Final days of Bird of the Year have campaigns in a flap!
Nerves are fraying as the final day for voting in Bird of the Year approaches, with the top two birds, hoiho and kākāpō, separated by just a feather.
Forest & Bird is calling on the nation to help end the tie breaker, and make sure their friends and family vote before 5pm on Sunday 10 November.
“This is the closest result we’ve ever had at Bird of the Year. It’s a neck and neck race between a flightless forest bird and a flightless seabird,” says Bird of the Year spokesperson Megan Hubscher.
“Both are desperately endangered. Kākāpō have had a bumper breeding season, but it still brings their population to only 213. And hoiho are in big trouble on mainland New Zealand where their population has been in decline, and there are only 266 breeding pairs left.”
Under the new STV ranking system, neither bird is guaranteed the title of Bird of the Year, as the vote transfer process could give other popular birds the lead.
“A flock of smaller birds is hot on the heels of the front runners. The black robin, pīwakawaka, and banded dotterel are all polling in the top five. All of them are adorable and could easily swoop in for the win over the next couple of days,” says Ms Hubscher.
“This is down to the wire. Every vote is going to count. Get your vote in by Sunday, and be sure to check your spam folder for the verification email.”
Kākāpō campaigner Gus Jessep says, “People should vote for kākāpō because they’ve had a real rollercoaster of a year. They have struggled with aspergillosis which hospitalised many birds, but also had the best breeding season on record.”
Meanwhile, hoiho campaigner Mel Young says, “Hoiho deserve to win Bird of the Year, because they’re not winning in real life.”
Hoiho face multiple issues which have them lead them to the brink of extinction on mainland New Zealand, including getting caught in fishing nets, killed by dogs, and climate change.
Several birds have enjoyed big endorsements for their campaigns.
English actor Stephen Fry reminded his 12.7 million twitter followers of the time Sirroco the kākāpō took a shine to his guide (attempting to mate with his head).
Comedian Bill Bailey hopped in to support the rock hopper penguin, possibly because they have a similar hair style.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark tweeted out that she supports hihi recovery, and voted for the hihi this Bird of the Year.
Cast your vote for Bird of the Year at www.birdoftheyear.org.nz.
Voting ends 5pm Sunday 10th November.