as the “the world’s loneliest bird” and he was also known as “Nigel no mates”.

Chris Bell, a ranger from the New Zealand Department of Conservation who solely inhabits the Mana Island, told The Washington Post that Nigel could’ve flown away and leave the island but he didn’t. His attraction to the concrete decoy was “odd behavior for a gannet, but every group has their individuals,” he said.

The saddest part of Nigel’s death was three new gannets were spotted on the island on Christmas Eve last year — three actual seabirds that could’ve been Nigel’s company and would join the colony they were trying to establish.

“This just feels like the wrong ending to the story. He died right at the beginning of something great,” Bell said.

Wherever Nigel is, we hope he is happily flying away or maybe feeling that he is loved and never alone. Rest in peace, you pure-hearted creature. You deserve all the love in the world.

via Giphy