Fantail/piwakawaka wins Birdof the Year 2006

Scoop: Fantail/piwakawaka wins Bird of the Year 2006

16 October 2006 – Wellington

Fantail/piwakawaka wins Birdof the Year 2006

The votes are all in and thefantail/piwakawaka is officially New Zealand’s favouriteBird of the Year.

Voting in Forest & Bird’s secondannual Bird of the Year poll closed on Sunday. Thefantail/piwakawaka came first with 458 votes – just a beakahead of last year’s winner, the tui, which had 453votes.

Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell saysmany New Zealanders are very fond of thefantail/piwakawaka’s cheeky antics and agile aerialmanoeuvres.

“The piwakawaka is a bird we all get a greatdeal of enjoyment from seeing. It is fantastic to see thisamazing little bird up close as they follow us through thebush, or even in our own gardens.”

With the fantail andtui taking the top two places, it is clear that NewZealanders have a strong appreciation for those birds thatare relatively common, and that we can see and enjoy in oureveryday lives, Kevin Hackwell says.

“Unfortunately notall our birds are so lucky, and many of the birds in theBird of the Year “top 10” are under serious threat, orare in decline. For example the kakapo, in fourth place,and takahe, in fifth place, are both classified ascritically endangered.”

While others in the top 10, suchas the kea, kereru and kokako are not in such severely direstraits as their critically endangered cousins, they remainunder serious threat from habitat destruction and introducedpredators.

“We need to ensure that these uniquely NewZealand birds are better protected so that their numbersincrease and their presence can continue to be enjoyed bygenerations to come.”

Even the relatively abundantfantail can easily fall prey to domestic cats, KevinHackwell says.

“If there is just one thing you do tohelp protect New Zealand’s favourite bird, it is to keepyour pet cats inside at night. Just this simple action willbe a significant factor in helping protect the fantail andother native birds.”

The kereru was a strong performerthis year, climbing from sixth in 2005 to third place thisyear, possibly helped by the nationwide Kereru DiscoveryProject, which aims to halt the decline in itspopulation.

New to the top 10 this year were the takaheand kiwi, while the stitchbird/hihi and grey warbler/riroriodropped off the top 10.

Kevin Hackwell says it was greatto see the number of votes in Bird of the Year increase morethan threefold from the inaugural poll in 2005, to a totalof 3283 votes this year.

“New Zealanders are showing agrowing appreciation of our fantastic native species, andare taking an increasing interest in protecting them –that’s something Forest & Bird applaudswholeheartedly.”

The full Bird of the Year top 10 is:Fantail/piwakawaka (458 votes) Tui (453) Kereru (348) Kakapo (229) Takahe (180) Kea (172) Kokako (168) Bellbird/korimako (116) Kiwi (109) Pukeko (81)

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