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And the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2017 is…

The actual bird of the year was the kea. Well done, kea. But who is the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2017, as voted by you, the readers? Sam Brooks announces it.

It’s been a week since our poll came out. The comments were fierce. I even got a few well-intentioned emails out of it.

It has been decided. The votes are in. The Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2017 is…

The stealers of chips, the one-legged pretenders, the beady-eye starers.

It is the mighty seagull.

In the week since this poll has been going, I’ve learned a lot about both myself, birds, what birds people love, and what birds people really quite hate. Here’s a few of my observations:

  • People hate swans much less than I thought they did. Perhaps it an elitist thing to hate swans, much like hating when the king size bed in your hotel room isn’t turned down properly. Swans are potentially a first world problem, and I’m okay with that. Swans have been awful to me, I am the person who wrote the poll, and so they are in the poll.
  • People in our comments really hate magpies and mynah birds. I’ve never met a magpie nor a mynah bird, nor have I been personally victimised by either of these birds. But for some of the Spinoff readership, it’s their own personal beaked Regina George, and I respect and honour that experience. I will take it into consideration for our 2018 poll.
  • I apparently have no idea what birds are native and what birds aren’t, as emailers and commenters liked to remind me. One even said, “I’m sure you’ll know most of these are native birds.” You give me too much credit, Facebook commenter. Far too much credit. I actually appreciate this, because I like being told when I am wrong and when I am right (preferably more of the latter than the former, but beggars/choosers etc etc.) I now consider myself much more schooled in this, so if it ever comes up again, like at a depressing pub quiz I have to attend because some friends need somebody to make up the numbers, then I can put that knowledge to good use. Until then, it’ll merely push some valuable knowledge out of my brain like where my keys are or who the prime minister is.
  • Some people love all birds! I respect this, even though I will never understand it. You live your life, and I will live mine, constantly looking up into the sky for fear of being attacked.

It’s all good and fun, but if you’re reading this, you should probably consider donating to the Bird of the Year because a lot of our native birds are in danger, and if you care about that kind of stuff (as I kind of do now!) then you should want to keep them around.

But until next year, our Dirtbag Bird of the Year is the seagull. May the chips be ever in your favour.

sam@spinoff.co.nz @sbrookbrooks


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