As you go about your busy life and spend time with family and friends, spare a brief thought for Nigel, the loneliest bird of earth, who died last week.
In what was the end to a tragic, strange little life, Nigel “No Mates” the gannet, who lived on a small New Zealand island, died suddenly next to a concrete replica bird he had come to love.
You see, in 2013 wildlife conservationists set up a flock of fake birds on Mana Island. They hoped to attract gannets in an effort to build a colony.
Listen: Humans get lonely too. Britain just got a Minister for Loneliness, so why aren’t we next? (Post continues.)
Nigel saw the fake birds and made a home on the island. But sadly, no other gannets chose to join him.
Instead, Nigel made friends with his 80 concrete buddies, with one, in particular, catching the lovebird’s eye.
Despite his lover not returning his affection, Nigel persisted, grooming the “chilly, concrete feathers… year after year after year”, the Guardian reports.
“Whether or not he was lonely, he certainly never got anything back, and that must have been [a] very strange experience,” conservation ranger Chris Bell, who found Nigel’s body, told the publication.