Nigel was a bird that fell in love with a concrete bird. Nigel recently died.
Twenty years ago, conservationists in New Zealand placed 80 fake gannet birds on Mana Island in an attempt to attract some real-life gannets. But only one bird finally showed up in 2015. That bird, which locals named Nigel, spent years in a futile effort to woo a mate who was made of concrete. But sadly, Nigel has been found dead next to his stone cold partner.
Nigel wanted to love and companionship and, for nearly three years, he did this. Nigel built nests for his concrete lover. Nigel died trying to connect with this stone reflection.
“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 fairly hopeless situation.”
Nigel, what were your thoughts as everything faded, as you nuzzled into your concrete lover for one final sleep? Nigel, do you know that we all have been there, talking to ourselves, craving attention and love and another person only to find ourselves in response? Nigel, know you were devoted and loving and that you, in many ways, are someone to admire.
Nigel is now dead. Nigel – perhaps a Millennial, perhaps not – is an icon of loneliness.
Nigel, we will never forget you.