The polls for the 2018 New Zealand Bird of the Year have closed. Fake votes (300+ for the shag, and 1,500+ for the black stilt) have been identified and dumped. Valid votes have been counted. An independent scrutineer has confirmed the final scores. An expectant nation waits on tenterhooks. The world looks on, enthralled. And the winner is … a woodpigeon!
A woodpigeon? Come on guys, this competition is getting international coverage, New Zealand’s reputation is at stake here, surely you can do better than a bloody woodpigeon?
But this is no ordinary woodpigeon. The native New Zealand woodpigeon, or kereru, has a big appetite and a bit of an alcohol problem. A report in the Guardian gives us the lowdown on this splendid antipodean piss-artist:
“Although quiet and reclusive by nature, kereru have earned a reputation as the drunkest bird in New Zealand, and been known to fall from trees after consuming rotting [and fermenting] fruit left lying on the ground. During the summer when fruit is in abundance drunk kereru are sometimes taken to wildlife centres to sober up … It is described by conservation group Forest and Bird as ‘clumsy, drunk, gluttonous and glamorous’ ”
Unlike the majority of native New Zealand birds they’re not endangered, so we stand a reasonable chance of seeing one. Unfortunately, I suspect we’ll be there at the wrong time of year to witness the drunken debauchery for which the kereru is infamous, so we’ll have to make do with this short film on YouTube instead.