'Bird News Network' covers avian election

University of Otago student Taylor Davies-Colley helped design the BNN "Bird News Network'', set...
University of Otago student Taylor Davies-Colley helped design the BNN "Bird News Network'', set up in time for the Forest and Bird Bird of the Year competition. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
First there was Bird of the Year - and now the "Bird News Network" (BNN), set up in time for the annual competition, is taking off.

From criminal kea vandalising police cars to the nefarious electioneering of the kereru or wood pigeon, the spoof news website and Facebook page is designed to make conservation more entertaining.

BNN went live on Tuesday and is designed and run with the help of science communicators around the country, including University of Otago Master of Botany student Taylor Davies-Colley.

Mr Davies-Colley (23) said Forest and Bird's "Bird of the Year" did a good job of making conservation more accessible to the public, and the news network was building on that.

"It was just another way that we could raise awareness of what's happening to our native birds.

"I think for a lot of people conservation could be a bit doom and gloom," he said.

"It can be a bit depressing, so having a bit of humour in there is a good way to lighten the load I suppose, so people don't get overwhelmed."

The site would include some serious messages - for instance the need for the public to be involved in trapping and habitat restoration.

About four or five volunteers were working on the network, and members of the public were also welcome to get in touch, he said.

"If people want to write articles or send us information, we are set up for that."

"Bird of the Year" voting opens on October 28, and closes on November 10.

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With Dickie 'tweet tweet' Byrrd, a Scots gentleman.