IN New Zealand bird of the century title received Australasian crested grebe or puteketeke. However, her victory was not just unexpected, but also sensational. A famous comedian suddenly influenced the voting result John Oliver, who organized a large-scale election campaign for his beloved bird. At the same time, this is not the first time that the election of the New Zealand Bird of the Year has attracted the attention of the press due to scandalous decisions and fraud.
How is the bird of the year chosen and why are birds so important to New Zealand?
The Forest & Bird organization appeared in New Zealand back in 1923 and is dedicated to the protection of native birds. Once upon a time, there were many unique species of birds on the island, but many of them disappeared at the beginning of the 20th century due to uncontrolled hunting. And recently, some New Zealand birds have been driven to the brink of extinction by domestic cats.
birds on the island are in danger of extinction
The goal of the Bird of the Year competition is to draw attention to the problem and raise as much money as possible, which will go towards protecting species from extinction.
This year Forest & Bird celebrated one hundred years since its founding, so the organizers of the competition decided to award the winning bird the title “Bird of the Century”. Experts selected 75 species, five of which are extinct. Among them were, for example, the Huia songbird, which was last seen in 1907, and the Wekau laughing owl, whose laughter was last heard 109 years ago.
However, the undisputed favorites of the competition were the owl parrot kakapo and a kiwi bird. Kakapo has already won the Bird of the Year title twice. At one point, this species was even excluded from nominations to give less popular species a chance.
Last year, almost 57 thousand people took part in the voting, which was considered a good result, but the current competition has broken all records. More than 350 thousand people from 195 countries cast their votes.
The organizers had to postpone the announcement of the results for two days due to the fact that the website could no longer cope with the number of “voters”
Second place went to the brown kiwi, and third place to the kea parrot. The first place, with a large gap from its rivals, was taken by an outsider: the Australasian crested grebe or puteketeke. She became the champion with a whopping 83 percent of the total votes. And for this she should thank the comedian from USA John Oliver.
How did a British comedian from the USA help the traveler become a winner?
According to the organizers, John Oliver himself contacted them to ask if they would be against a campaign in support of the patheteke. The comedian found out about the competition and discovered a “vulnerability” in the voting system – as it turned out, not only New Zealanders, but also residents of any part of the world could vote for the bird of the century.
Oliver, who hosts his own evening show on HBO, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, decided to patronize an unusual candidate. Although the population of the crested grebe does not exceed a thousand individuals, it did not have many fans before Oliver came into its life.
To help the bird win, Oliver placed a huge billboard with a Lord of the Rings-themed puteketeke in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. The inscription read “Lord of the Wings” – in English the word “rings” rhymes with the word “wings”. Crested grebe posters and banners also appeared in JapanFrance, India, Great Britain and the USA.
The comedian campaigned for puteketeka in his own show, and then appeared in an impressive full-size crested grebe costume on his colleague’s show Jimmy Fallon Steve Allen (1954-1957), Jack Paar (1957-1962), Johnny Carson (1962—1992), Jay Leno (1992-2009 and 2010-2014), Conan O’Brien (2009-2010) and Jimmy Fallon (since 2014). The longest-running regular entertainment program on US television still on the air."}”>The Tonight Show. The comedian told the audience that toadstools swallow their own feathers and then regurgitate them along with parasites. Because of this, he dubbed them “strange vomiting birds.”
“They have a mating ritual in which both birds grab a bunch of wet grass and push each other with their chests, and then they just stand next to each other, confused, not knowing what to do next,” Oliver shared the details. He added that this fact, like nothing else, made him feel a kinship with the bird.
Poot, my old friend, none of this would be possible without your Sid Vicious hairstyle, your feather vomiting, or your sex quirks. You are a very strange bird, and I think that is what allowed you to win. This and, of course, the joy of saying your name
comedian and presenter
Some New Zealanders protested Oliver’s campaign. A group of locals cheering for a green parrot kakariki, posted billboards across the country reading “Dear John, Don’t Disturb the Feathered Hierarchy.” Others, in defiance of Oliver, urged voters to vote for the northern brown kiwi. In response, the comedian compared the bird to “a rat that carries a toothpick.”
After the results were announced, Oliver concluded on his show: “At the end of the day, this is what democracy is all about. In American interference in elections abroad.”
What other passions were in full swing at the competition where birds of the year are chosen?
The sudden and stunning victory of the crested grebe was not the first surprise that this New Zealand competition presented.
In 2020, the bird of the year was the long-tailed bat – that is, a mammal
The representation of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people allowed her to win. They consider the bat they call pekapeka-tu-roa, bird. In the end, 7,031 out of 56,733 people voted for the tiny mice, whose weight ranges from 8 to 12 grams. “I think I’m going to get fired,” joked Laura Keown, a Forest & Bird spokeswoman.
In addition, the organizers have repeatedly encountered fraud and cheating of votes. Thus, in 2020, more than one and a half thousand “fake” votes were discovered in favor of the small spotted kiwi.
A penguin fan distinguished himself in this competition. One of the voting participants managed to fabricate 40 thousand votes for a great crested penguin. And one Pennsylvania voter voted more than three thousand times by hand, pressing a button once every three seconds.
So let me say it loud and proud again: the journey today, the journey tomorrow, the journey for the next hundred years – we did it
comedian and presenter
Who are Crested Grebes and where do they live?
Crested grebes are not only found in New Zealand. These birds are also common in Eurasia. In particular, the great grebe, or great grebe, can be found in Russia and Belarus.
The name “toadstool” is explained by the fact that the meat of this species has a very unpleasant taste and has a fishy aftertaste.
The grebe is smaller in size than a duck, but it is easy to recognize – on the top of its head there are two bunches of single feather “ears”. Body length is about half a meter. This bird has a thin neck and an elongated, straight, red beak. Grebes can dive to depths of up to seven meters and travel up to fifty meters underwater.
Great grebes build a floating nest up to 60 cm in diameter and up to 80 cm in height, where the female lays 3-4 white eggs. The nest’s building material is a pile of dead vegetation, mainly reeds and reeds. The eggs turn brown from the proximity of rotting plants.
The chicks hatch after 24 days of incubation, at which time they are already pubescent and can swim and dive. At first, they hide in the feathers on their mother’s back. This gives the adult birds the opportunity to take care of the remaining eggs laid later. The male feeds the hatched chicks.https://musicnewsfirst.com/