And then there were 10: Australian bird of the year heads to last day of tense voting | Australian bird of the year 2021


The cassowary is long gone. The same goes for the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo, Swift Parrot, Shy Albatross, and Spotted Pardalote.

No, there hasn’t been a mass extinction (yet), but the new voting format in the Guardian / Birdlife Australia 2021 Bird of the Year poll means the competition has turned into a brutal sort of ornithological Game of Thrones.

What started as a field of 50 of Australia’s favorite bird species 11 days ago has been ruthlessly shrunk, with five birds eliminated at the end of each voting day.

Thursday marks the final of this year’s contest, with voting for the bottom 10 turning dark until the polls close at 11:59 p.m. AEDT before the winner is announced on Friday.

Even the support of high profile politicians, writers and, yes, Guardian staff, was not enough to save some birds. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd couldn’t muster enough votes to keep the crimson rosella in the running, despite paying homage to its “beautiful plumage” and comparing it to another Australian institution: tomato sauce .

Likewise, writer and TV presenter Benjamin Law was unable to convince voters to keep the Southern Cassowary in the poll after talking about the size of his “mad greenhouse” which can and, given our encroachment on its natural habitat, he suggested, perhaps he should disembowel humans.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young couldn’t stop the Shiny Black Cockatoo from staying in the race, another big blow to a bird that has lost much of its habitat on Kangaroo Island due to wildfires. black summer bush. Another independent senator from South Australia, Rex Patrick, appeared to lend his support to the pelican, although the bird may not return the feeling.

Of those who remained in the running as votes intensified on Wednesday, a few maintained strong institutional support. Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek said she supports the mighty owl due to a group nesting in Sydney’s Centennial Park.

“I think it’s so wonderful that I can see their little snowy cheeks in these beautiful big trees in the middle of our biggest city,” she said.

“A rare but magnificent bird. “

Federal Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg gave his support to the Australian turkey, better known as the bush turkey, or, as one Guardian writer called it in 2017, the avian archetype of the Australian fighter for its ability to persist and thrive even in less of a hospitable environment. On Wednesday night, the turkey struggled to qualify for the bottom 10, but Bragg was not discouraged.

“The bush turkey is very ugly, but it is a fighter. It resonates with me, and that’s why he gets my vote, ”Bragg told The Guardian.

“I also like the underdog. As a Geelong supporter, it’s in my DNA.

Among Guardian staff, the vote was widely divided. Indigenous Affairs Editor Lorena Allam wrote beautifully about her dedication to the Magpie family next door, Federal Political Journalist Amy Remeikis lent her support to the stunning Fairy Wren, a “Charming and promiscuous little queen of the bird world”, while live journalist and blogger Matilda Boseley … well, you should probably just watch what Mathilde did.

There were consistent favorites throughout the poll, with the gang-gang Cockatoo, Superb Wren, and Tawny Frog separated by a few hundred votes in the first full week of voting.

But before the last day of voting, it looked like it would be the supporters of the last five birds to be eliminated overnight whose new picks on Thursday could decide which bird would join the Magpie (winner in 2017) and the Black-throated Finch (winner. in 2019) as Australia’s Best Biennial Bird.

Vote early, but don’t vote often, in case you want the Australian Election Commission to deal with you.


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