Federated Farmers is once again championing the whio (blue duck) to take the Bird of the Year title.
New Zealanders sticking to their home bubble under COVID alert levels should feel some affinity for this plucky and endangered native duck because they also live rather isolated lives in the less modified catchments of the Urerewa, East Cape and central North Island, and on the West Coast of the South Island from Nelson to Fiordland.
Whio – which don’t quack but growl and whistle – revel in clean, clear water. That’s a state of affairs that farmers also strive for with their significant investment in fencing, riparian planting and covenanting of special areas of biodiversity, Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen said.
“We can relate to the whio. It’s a tough little guy, and there aren’t too many of them, like farmers.
“It’s paddling away, head down, bum up, getting its work done the best it can.”
The whio’s conservation status is described as “in serious trouble”. Feds encourages everyone to vote www.birdoftheyear.org.nz and make sure the whio is not forgotten. Voting closes 31 October.