The kereru wood pigeon was crowned New Zealand’s bird of the year after receiving 5833 votes.Despite n attempts to interfere with its election, a hefty pigeon with a reputation for drunkenness has been voted New Zealand’s bird of the year.
The kereru, a colourful wood pigeon, has been crowned the winner of the annual public competition that this year saw the likes of Stephen Fry weighing in and intense campaigning by bird lovers across social media, including on Tinder.
The endemic birds are known to fall out of their trees due to their excessive fondness of fermented fruit and were backed by a campaign focusing on their proclivities and portliness.
“May this majestic bird, the labrador of the sky, consume many a berry on this special day,” co-campaign manager and Green MP Chloe Swarbrick said.
The Bird of the Year contest, decided by online public voting, is a light-hearted attempt by conservation group Forest and Bird to bring attention to New Zealand’s native birdlife.
But security was this year stepped after voting-stuffing attempts in 2017 – and seemingly with good cause.
Scrutineers this month discovered more than 300 votes for that had been illegally cast for the king shag from a single n address.
Meanwhile, the campaign team behind the black stilt – of which there are only 132 adults left in the wild – went a different way, signing up their contender on dating website Tinder and getting 500 matches around the country.
The competition also made waves with celebrities, with British entertainers Stephen Fry and Bill Bailey backing the endangered kakapo parrot and flightless takahe respectively.
Fry’s head famously became the on-camera target of an enamoured kakapo, named Sirocco, nearly a decade ago.
While New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had thrown her backing behind the black petrel – calling it the “bogan of the birds” – she on Monday nonetheless sent her salutations to the kereru.