STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Bird-watchers cry foul over suspect votes in poll

Barely an election goes past without an allegation of meddling or cheating, but one might imagine that a Bir...

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 2:05 PM
Updated: Oct 5, 2018 2:05 PM

Barely an election goes past without an allegation of meddling or cheating, but one might imagine that a Bird of the Year poll would be less controversial.

Organizers of New Zealand's annual contest, though, which seeks to raise awareness of the antipodean nation's native birds, their habitats and the threats they face, went on Twitter earlier this week to call out "310 dubious votes" for the shag, a type of cormorant also known as a kawau.

Animals

Birds

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Life forms

Politics

Voters and voting

Submitted from an IP address in Australia on Wednesday night, the suspect votes were spotted and shut down by the contest's official scrutineers, Dragonfly Data Sciences.

The shag is just one of 61 contenders in the vote, which is staged by Forest & Bird, a leading conservation organization in New Zealand. Voters were invited to support the campaign by choosing the bird they deem most deserving of the spotlight. The event also aims to raise vital funds for the country's threatened bird population -- a third of which are at risk of extinction.

Supporters of the shag are not the only ones who have tried to beat the system, according to the organizers who publicly named and shamed the cheaters on Twitter. Sixteen other #naughtybirds were listed, though none came close to amassing quite as many questionable supporters -- the blue duck was the second-highest offender with 28 problematic ballots.

This annual poll, which has been running since 2005, has ruffled fedathers before. Last year more than 100 fraudulent votes were logged for the white-faced heron, while some contestants received abuse from online trolls. In 2015 an attempt was also made to rig the poll in favor of the Kōkako.

Last year's shady goings-on spurred the promoters to call in Dragonfly for the company's expertise in statistical analysis.

This year's competition has gained traction online after British comedians Stephen Fry and Bill Bailey cast their votes for their favored feathered friends: the kakapo and the takahē, respectively. Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has backed the black petrel.

The voting, which opened this week, closes on October 15. The winner will be revealed the following day. The kereru is the current favorite, with more than 3,000 votes as of Friday afternoon.

West Lafayette
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Kokomo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Rensselaer
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 85°
Fowler
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Williamsport
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 82°
Frankfort
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 77°
Delphi
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 87°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
Logansport
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 85°
Active Weather Pattern for the Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events