Weird and Wonderful

Australia’s most popular bird has been named

Who would have thought?
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The result of the Guardian’s bird of the year poll has left anyone who’s been swooped by a magpie confused.

Taking out the title, ahead of the white ibis, was the Australian magpie with 19,926 votes.

“The bin chicken — the ibis — was leading when the poll went dark on The Guardian website,” twitcher Sean Dooley told ABC News Breakfast this morning after the results were announced.

“Coming up close behind it was the magpie.

“It has been neck-and-neck in the home straight but the magpie has been the number one bird — the Bird of the Year is the Australian magpie.”

So what is it about the magpie Australians love?

“Interestingly, the magpie and the ibis, voted one and two, would probably also win the least favourite,” Mr Dooley said.

Despite, their sometimes aggressive nature, magpies have been known to form great connections with people.

As Gisela Kaplan, Professor of Animal Behaviour, University of New England, writes in an article published on The Conversation, “A key reason why friendships with magpies are possible is that we now know that magpies are able to recognise and remember individual human faces for many years. 

“They can learn which nearby humans do not constitute a risk. They will remember someone who was good to them; equally, they remember negative encounters.” 

Additionally, magpies have a great vocal range.

“They’re incredible birds,” said Dooley, “they’re one of the most complex vocal birds of any bird in the world.”

But not everyone is happy about the results, with some expressing their disappointment on Twitter.

Australian bird of the year results

1. Australian magpie: 19,926 votes

2. Australian white ibis: 19,083 votes

3. Laughing kookaburra: 10,953 votes

4. Tawny frogmouth: 6,869 votes

5. Superb fairywren: 6,366 votes

6. Rainbow lorikeet: 6,041 votes

7. Willy wagtail: 4,789 votes

8. Wedge-tailed eagle: 4,517 votes

9. Southern cassowary: 4,168 votes

10. Splendid fairywren: 4,129

This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.

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