News | 13 November 2020

Calls for final flourish in feathered fray

A final flurry of support is hoped to be enough to carry the hihi to victory in this year’s tightly contested Bird of the Year battle.

A hihi in a tree.

Credit: Tony Stoddard

A progress report on Friday had the hihi failing to register in the top five for Bird of the Year 2020, with the antipodean albatross and kākāpō out in front. 

“We’re still pretty confident the hihi can get the votes it needs when that final tally comes in,” said a #teamhihi official under condition of anonymity. 

“We all know big bird supporters tend to vote early, while smaller bird fans traditionally tend to wait til the last minute.  

“We’ve also been targeting swing voters, so we’re hopeful that will also be reflected in a late hihi surge. 

“If you haven’t yet voted, go to birdoftheyear.org.nz and do so today.” 

Voting closes at 5pm on Sunday, 15 November. 

In the event of a loss in the polls, it is understood #teamhihi supporters have been in touch with Wellington landscaping businesses over the availability of their carparks. 

The Council had controversially tweeted to "stop the count" but was now calling for "every legal vote to be counted".

“If the hihi doesn’t win it’ll be a little hawkward, but we’ll have no egrets,” the source said.

Wellington City Council is proudly #teamhihi for Forest and Bird’s 2020 Bird of the Year, as not only is it one of Aotearoa New Zealand's rarest birds, but the male proudly sports the Wellington colours of black and yellow. 

The total population of the hihi (also known as the stitchbird) is unlikely to exceed 2000 birds. 

Support for the hihi this year is also coming from Zealandia, Wellington Zoo, the Central Pulse, the Wellington Phoenix, and the Deputy Prime Minister.