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Kiwis all a flutter about bird competition

Kiwis – the humankind – are getting the chance to vote on what native bird will take out Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year contest.

The competition, in its sixth year, is run by the conservation group to raise the profile of native birds and the struggles they face.

Each of the 50 birds has their own blurb, with their unique calls recorded and a profile photo – posed to accentuate their best side.

The contest website has been flying around Facebook pages of Kiwis nesting here and abroad.
Australia-based Joh Bloomberg voted for the Mohua because of its lack of stardom.

“It isn’t very well known in New Zealand and is a threatened bird as its habitat is under threat due to the Milford monorail proposal.”

Bloomberg said she wanted to be part of the contest as Aotearoa was still her home and she cared about having a say.

“It’s important to stay involved in your countries governance and politics, especially as the number of twenty-somethings who leave New Zealand is high, but we still retain strong links and should make our views heard and make an effort to create positive change.”

Wellington-based voter Andrew Philips said he voted for the yellow eyed penguin because the bird evoked memories of travelling the South Island and he thought they were losing to a not so worthy opponent.

“I mistakenly thought they were losing, which was foolish, as nothing is ever going to lose to the Skua, which is basically a glorified and more vicious seagull.”

Cantabarian Andrew Barry said he wished the Haast Flacon was still around to take out the top prize.

“Imagine if such majestic giant beasts still roamed our landscapes.”

Kiwi celebs have got behind the contest with broadcast personality Haley Holt leading the campaign. She voted for the fairy tern/tara-iti while Black Seeds frontman Barnaby Weir chose the kereru, and Weta Workshop picked the Weka.

Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said the passionately-contested poll was a great way to raise awareness about the challenges native birds faced.

Previous winners include the tui (2005), fantail/piwakawaka (2006), grey warbler/riroriro (2007), kakapo (2008), kiwi (2009), kakariki (2010), pukeko (2011), and the karearea (2012).

Voting runs  until 5pm October 28 at