Government conservationists built a concrete flock of gannet birds on Mana Island, New Zealand in 2013 with the hopes they'd attract real-life gannets back to the island and repopulate it. Sadly, only a single gannet (affectionately named Nigel) returned, and fell for one of the concrete birds, attempting to woo her for five years until he passed away in the nest he built beside her on February 1st, 2018. My God, that's even sadder than the saddest Pixar movie scene. Per Department of Conservation ranger Chris Bell:
Nigel was very faithful to the colony...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.
We've all been there before, haven't we? In a hopeless situation, giving it all you've got and getting absolutely nothing in return. "You're talking about spending your life savings on lotto scratchers?" Of course I am. Rest in peace, Nigel.
Keep going for a better shot of Nigel and two videos of him wooing his would-be mate while I contemplate whether a concrete lover is right for me.
Thanks to Corrine, who agrees maybe they should have re-homed him after no other birds came? Now I'm no professional conservationist, but I do know the probability of Nigel repopulating the island with only a concrete lover (less than 40%).