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Are you considering managing a bird campaign for Te Manu Rongonui o te Tau/Bird of the Year? Not sure if you’ve got the skills or talents required to help your bird get to the top? Wondering where to get started? Team Kākāpō are here to help!  

Team Kākāpō is run by a bunch of self-confessed amateur bird nerds. Our team is made up of a variety of people from across the country, from all different backgrounds. Our photoshop skills may be questionable, but our dedication and drive helped us win Bird of the Year in 2020.  

You don’t need to be a social media guru or a graphic design expert to get behind your favourite bird. With just a few tips and some tutu-ing around online, you can spread the news about why native birds in Aotearoa New Zealand need our help.  

Here are our 10 tips for a successful BOTY campaign. 

Team Kākāpō manager Bonnie on a Zoom call with a DOC ranger, 1326 people reached on Facebook

Bonnie from Team Kākāpō can hardly contain herself hosting a Zoom call with a real-life kākāpō ranger. 

Tip #1: Don't do it alone

Put out feelers for people to help you out! Having a group of people who can brainstorm, contact others, make memes and videos, or even just listen to you rant about other campaigns eases the load and makes life just a bit easier. 

Tip #2: Use Department of Conservation, researchers, or existing support groups

Are there existing places that care for/support your bird? Reach out to them! These groups can provide support by offering up prizes, expertise, pictures and ideas for campaign messaging. Make sure to be considerate and contact them a month in advance, at least. These groups are often busy and will need time to respond. 

Birdhism Facebook page posts about Bird of the Year 2020

Birdhism has more than 85,000 followers on Facebook and helped to support Team Kākāpō. 

Tip #3: Support artists and makers

Before the campaign begins, trawl Society6, Etsy, and Instagram to look for artists who have illustrated or made things relating to your bird. Ask for their support! Artists should be asked before their content is used on a campaign. They may also want to support by offering up discount codes or prizes!  

Stats from Team Kākāpō's Facebook page.

Team Kākāpō's Facebook page experienced more than 2000% increase in reach and 1000% increase in engagement for Bird of the Year 2020.


Write down all the social media posts/events you have planned. This will make sure nothing clashes with important events you may be holding, and help you spread content out. You can also use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Facebook Business Suite to schedule content. 

Tip #5: Don't be annoying, don't be lame

Before you post anything, have a think about pages or posts you’ve seen that have annoyed you. What made them annoying?  

  • Too many posts, too often?  

  • Terribly unfunny memes? 

  • Content didn’t relate to the page? 

Whatever you come up with, do the opposite of that! Try not to post on Facebook or Instagram more than twice a day or you’ll start losing followers. 

Tip #6: Use your fans to get seen by more people

Social media algorithms favour posts that are reacted with more. More likes, comments or shares mean more people see your post. Encourage your fans to comment, share or like posts as soon as they see them to ensure your quality memes are seen.  

A note from Forest & Bird

Bird of the Year is a fun and silly competition. If you're campaigning for a native bird, please look after yourself online. You can always hide or delete rude comments that are not in the spirit of the competition.

Tip #7: Arguments are good! 

Social media algorithms push content that people are reacting to. It may seem common sense to delete inflammatory or annoying comments, but you’re only punishing yourself if you do! Encourage fans to comment and rebut comments, rather than pressing the delete button.  

Tip #8: Be okay with second

Bird of the Year runs on an STV system - this preferential voting system actually handed kākāpō our win in 2020! Encourage people to put you on their ballot, no matter where you are on it. Even being their fifth choice can make a massive difference if their preferred birds are ejected early.  

Tip #9: Leave 'bird beef' at the door

It’s very easy to spend time trash talking other birds in the hopes that you’ll discourage their voters and amuse yours. However, it’s important to keep this to a minimum. When you’re dogging other birds, you’re not talking about your own! The aim of the game is to get people talking about your bird. 

kākāpō nibble on ranger ear with caption

Tip #10: Be active

Don’t be afraid to reply to comments or posts about your bird - people love recognition! It’s important to thank people for their vote and to recognise their efforts to help your bird. This can be time consuming, but is definitely worthwhile. Get your team to help you spread the load!  

The kākāpō became the first two-time champion of Bird of the Year in 2020! Kākāpō is the world's only flightless parrot and they are critically endangered, with only about 200 individuals left. 

Te Manu Rongonui o te Tau/Bird of the Year 

Forest & Bird's annual Bird of the Year competition helps people learn about our incredible native birds and the threats they face. Learn more at

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