Bird of the year: black-throated finch triumphs in 2019 poll – live | Environment | The Guardian
The final votes in the Guardian/BirdLife Australia poll have been counted and the results are in. Follow the latest updates and reaction. Skip to main content The Guardian – Back to home Support The Guardian Available for everyone, funded by readers Contribute Subscribe Contribute Search jobs Sign in My account Comments & replies Public profile Account details Emails & marketing Membership Contributions Subscriptions Sign out Search switch to the International edition switch to the UK edition switch to the US edition switch to the Australia edition current edition: International edition News Opinion Sport Culture Lifestyle Show More News World news UK news Environment Science Cities Global development Football Tech Business Obituaries Opinion The Guardian view Columnists Cartoons Opinion videos Letters Sport Football Cricket Rugby union Tennis Cycling F1 Golf US sports Culture Books Music TV & radio Art & design Film Games Classical Stage Lifestyle Fashion Food Recipes Love & sex Health & fitness Home & garden Women Men Family Travel Money What term do you want to search? Search with google Make a contribution Subscribe International edition switch to the UK edition switch to the US edition switch to the Australia edition Search jobs Dating Holidays Digital Archive Discount Codes The Guardian app Video Podcasts Pictures Newsletters Today’s paper Inside the Guardian The Observer Guardian Weekly Crosswords Facebook Twitter Search jobs Dating Holidays Digital Archive Discount Codes Environment Climate change Wildlife Energy Pollution More Australian bird of the year (2019) Bird of the year: black-throated finch triumphs in 2019 poll – live
The final votes in the Guardian/BirdLife Australia poll have been counted and the results are in. Follow the latest updates and reaction
• How the highly endangered black-throated finch harnessed support of conservationists
Bird of the year winner 2019: Australia has crowned the black-throated finch in the Guardian / Bird Life Australia poll. Composite: Getty Images/Alamy Naaman Zhou
Thu 14 Nov 2019 22.47 GMT First published on Thu 14 Nov 2019 19.06 GMT
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Key events Show 10.33pm GMT 22:33 Magpies stage walkout 10.17pm GMT 22:17 ‘Time to save our finch!’ 9.18pm GMT 21:18 Analysis 8.42pm GMT 20:42 Full results 8.13pm GMT 20:13 Tawny frogmouth concedes 8.08pm GMT 20:08 Black-throated finch wins 8.07pm GMT 20:07 The top 10 Live feed Show 10.47pm GMT 22:47
And with that, we’ll be wrapping up our live coverage for this morning.
The black-throated finch, on debut, has landed with the biggest winning margin in bird of the year history .
It’s an important result for the highly endangered bird. A real sense of urgency propelled this small passerine, whose southern subspecies has less than 800 individuals left, up to top spot.
And in its win, we can see the seeds of the future. Is this the dawn of the highly coordinated, online campaign format – a la New Zealand ? For sure, in the washup of the cassowary round one debacle , the message was clear: Organise early . Tawny frogmouth supporters are now saying the same thing.
Elsewhere, we saw a crash in the ibis vote. The magpie is off licking its wounds. The wedge-tailed eagle only just scraped into the top 10 but soared up and up, in a proud performance. It wasn’t to be for the superb fairy-wen, the sulphur-crested cockatoo, the willie wagtail and others, but there’s no shame there.
As BirdLife Australia’s Sean Dooley said, this was a different kind of win. “The sad reality is that many of our birds are becoming iconic for all the wrong reasons, they are now emblematic of the extinction crisis.”
Now our eyes turn to the future. The innovative two-round system added an unpredictable element this year. Who knows what zany ideas our poll organisers have next. And with attempted voter fraud in both iterations now, I’m excited to see the next battle of wits between these criminals and our data team.
What new birds, drama and stories will future bird of the years bring? Nobody knows.
Right now, it’s the finch’s moment. Until next time.
Updated at 10.47pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 10.33pm GMT 22:33
Magpies stage walkout Magpies, the 2017 winners, have staged a walkout after learning this morning’s result.
Lorena Allam , Guardian Australia’s Indigenous affairs editor and magpie supporter, captured this image from her home this morning.
A magpie walks out upon learning the result of 2019 bird of the year. Photograph: Lorena Allam/The Guardian Updated at 10.33pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 10.17pm GMT 22:17
‘Time to save our finch!’ And here is the statement from one of the key online campaigns that swept the finch to victory:
What a well-fledged bunch of numbers that vote is!
We know why the finch is so popular and it’s fitting to recognise this beautiful bird in the middle of all-consuming out-of-season bushfires. Right now, the finch’s habitat is being stripped for yet another thermal coalmine as our federal government resists action against climate change impacts.
Thank you to all who voted for the black-throated finch. Thank you to the scientists fighting to save the finch’s remaining population. Thank you to the volunteers on the frontlines promoting discussion on the climate emergency in our national and local communities.
I’m looking forward to the next bird of the year poll focusing on endangered species. For now, the black-throated finch is a symbol for all of them. It’s time for every voter to activate and demand our leaders give us back our future. Time to save our finch!
Updated at 10.17pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 10.06pm GMT 22:06
TroveNewsBot (@TroveNewsBot) Found in response to @GuardianAus latest at https://t.co/mZcNmjUnj8 ! 7 Jun 1918: ‘TAWNY FROGMOUTH.’, Western Mail, https://t.co/e9zx8BNLLQ pic.twitter.com/Ql9IGSoVH8
November 14, 2019 KerrieDavies (@DaviesMediak) Why doesn’t anyone love me anymore? I’m an icon, said my mother’s visiting kookaburra @guardian #BirdOfTheYear pic.twitter.com/ZCjKMNZaab
November 14, 2019 Facebook Twitter 9.58pm GMT 21:58
From the Biodiversity Heritage Library:
BHL (@BioDivLibrary) Congratulations to the black-throated finch (Poephila cincta), the @GuardianAus / @BirdlifeOz bird of the year for 2019!
Find #SciArt of this species in #BHLib via Flickr ➡️ https://t.co/fE8mAgPoDM #Feathursday https://t.co/4KbO2AvzHl
November 14, 2019 Facebook Twitter 9.53pm GMT 21:53
Jason O’Neill (@jasononeill3) R #BirdOfTheYear https://t.co/otZtbiLItM
November 14, 2019 F Onthemoon (@firstdogonmoon) the fix is in! congrats to all the finch people for cheating better than everyone else
my book “The Sulphur-Crested Cock up – How Russian interference and overbearing editors ruined my life and BOTY2019” will be out soon #boty2019 https://t.co/xCzhuFjk3M
November 14, 2019 Facebook Twitter 10.16pm GMT 22:16
An interesting question now looms over future bird of the year contests – is this the start of a new era of political, environmental, or at least highly coordinated winners? Or will we revert next time to a purely avian, less topical choice?
Online campaigns are not necessarily a bad thing. In New Zealand, that’s how it has worked for years, with radio stations, publications, huge Facebook pages and even real-life poster squads coalescing around birds every year, with full endorsements and pitched campaigns.
Pat Allan (@pat) While I’m agonising over which bird to give my final vote for in The Australian #BirdOfTheYear , I’m also loving the dedication in New Zealand’s Rockhopper Penguin campaign – there are parody movie posters all over Wellington. pic.twitter.com/K4jD8lTwO8
November 8, 2019 Updated at 10.16pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 10.15pm GMT 22:15
I have been wondering how votes would flow from supporters of birds that didn’t make the cut: in particular those who supported other cockatoos.
The Carnaby’s black cockatoo and the gang-gang cockatoo came 13th and 14th, but it doesn’t look like their voters swung in behind the sulphur-crested cockatoo, which dropped from fourth to seventh in the final round. Just because one cockatoo is your favourite doesn’t mean you’ll happily transfer your support to another.
The rainbow lorikeet likewise failed to benefit from the votes of a bunch of other parrots which didn’t make the top 10.
The lack of general support for cockatoos and parrots makes sense if you assume that a lot of voters choose a bird they see regularly. Voters for Carnaby’s black cockatoo (present in southern Western Australia) were unlikely to switch to vote for an east-coast cockatoo.
Updated at 10.15pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 9.31pm GMT 21:31
I have some comment from one of the lead online campaigns for the finch coming soon.
The Queensland-based spokesman is just dropping the kids off to school first. Daylight savings means that it was only 5.30am when the result was announced.
Facebook Twitter 9.30pm GMT 21:30
An early pick for next year’s winner.
Ben Raue (@benraue) #teampelican will ride again #birdoftheyear pic.twitter.com/kJ5ISZ6GTr
November 14, 2019 Updated at 9.30pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 9.22pm GMT 21:22
? Joce Edge (@jocey70) Day 7 waking to this in my safe evacuated place as I can’t go home. Personally I am so happy the Black-Throated Finch won #BirdOfTheYear as we are in a #ClimateEmergency and if we can #stopAdani we can save the #GalileeBasin we can do our part in cutting #co2 pic.twitter.com/x7XzTTcueP
November 14, 2019 Facebook Twitter 9.18pm GMT 21:18
Analysis Ben Raue
More than 54,000 votes were cast in the first round of voting, but the second round attracted just 32,000 votes. This is pretty typical of runoff elections. Some voters are fatigued by the need to come back to vote again, and others are discouraged by the absence of their favourite.
Yet despite the drop in turnout, five of the birds in the final round managed to improve on their first-round total.
The black-throated finch improved from 13.2% to 34.5%, with more than 11,000 votes. That means more than one in three votes in the final round were cast for the finch, a walloping victory in a 10-horse (10-bird?) race.
The tawny frogmouth came a clear second with 3,351 votes – this was just over 10% of votes in the second round, compared with 4.4% in the first round. We can’t really say if the frogmouth benefited from voters switching from birds that had been knocked out, or a bandwagon effect as it became the obvious non-finch option in second place.
The superb fairy-wren also did well, jumping from sixth to third with 8.9% of the vote.
I had a theory in 2017 that the magpie and ibis partly did well because they are divisive choices: those who really like them concentrated their votes while those who don’t were scattered, and that a runoff system would disadvantage those birds. This wasn’t wrong, with the magpie dropping from second to fourth and the ibis dropping from fifth to a distant 10th.
The final round was also a good result for the wedge-tailed eagle, who jumped from 10th to sixth with about 700 more votes than in the first round. It appears that the eagle peaked just at the right time.
Updated at 9.18pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 9.10pm GMT 21:10
From ibis fans:
sam langford (@_slangers) Not our best turnout, but I remain committed to championing the ibis now and in future. To the 18,000-odd traitors out there: the bin chicken deserves better than trash.
November 14, 2019 Michael Slezak (@MikeySlezak) ?
November 14, 2019 Facebook Twitter 9.04pm GMT 21:04
Here’s how round one played out. That finch lead basically held for the rest of the competition.
Nick Evershed (@NickEvershed) Here’s the top 15 #Birdoftheyear positions, animated over round one https://t.co/SR8X6n7gv7 pic.twitter.com/hxLlWSSUVJ
November 8, 2019 Facebook Twitter 9.00pm GMT 21:00
D’Hawk (@DimityHawkins) While my loyalty to the mighty emu took my initial vote – the black-throated finch is a worthy winner. Endangered. Beautiful. And facing a fight for their lives because of a coal mine…its very much a story of now… https://t.co/jfsKoWgwGt
November 14, 2019 Brydie Kosmina ? (@brydiekosmina) A Good Bird! (unlike the runner-up, the tawny frogmouth, a foolish bird) https://t.co/264DP0R8gW
November 14, 2019 Facebook Twitter 8.55pm GMT 20:55
I would also like to hear from some magpie voters. Are you happy to pass on the crown? Or will you be challenging the result, hanging on to the faded glory of 2017?
Tweet on #birdoftheyear
Updated at 8.55pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 8.59pm GMT 20:59
For a while there, the sulphur-crested cockatoo was a frontrunner.
It spent long periods at second in the first round, then ended that first leg at fourth. And there were many, many thousands of other cockatoo votes out there that could have swung in behind it. The galah missing out on 10th, many secretly thought, was a huge boon.
Yet it actually dropped down to seventh. It’s an intriguing result that reveals something about the psychology of runoff elections. For whatever reason, the sulphur-crested lost its sheen.
Analyst Ben Raue does actually have a fascinating explanation for that – to come soon.
Updated at 8.59pm GMT
Facebook Twitter 8.43pm GMT 20:43
“I would argue there are some similarities with last year’s strong result for the ibis.
“The ibis is not an endangered bird, and it wasn’t successful due to a political campaign, but it does draw support from people who like it, sometimes in spite of its reputation as an unappealing bird. It’s the underdog, hated by many but liked by those who understand where it has come from. It’s exactly the kind of story that can draw votes one year but not do so well the next year.”
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