The nation’s most popular annual bird contest is back with voting commencing on 2 November 2020 for Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year 2020.
Voting will be open for two weeks till 15 November, with the winner to be announced on 16 November.
“Bird of the Year was originally planned to end on the weekend of 17 October, but we didn’t want to overshadow the quite important human election,” said spokesperson Laura Keown.
“Our incredible native birds deserve to have all the attention, so Forest & Bird decided to move Bird of the Year a couple of weeks after the squawking and flapping of human elections ends.”
The same as last year, New Zealanders will be able to vote for up to five of the native birds they love in order of preference. An instant run-off voting system is applied (similar to local election voting) to determine the winner of Bird of the Year.
“This is the 15th annual Bird of the Year and we’re expecting it to soar to new heights! There were 41,000 votes cast last year, with some possible godwit enthusiasts even causing a flap all the way from Russia.
“Once again, people can vote for a whole flock of their favourite birds. But we’re warning that even with five votes to cast, it will still be a tough decision,” said Keown.
She added that last year the voting system led to some fun collaboration, with the Penguin Party ultimately taking out the title for New Zealand’s special noisy flapper, the hoiho yellow-eyed penguin.
“This year we’re already seeing alliances forming, with a few wetland waders like the bittern and fern bird getting an early start on political manoeuvring.”
Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year is a light-hearted competition with a serious purpose of spreading awareness about the threats to New Zealand’s native birds, three-quarters of which are threatened or at risk of extinction.
“Our birds face enormous threats from climate change, introduced predators, and continued habitat loss. We’re asking everyone to get to know our incredible native birds by visiting www.birdoftheyear.org.nz,” said Keown.
“Once you get to know the amazing songbirds, the international flyers, the stunningly colourful, the raucously noisy, and the uniquely adapted birds that live in Aotearoa, I reckon you’ll want to then take action to protect them and the places they live.”
Find out more about Bird of the Year 2020.