The announcement of the winner of Bird of the Century will be delayed by two days following a massive influx of hundreds of thousands of votes.
The winner will now be revealed on the morning of Wednesday 15 November (NZ time), while voting will still close at 5pm NZDT on Sunday 12 November.
The move, a first for the competition, comes after a surge votes driven by the pūteketeke Australasian crested grebe campaign manager, British-American comedian and TV show host, John Oliver.
“We’re blown away at the outpouring of attention from around the world for our awesome native birds,” says Forest & Bird chief executive Nicola Toki. “A huge mihi to everyone who has voted, donated or contributed to the kaupapa so far.
“Also, a big shout-out to our local campaign managers, who have gone into overdrive to raise the profile of their chosen candidate with flair, creativity and laughs.
“Bird of the Century is a phenomenon because we have people from all walks of life making noise about birds – whether they’re kids making bird art, businesses doing their bit for biodiversity, or community groups staging grassroots events.”
The sheer volume of votes has been unprecedented, with the Bird of the Century email vote verification system stretched more than ever before.
“We know many people have had trouble receiving their vote verification email, but please be assured we have captured all submitted votes,” Ms Toki says.
“Our small team have been working around the clock to troubleshoot and now just need a couple of days to make sure every vote from a valid email address is counted.
“We don’t need the Electoral Commission sticking their beaks into our ballots. We can ensure the integrity of the Bird of the Century election results in just two extra days.”
The email vote verification system was implemented after several voting scandals rocked the world’s most important bird poll. An independent data scrutineer will analyse this year’s votes for any irregularities that may point to fowl play.
Anyone can vote for their top five birds before 5pm Sunday 12 November on the Bird of the Century website.