Five election candidates are presented

Five election candidates are presented

These five feathered candidates are open to public election. (NABU / F. Derer, M. Schäf)

The bird polling station on the Internet is open again! For the public vote on the bird of the year 2022, this time the organizers are presenting five pre-selected bird species, each of which represents a specific “election program” – an important nature conservation issue. Candidates are red linnet, tree sparrow, house martin, wheatear and hoopoe. Everyone can now until mid-November on-line vote for his favorite.

Every year from 1971 to 2020, a bird was in the spotlight, selected by experts from the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU) and the State Association for Bird Protection in Bavaria (LBV). For the anniversary of the campaign in 2021, however, the organizers then decided on a referendum: Everyone could nominate a candidate from 307 species living in Germany on an internet platform. The birds with the most votes were then shortlisted. “More than 455,000 people took part in the campaign and ultimately voted the robin bird of the year 2021. “We are very pleased that the interest in nature conservation and the local bird world is so great and that is why we are placing the choice of birds in the hands of everyone in the years to come,” says Leif Miller from NABU.

In order to simplify the concept, however, the step of public nomination is no longer necessary: ​​The bird experts from NABU and LBV will take over the list of candidates. Now the organizers are presenting the five species that will be entering the race for the Bird of the Year 2022: Blood Linnet, Tree Sparrow, House Martin, Wheatear and Hoopoe. “Each of these birds represents a conservation issue that needs our attention,” explains Miller.

Five candidates with “motto”

The NABU assigned each of the candidates a “campaign slogan”, which plays an important role for the species. In the case of the house martin it is “tenant protection for birds!”. The background: The nesting sites of these birds are often removed when building renovations, for example. In addition, the house martin has another major problem that is particularly endangering its populations: due to the death of insects, there is significantly less food available to it.

The wheatear enters the race with the motto “Courage to go fallow!”. Like the house martins, these birds are long-distance migrants and achieve top performances among songbirds with up to 30,000 kilometers of annual migration. “This species is threatened with extinction because it has less and less habitat available. The wheatear needs open terrain with little vegetation, ”says Miller.

For the hoopoe, the organizers have chosen the campaign slogan “Poison is not a solution!”. “The species would be much more common if there were more semi-open landscapes with lots of insects, such as pastures or pesticide-free vineyards,” explains Miller. With its long beak and orange crown feathers, the hoopoe is probably the most eye-catching candidate. He lives exclusively in particularly warm areas of Germany – for example at the Kaiserstuhl in Baden-Württemberg.

As Miller emphasizes, these three species are linked by a characteristic that is also the focus of bird protection: “With the house martin, wheatear and hoopoe, we have three migratory bird species on the list to choose from. Migratory birds suffer particularly badly from climate change, as they depend on intact conditions in several places around the world, ”says the conservationist.

Attention to endangered bird life

The fourth candidate is a birdie who was once very numerous but could soon be endangered. The tree sparrow, like the house sparrow, has adapted to humans and lives in settlement areas. But he also has demands: In addition to tree hollows or nesting boxes for breeding, he needs natural islands. “After the breeding season, this species of sparrow has a distinctive social behavior; the birds then like to gather in bushes,” says Miller. The tree sparrow was therefore given the motto: “Without trees, without me!”

Number five in the flock of nominees is a graceful species of finch: the hallmarks of the red linnet are its red breast and its fluting, trilling song. In addition to the lack of wild herb seeds, the loss of habitat in the monotonous arable land is a problem for him in many places. This species is especially important for breeding: “More hedges to hide!” Is the NABU’s motto.

Who of the five feathered stars should be in the spotlight in 2022? If you want to have a say, you can now until the morning of November 18th under vote. The winner will be announced on the same day. You can also find more detailed portraits of the candidates on the website.

Source: NABU

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