The world’s saddest wildlife tale

Read it here.

Update: Grania called my attention to these tweets and posts by Nicole Serratore, a freelance journalist; apparently even Nigel’s tragedy can get politicized!

I thought the first one must surely be satire, but someone saved a screenshot of her linked Facebook post—one that she’s since deleted. So I think both are serious: why would Serratore have deleted the post were it satirical? And Serratore’s tweets below that deleted post imply that she’s still on about Nigel!

And there’s this:

And there’s this:

Can’t we let the poor, lonely gannet be instead of using him to further our ideology? But maybe the whole thing is satirical: these days it’s hard to tell satire from genuine belief.


  1. abram
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I first encountered the story of Nigel via this amazing Twitter post:

    • abram
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Not sure that linked correctly, and the original post seems to have been deleted. Essentially she excoriates Nigel for perpetuating rape culture and male hegemony, or something.

    • craigp
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      I just took a quick look at MildlyBitter’s Twitter feed. “Mildy” bitter is nowhere near strong enough, but maybe she’s being facetious. BitterTwistedPsychologicalWreck might be more accurate. But perhaps that name was already taken.

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink


  2. Melissa Johnson
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    My heart breaks for Nigel this morning.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Mine breaks for Nicole who seems to be suffering from a serious case of ideological delusion.

      • Melissa Johnson
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Good point!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Maybe the story is, messing around with nature sometimes does not go well. If the birds wanted to be there, they will do it without your help.

    • Posted February 5, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      If the human population was an order of magnitude smaller, I’d agree. But I am afraid that, at this point, we must actively manage many species, elevate platforms for storks, leave carcasses for vultures etc. And it is inevitable that we’ll sometimes mess up everything.

  4. jaxkayaker
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    That’s just awful. They need to rethink this plan.

  5. Bruce Lyon
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Great. Now we are going to apply all of human moral values back on to nature? This should be fun. Perhaps I need to alert Ms Serratore to the war mongering, baby killing coots I study. Oh wait, the adult females are also do the battles for territory and baby killing too. This may not fit her “feminist” narrative. This kind of projection of human values onto nature drives me crazy.

    • Nobody Special
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      I hope she never learns about the mating habits of ducks.

    • Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      And the prime example of female empowerment… praying mantises.

      • Posted February 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        There was also a female shark eating her mate in a recent post.

  6. Christopher
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Policing Pygmalion now?

    Ya know, when I was a child, I also imbued many of my toys with human feelings, but I was a CHILD. Little did I know that by pretending to shoot my G. I. Joes I was actually committing the crime of murder! Oh, the horrors I committed dismembering my Lego people! I shall go immediately to my local police department and turn myself in.

  7. Christopher
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I wonder, does one now need to ask one’s sex aids for consent prior to use? Must one continually ask for consent during use? If the batteries go dead, does that mean that consent has been denied? What if they are not battery operated, do dildos and flesh lights perpetrate rape culture against inanimate objects? Will blow-up dolls ever get their own #metoo movement? I’m so thankful we have someone like Serratore to guide us through these troubled times! 😒

  8. ploubere
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    In defense of Nicole, if you feel bad for Nigel then you are also projecting human emotions onto him. So if we’re going to humanize him, then he was indeed guilty of trying to force his affections on an unwilling female, or what he thought was a female.

    But he was not human, and natural selection is pitiless.

  9. bundorgarden
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately NZ has another gannet colony. Full marks for the conservation staff, I say, for trying to set up another one.

  10. James Walker
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I was at a conference in Brisbane this weekend and noticed that some of the wild turkeys there were engaged in building mounds. Apparently they lay an egg on top of the mound but don’t bother to incubate it – they leave the chick to fend for itself. I joked about the career-focused parents ignoring their children, but some other people at the conference were indignant that the birds would do this. We have such a talent for projecting our own issues onto other species.

    • KiwiInOz
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      The males basically stay around and make sure that the temperature in the mounds stays at the right level by turning the organic matter. The females go off and lay in other mounds.

      Incidentally, the mounds make great compost for the garden. But it’s only fair given that they strip the gardens of organic matter to make their mounds.

  11. Gamall
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    What, this is not satire ??????

    That it might be serious never even entered my mind (I read the pictures before PCC’s commentary).

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