Culture

Bin Chickens Are Leading In Australia’s Bird Of The Year Vote, And It’s Time To Have Your Say

Will this be the redemption of the tremendous trash turkey?

Bird of the Year

Here’s a glorious sentence I never thought I’d get to write: the Australian White Ibis is currently the leading candidate for Australian Bird of the Year 2017, as voted by you, the people.

Yep, you heard right — the humble bin chicken, the tremendous trash turkey, the garbage-eating sandwich-stealing filth-irradiated metaphor for us all is making a much-deserved comeback.

Its path to the top of the trash heap hasn’t been easy, though. Not only has it had to overcome anti-ibis sentiment, but just yesterday someone started spamming the form with automated votes for the powerful owl, which surged close to the top of the leaderboard before the fraudulent votes were identified and removed.

I know what you’re thinking — if it’s so powerful why can’t it just win on its own merits? Take that, #TeamPowerfulOwl.

Since When Do We Have A Bird Of The Year?

Let’s wind it back for a sec in case you’re just showing up to the party. Regular readers of this site may remember our coverage of New Zealand’s Bird of the Year last month — a vote similarly marred by fraud, drama, and incredibly fierce campaigning.

Now, thanks to our friends at The Guardian and BirdLife Australia, there’s an Australian version daring to ask that same, surprisingly contentious question: “Is there one bird that reigns supreme in the hearts and minds of the public?”.

Friends, Bird of the Year is no simple lark. This is a fierce campaign, waged largely through meme. The ibis campaign so far has featured heartfelt takes, helpful quizzes, appeals to baby photos, and so many tweets. Here’s a sample:

What About The Other Birds??

It’s not just the ibis with a fan club, though. The bush turkey has received many a passionate defence, and the aforementioned powerful owl fandom will seemly stop at nothing to see their bird prevail. The current runner-up is the humble magpie, which is usually less runner-up and more something to run from.

There’s a truly an Australian bird for everyone, and right now everyone wants a moment of your time to persuade you their bird is the one for you.

Even Bill Shorten has weighed in.

And if that has you seething with rage, remember that there’s a serious element to this too — like its New Zealand counterpart, Australia’s Bird of the Year competition is in part an attempt to raise awareness for this country’s beautiful birds, many of which are endangered or otherwise under threat. BirdLife Australia have plenty more information on that on their site, and it’s well worth a look.

As for the vote, it’ll be open until December 9, so there’s plenty of time for the field to change before Australia’s best bird is crowned. You can check out the candidates and make your choice here — though be warned, you can only vote once. If you want my advice, I’d chuck a vote towards the humble bush turkey. It’s a good egg.

Sam Langford is Junkee’s Staff Writer and aspiring Weird Bird Journalist. She tweets about her love of the Australian white ibis at @_slangers.