Bird of the Year rocked by scandal

Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition has been rocked by scandal as hundreds of fraudulent votes were made overnight.

“Someone has used fake email addresses to vote over 200 times for the kōkako, briefly getting it to first place” said Bird of the Year coordinator Kimberley Collins.

The fake votes started coming in late last night but were quickly identified by kōkako campaign managers Lucy Knight and Oscar Thomas who were surprised to see votes for the bird go up dramatically in the course of an hour.

“The council of kōkako does not condone this whatsoever and we’re surprised that somebody would rig such a light-hearted contest and taint the name of such a beautiful bird” said 15 year old Oscar Thomas, campaign manager for the kōkako.

As campaign managers for the kōkako, Oscar and Lucy have been working very hard to get their bird ahead. But much like a general election, Bird of the Year includes all the drama, tricks and tactics that you might see in a political campaign.

“We always monitor the competition very closely, but we have never seen this much effort go into helping a particular bird win” said Kimberley Collins.

Forest & Bird were able to identify the source as a pair of passionate young voters who managed to subvert their parent’s business account to vote for their favourite bird - the kōkako.

“I got a phone call from their father, who was very apologetic. You have to admire their dedication and passion to see their favourite bird win. It’s great to see young people get excited about conservation” said Collins.

The rules for Bird of the Year allow one vote per person, so all but one of their votes have been discounted.

Bird of the Year is one of Forest & Bird’s most popular annual events. Now in its eleventh year, it aims to raise awareness of New Zealand’s unique native birds and the threats they face by asking people to vote for their favourite species. Voting closes this Sunday the 25th of October at 5pm.

Vote for your favourite New Zealand bird at www.birdoftheyear.org.nz