Look, I'm going to be honest. I wasn't that fussed about Bird of the Year this year and didn't think I had it in me to vote again, even with the upgrade to "Bird of the Century". The birds I vote for never win! I had become jaded. BUT NO MORE.
Because last night's episode of satirical comedy news show, Last Week Tonight, has got my dander all the way up. Feathers ruffled? Absolutely! Host John Oliver spent the entire last section of the show making fun of our nation's sometimes fanatical obsession with Bird of the Year. He laid bare the scandals of previous years (Kākāpō being taken out of the running for being too popular, a bat winning, accusations of vote rigging) and then arrogantly decided that the Pūteketeke (Australasian Crested Grebe) should win and has undertaken a global campaign to install his preferred avian puppet as the one waterfowl to rule them all. Well, I say nay, NAY*.
If, like me, you are scandalised at the notion that a foreign power (or HBO) should hold so much sway in the sacred process that is the Bird of the Year election, then I encourage you to do your civic duty and VOTE. Vote for any bird that takes your fancy. Vote like your nation's pride depends on it!
Me, I'm going for Karure/Kakaruia (Black Robin) because I like its badass Goth looks and though it's still "in serious trouble" its comeback from the brink of extinction (it was at one point the world's rarest bird) is just the "underdog wins the day" motivational story that says "I own this century, baby" and provides much needed inspiration for the other bird species who also aren't doing so well.
Never before has it been so easy to take a stand against US cultural imperialism. Just vote. Vote for your preferred ranking of your top 5 native feathered friends and let's do to this outrageous campaign what Sirocco the Kākāpō did to that conservationist's head that time.
More about native birds
- Our homework pages about native birds and animals
- Find New Zealand birds in the library catalogue
- New Zealand Geographic Archive Magazine that celebrates New Zealand's people, places and wildlife. Also includes NZGeo TV which contains hundreds of hours of natural history video.
- Forest and Bird magazine Official publication of Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. The Society was founded in 1923.
- Posts about native birds
- Earlier Bird of the Year posts
*No offense to the Pūteketeke who, as far as can be ascertained, is entirely innocent in this campaign, is "in serious trouble" as a species, and is simply being used.