Thursday, 24 May 2018 | News today: 0

Nigel, the loneliest bird in the world, dies

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New Zealand conservationists mourn the loss of Nigel, the gannet known as the loneliest bird in the world. The bird lived for years on his own on an uninhabited island off the north of the country.

Nigel was the first gannet in 40 years to make his home on Mana Island, arriving alone in 2013. He was lured by replica gannets that conservation officers had put in the hope of establishing a breeding colony. He even began courting one of the 80 concrete decoys.

The gannet carefully constructed a nest for his chosen mate, grooming her chilly, concrete feathers, and chatting to her—one-sided—year after year after year, the Guardian writes.

Weeks after three other real-life gannets had finally settled on the island, he died. He never showed any interest, however, in befriending the real birds.

“From a conservation point of view, he was a massive asset to have,” said Department of Conservation ranger Chris Bell, who found Nigel’s body.

Bell said that the concrete gannets never fooled another gannet except for Nigel. “We always considered Nigel increased our chances of getting a colony going, and that seems to be in the end what happened.”