Current Affairs

Bird of the Year is back: feathers are set to fly

Voting is now open for our nation's most contentious bird-related event - and with support from international celebrities, this bird has left the nest.

By Alex Blackwood

Being a small, good-natured country at the bottom of the world, we generally don't stress the small stuff. Bird of the Year (despite the diminutive size of the nominees) is not the small stuff. If the last few years are anything to go by, New Zealanders will all but fight you over Bird of the year.

Last year there was a cheating scandal with an algorithm used by agents of the white faced heron, a strong campaign from the singlet-wearing kererū, a good effort by the chubby kākāpō but ultimately the wind-shield-wiper-swiper Kea took out the 2017 Bird of the Year title.

This year, English comedian Bill Bailey has put his weight behind the (already rather heavy) very endangered Takahē. Stephen Fry has put his support behind last year's front runner the kākāpō, while Now To Love content producer Alex Blackwood has announced her continued support for the sand-dune-dwelling New Zealand Dotterel.

The vote aims to raise awareness for New Zealand's native birds - a third of which are in danger of extinction. The voting and social media shout-outs contribute to educating the public of the danger our native birds are in from stoats, possums, rats and other predators. The donations toward Forest & Bird go toward preserving our native wild life.

The voting closes on October 15th and we are expecting to see more feathers ruffled closer to the announcement of the winner on RNZ's Morning Report 8:50 AM on the day.