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PS Picks: The Story of Nigel, the Loneliest Seabird in New Zealand

PS Picks is a selection of the best things that the magazine's staff and contributors are reading, watching, or otherwise paying attention to in the worlds of art, politics, and culture.

This PS Pick originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of


The Washington Post and the New York Times each have great stories about "No Mates" Nigel, a gannet who landed and lived and died on a small island near New Zealand. The island was covered with 80 concrete gannets, placed there by conservationists who had hoped the decoys would attract a reproducing colony of the native seabirds—but, for many years, only Nigel was fooled. Like many around the world right now, I can't stop thinking about Nigel, and about the tragicomic ways humans try to repair the damage we've done to ecosystems and animals around our planet. Check out the Post story for writing style and the Times for extra info.