New Zealand, you’re alright.
What other country, teeming with magnificent, yet sadly endangered wildlife, would have an annual bird of the year competition?
Perpetual natural paradise New Zealand has announced the winner for the country’s 13th bird of the year, awarded to the world’s only alpine parrot, the kea.
What’s a kea? It’s an unusual olive-green parrot found in the country’s southern alps, known for its intelligence, cheekiness, and curiosity — something that can “get them into trouble,” according to the BOTY website.
Say hello to your #BirdOfTheYear for 2017 – the kea! It flew into first place with a record-breaking 7311 votes, followed by the kererū with 4,572 votes, and the kākāpō with 2,554. To all our campaign managers and voters – thank you! It has been an amazing few weeks! Congratulations to Laura, George, Harry, Annika and the rest of Team Kea.
The kea is classified as “nationally endangered” with just 3,000 to 7,000 keas currently in the wild — climate change for an alpine parrot isn’t the greatest. Cats, stoats, rats, and possums are their main predators.
But their curiosity for humans can lead them into peril or sickness too, according to BOTY — they’re often hit by cars, fed unnatural food, or poisoned by materials like lead after chewing on human-made things like houses and cars.
However, they’re smart, inquisitive creatures, no stranger to genuinely messing with humans. Check out David Attenborough’s documentary on the kea, dubbed The Smartest Parrot. Listen to Attenborough’s absolute delight at this wheelie bin raid:
And this clip, showing the keas’ taste for fast food and beer during New Zealand’s ski season:
“The curious kea will try anything once,” says Attenborough.
According to BOTY, the kea had a strong team of campaigners behind its win, steered by researchers and supported by the Kea Conservation Trust.
The kea received a whopping 7,311 votes, according to the Guardian, ahead of second place winner, the kererū, with 4,572 votes.