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Nigel, the loneliest bird on earth, died next to a fake fowl he loved.

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.

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Nigel and his concrete love. He died by her side. Image: YouTube.
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"I think we all have a lot of empathy for him, because he had this fairly hopeless situation."

There, next to his unresponsive beloved, Nigel died last week, with the Friends of Mana Island, making the announcement on their Facebook page.

"Nigel won the hearts of FOMI members and visitors to the island, settling there alone. Volunteers have spent many hours over the years maintaining the concrete colony," they wrote.

What makes Nigel's story all the more tragic is that other birds did arrive on the island in recent months, but romance wasn't meant to be. First, there was another male, named Norman, who spent some time on the island last year. Then, last month, a trio of gannets arrived on the island, New Zealand site Stuff reports, raising the hopes of breeding.

But Nigel paid no attention to the real-life females, favouring his concrete friends.

"This just feels like the wrong ending to the story. He died right at the beginning of something great."

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