Nigel the lonely gannet dies as he lived, surrounded by concrete birds

the Guardian | 2/3/2018 | Eleanor Ainge Roy


If there is such a thing as a tragic life for a bird, then the life of Nigel “no mates”, a New Zealand gannet, probably fits that bill.

Nigel lived for years on his own on uninhabited Mana Island off the north of the country, surrounded by concrete replica gannets.

Immobile - Replicas - Place - Conservation - Officers

The immobile replicas had been put in place by conservation officers who used the sound of gannet calls broadcast by solar-powered speakers in an attempt to lure a colony to settle on the pest-free scientific reserve.

Nigel was the first gannet in 40 years to make his home on Mana, arriving alone in 2013.

Weeks - Life - Members - Species - Nigel

There he remained, alone. That is until just a few weeks ago when he was finally joined by three real life members of his species. However, Nigel failed to befriend them, and then he died.

Department of Conservation ranger Chris Bell found Nigel’s body surrounded by his concrete friends.

Nigel - Colony - Bell - Island - Kilometres

“Nigel was very faithful to the colony,” said Bell, who also lives and works alone on the island, 2.5 kilometres off the west coast of the mainland.

“I think it must have been quite a frustrating existence. Whether or not he was lonely, he certainly never got anything back, and that must have been very strange experience, when he spent years courting. I think we all have a lot of empathy for him, because he had this...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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