Nigel The Gannet Dies Alone After Living Years With Concrete Decoys
Some animals are destined to spend the end of their lives alone. If that isn't a cheery thought for a Friday, at least you haven't fallen in love with an inanimate object.
WATCH 'NO MATES' NIGEL HANG OUT WITH HIS CONCRETE PALS BELOW:
A lonely gannet called Nigel has died without a partner or children after he became infatuated with another gannet - who was made of concrete.
Seabird Nigel spent three years trying to woo a decoy on Mana Island, New Zealand, only to find the statue never reciprocated his feelings (obviously).
Nigel was found dead in the uninhabited nature reserve last week lying next to the inanimate bird, along with a large number of other concrete gannets.
The 80 concrete birds were originally installed in 1976 as conservation staff tried to start a breeding colony of gannets. However, the replicas went unnoticed until they were moved to Mana Island in 2012.
The replica birds, which boast solar-powered gannet calls and are repainted every year, eventually managed to attract real gannets, including Nigel who landed on the island in 2015.
Nigel was initially alone on the island until last December when three more gannets arrived after the calls emitted by the concrete gannets were modified.
Unfortunately, the newcomers arrived too late for Nigel to find a mate. Experts are now examining his body to find out how exactly he died. Poor thing.
"This just feels like the wrong ending to the story," said ranger Chris Bell, who found Nigel's corpse, to Stuff. "He died right at the beginning of something great."
'No mates Nigel' - as officers liked to call him - had been expected to bring a partner with him but instead fell in love with one of the concrete decoys.
It is believed that Nigel may have been 'a bit confused' after being forced out of another gannet colony, hence why he developed feelings for the statue and ignored the new birds that eventually arrived.
Nigel was even seen trying to woo the concrete bird with mating rituals - building a nest for the bird, attempting to groom its feathers and chatting to it without reply. Surely, he would have twigged eventually?
"I certainly feel sad," Chris said. "Having had him sit there year after year with his concrete mate, it just doesn't seem how it should have ended.
"It would have been nice if he had been able to hold on a few more years and found a partner and breed."
Although Nigel never found a mate himself, Chris said his legacy will not be in vain as his arrival heralded a new breeding colony on the island - one that isn't at risk of falling for concrete statues.
"He was an attraction that helped bring in other birds - gannets like to nest where a gannet has nested before," Chris told the Guardian. "It's really sad he died, but it wasn't for nothing."
Life is tough when you're in love with an inanimate object, eh?
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Friends of Mana Island