Bird friends called to vote

Bird friends called to vote

The online bird polling station is open again: These five candidates are in the running for the title “Bird of the Year 2023”.

The current “incumbent” is the hoopoe – who should be the symbol bearer for Germany’s endangered bird world in the coming year? The organizers of the "Bird of the Year" campaign are again presenting five candidates, each of whom can nominate their favorite by October 27th on-line can choose. Whinchats, red-backed shrikes, moorhens, pied flycatchers and tree sparrows enter the race. These species compete for specific “constituencies”—their habitats. The bird experts have also assigned each of them a “motto”, which stands for a specific nature conservation issue.

A bird has been in the limelight every year since 1971: With the Bird of the Year, the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU) and the State Union for Bird Protection in Bavaria (LBV) want to draw attention to the concerns and needs of the feathered inhabitants of our state. Experts selected the respective bird species until 2020 - but then the organizers decided to democratize: Bird lovers can vote under help decide who will be named symbol bearer in the following year. The experts at NABU select five of the more than 300 bird species in Germany to vote for.

Last year, more than 143,000 people voted and voted the hoopoe bird of the year 2022. “We are very pleased that there is so much interest in nature conservation and the local bird life. Now everyone can again decide who should wear the crown of the bird world in 2023," says NABU Federal Managing Director Leif Miller. Again, each of the five current nominees represents a conservation issue that needs more attention. "Above all, the climate crisis, the loss of insects, intensive agriculture and the loss of near-natural greenery are threatening the populations of our bird species," says Miller.

Five feathered stars to choose from

The Whinchat Saxicola rubetra is used for the “constituency” of damp meadows, fallow land and field edges. These migratory birds arrive in Germany every year in April after a journey of more than 5000 kilometers from Africa. They build their nests in flowering meadows and fallow land. They have a problem with areas that are often mowed and used intensively, which is why the population of the whinchat has been declining for decades. This candidate therefore comes up with the slogan: "Make meadows wilder again!"

The next candidate is a bird known for its whimsical behavior with its prey: the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) impales insects and even mice on hawthorn and bramble spines to store up supplies. Unfortunately, he has less and less opportunity to do so in his habitat, which consists of hedges and shrubs as well as fallow and open land. This is due to the use of pesticides in agriculture, which is one of the main reasons for insect decline, writes NABU. This candidate therefore “proclaims”: “Open your beak for more insects!”

It continues with the habitat lake, pond, swamp and river. The bird experts nominate the moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) for this “constituency”. In contrast to the more common coot, it prefers to be in the sheltered thicket of banks of still waters. Unfortunately, reeds, bushes and trees often have to give way to concreted or bare areas and rivers are straightened. NABU therefore puts the moorhen in the beak: "Let it proliferate on the banks!"

Online bird polling station open until October 27th

The fourth candidate is a birdie, who was nominated last year - but which the organizers now apparently want to give a second chance: the tree sparrow Passer montanus stands for sparse forests, meadow orchards as well as gardens and parks. It is the smaller brother of the somewhat stronger house sparrow, to which it is subject in competition. It is more dependent on colorful green areas with old trees and on gardeners who allow more nature. That's why his motto is: "Wild garden for more species!"

The flock of nominees is rounded off by the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). Despite its name, the cheerful aerial acrobat catches its insect food in flight from the air in forests and tree-rich areas and parks. In addition to the decline in its prey, this bird has another problem: because spring is beginning earlier and earlier due to climate change, the pied flycatcher is increasingly finding nesting holes empty-handed. Because when it returns from its winter quarters in Africa, many tree cavities and nesting boxes are already occupied. His slogan is therefore: "Grab for more climate protection!"

Anyone who wants to help decide which candidate should be in the limelight in 2023 can now do so until the morning of October 27 at decide by vote. The winner will be announced on the same day, writes NABU.

Source: NABU

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