Posted By QEII National Trust | October 21, 2022

Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau 2022, Bird of the Year 2022 is here, and voting is now open.  

Set up by Forest and Bird, the Bird of the Year competition highlights the fact that many of New Zealand’s unique native birds are at risk. The biggest risks they face are habitat loss and predators such as stoats, possums or rats which can kill their eggs and young, and in some cases, even adult birds. Bird of the Year celebrates the unique birds found in Aoteaora New Zealand and every vote helps raise awareness.  

At QEII, we are passionate about protecting habitats and many of our protected places benefit of native bird species. QEII open space covenants ensure that precious habitats are conserved and when paired with effective predator control, it allows native birds to breed, feed and flourish. In other words, we love our native birds and want to see them thrive in their natural environments.

Adult on ground at breeding colony at night. Photo credit: Mark Fraser

Kaikōura tītī/ Hutton’s Shearwater
While we are all about protecting habitats for native birds, we do have a special place in our hearts for a particular bird when it comes to the Bird of the Year competition. The Kaikōura tītī/ Hutton’s Shearwater, which is an endangered seabird, found in Kaikōura.

The Kaikōura tītī has only two nesting colonies remaining, one of which is located within a QEII open space covenant. They are the only seabird in New Zealand to nest high in the mountains and have a daily commute each day down to sea, returning to the ranges in the evening.

Recently, a big issue for these mountain loving seabirds is crash landings or ‘fallout’ in and around Kaikōura, especially during the breeding season from September to April. When they fly at night, the artificial light from the Kaikōura township can cause them to collide with lamp or power poles and lines or land prematurely within or around the township. This puts them at risk of being hit by vehicles or killed by predators on the mainland, like pest animals, as well as cats and dogs. Plus, if left alone unattended, they are prone to starvation. 

Luckily, most birds have a good chance to survive if they are rescued, kept safe and released. The Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust has some great resources on what to do if you come across a stranded bird.

One of the colonies for the Hutton's Shearwater

Get involved
This year, the team at Forest and Bird are highlighting New Zealand’s ‘under-birds’ during the competition, shining a spotlight on some of the lesser-known birds from across the country, such as the moho pererū (banded rail), weweia (New Zealand dabchick) and the ngutu pare (wrybill).  

Luckily, you don’t need to choose just one bird to get behind for Bird of the Year as voting allows for up to five birds to be chosen, so you can vote for the Kaikōura tītī/ Hutton’s Shearwater and four other birds!

Voting is open now and closes at 5pm on Sunday 30 October. The winner will be announced on 31 October. Learn more about the birds you can get behind for Bird of the Year and place your vote here. 

Hutton's Shearwater in flight. Photo Credit: Duncan Watson