No, it's not the seagull.

And the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018 is…

Last year it was the ubiquitous seagull! But who has nabbed the title of the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018? Sam Brooks has the result.

It’s been a fierce two days of votes, deep-seated resentment and Facebook comments. I’ve done the numbers (looked at how many votes) and thought hard about my decisions (y’all really hate sparrows), but ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner:

You feral queen, you.

The magpie, followed closely by my personal favourite Freddie the Cockatoo, and the dreaded myna bird. You feral queen, may you live to steal watches, divebomb people like an Obama drone and generally be a pest upon this world until climate change comes and burns/drowns us all to within an inch of civilization.

Here’s some things I’ve learned about you the voters, and them the birds in the past two days:

  • Despite not winning last year, y’all hate pigeons. Fair enough. People call them flying rats, but I think they have a deceptive beauty that makes unwitting kind people want to feed them. Imagine someone willingly throwing out bread while being swarmed by rats! Or don’t, rather, because we all need sleep.
  • The myna bird is occasionally referred to as the ‘bully bird’. My mother used to refer to my grandmother, her mother, as Medusa. We give nicknames to humanize that which we consider monsters.
  • A lot of you have previous grievances against very specific birds – free range chickens belonging to neighbours, a specific pūkeko which savages your vege patch, blackbirds throwing things up in the backyard. I encourage you to stoke the fires of your own disdain, or to run a Dirtbag Bird poll via letter-drop around your local neighbourhood, school or community. It won’t do anything to stop the feathered locusts that are surely a sign of the apocalypse, but it’ll give you an outlet.
  • Many of you hate birds I’ve never heard of! Well done! Keep your friends close, and your enemies on the other side of the door because otherwise they’ll fly in and once they’re in, you’ll never get them out.

As ever, this incredibly mean-spirited contest is a gentle reminder to donate to the annual Bird of the Year contest. A lot of our native birds are in danger, it’s generally our fault, and you’re inclined to care about this sort of stuff, as you well should be, this is a silly and effective call to action.

Watch out for magpies. We’re more afraid of them than they are of us.


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