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Voting opens for Bird of the Year 2020 – which native bird will win your vote?

Voting opens for Bird of the Year 2020 – which native bird will win your vote?

Who will you be voting for as Bird of the Year?

Voting opens for Bird of the Year 2020 – which native bird will win your vote?

Aotearoa’s annual appeal for our native feathered creatures is back.

Voting is now open for Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year 2020. The annual contest aims to raise awareness for the plight of New Zealand’s endangered and at-risk native birds.

Since launching in 2005, the lighthearted contest has risen in popularity, with people around the country passionately campaigning for their chosen bird.

“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,” says Bird of the Year spokesperson, Laura Keown.

“Last year the voting system led to some really fun collaboration between birds, with the strategic 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 maneuvering.”

The hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin), won over voters last year. A statement on their Facebook page says it would not be campaigning for re-election, putting its support behind the Penguin Party.

“Last year, the penguins of Aotearoa fell on their swords to support hoiho and we must honour their sacrifice,” it states. “Together, we will raise awareness that penguins are not fish whilst reminding people throughout New Zealand that all six of our penguin species are in some or serious trouble.”

Birds such as the Toroa (Antipodean Albatross), Kōkā (South Island Kōkako) and Kākā have been campaigning for the top spot this year.

“We’re bold, we’re beautiful, we’re raucous, we’re skraarking dudes, and we’re coming to a suburban Auckland backyard near you,” writes Kākā’s campaign manager.

While the annual Bird of the Year is an opportunity for a bit of lighthearted fun, it’s also an important opportunity to spread awareness about the threats to New Zealand’s native birdlife, says Keown.

“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 birdoftheyear.org.nz.”

Bird of the Year 2020 voting opens 9 am Monday 2 November and closes 5 pm Sunday 15 November.

Visit birdoftheyear.org.nz to vote.

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