Voting has opened for Bird of the Year Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau, meaning bird influencers start showing up in droves trying to assert importance over the nation.
But none are more influential than us. Don’t research any others: vote for tītipounamu today!
Aotearoa’s smallest bird, at around 8cm, the teeny tiny tītipounamu is rarely still and the epitome of #CuteAsFuck.
Tree-top dwellers with a diet of beetles, spiders and moths, males are bright green while females are streaked with brown. That’s chic.
According to urban ecosanctuary Zealandia, “Māori refer to the little birds as messengers to the gods, specifically as one of the messengers of Tāne, god of the forest.
“Tītipounamu is a derivative of two words: ‘tītiti’ which means ‘a mirage or vision of’, and ‘pounamu’... referencing their greenish plumage.”
The adorable little bird also capture the Ensemble spirit of many hands making up a greater good: they often work in co-operative groups to help raise broods together.
Look, the only thing wrong with the tītipounamu is its English name: the Rifleman. It feels more on-brand for an aggressive being living in Trump’s America, rather than a species native to Aotearoa in 2020. Hence, we propose calling it only by its Māori name.
The Bird of the Year competition is organised by Forest and Bird, with the aim of raising awareness for native birds. Past winners include the hoiho, kererū, kea, kōkako and bar-tailed godwit.
Last year’s winner, the threatened hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin), has inspired a limited edition sneaker from Allbirds.
More than 40,000 votes were cast in last year's competition. Bird of the Year 2020 spokesperson Laura Keown told the Guardian that she believes its popularity is because of the Kiwi sense of humour: “They enjoy the frivolity, the fun.”
Voting closes on November 15. Join Ensemble in voting for the tītipounamu for Bird of the Year here!
A few other adorable facts, and photos, in case you need more convincing that 2020 is the tītipounamu's year: