Australian magpies have become the new kings of Australian birds for 2017. In the 2017 Australian Bird of the Year competition hosted by the Guardian Australia and Birdlife Australia, the magpie has swooped in to take the spot of the white ibis which was an early favourite.
This result comes as a huge upset to white ibis lovers who were tipped to win early in the competition. The contest was a tight race until in the home straight the magpie overtook the ibis to become Australia’s favourite bird of 2017.
Finishing with 19,926 total votes the Australian magpie edged out the white ibis or bin-chicken which came in with a total of 19,083 votes.
There was a major difference between second and third place with the iconic kookaburra coming in at third with 10,953 total votes.
The vote was open to all members of the public on The Guardian official website with polls closing on December 9. The white ibis was considered the favourite to win right up until the last moment.
With a large number of Australians campaigning on behalf of the white ibis, this result came as huge disappointment.
Ibis lovers have taken to social media to express the unfairness of the final result, going as far as to say the award was “stolen” from the Ibis. Comparisons have been made to Shannon Noll’s idol loss to Guy Sebastian in 2003 which was a similarly controversial result.
Some have even gone as far as to say this is Australia’s “Trump moment” and have blamed Russian interference in the results.
These complaints are obviously facetious in nature and work to satirise more serious voting outcomes around the world.
Magpie supporters were vocal in their satisfaction with the result, many stating that the magpie was more misunderstood than the white ibis and deserved the recognition.
There were also other birds that suffered from the split vote between magpies and the white ibis. Parrots were led by the rainbow lorikeet which came in at sixth place, scoring only 6041 votes.
Sulphur-crested cockatoo’s came in at eleventh with a mere 4051 votes. The gang-gang cockatoo, a Canberra native that received support from politicians came in at fifteenth scoring only 2871 votes.
While the list of candidates was limited to 51 birds there were several write in birds that were nominated. The yellow tailed cockatoo got 304 votes and the black throated finch got 291.
With the increased media exposure this year’s result has gotten, it can be expected that 2018’s bird of the year will be an intense competition.