The candidates have all been shortlisted. The campaign has begun. And the big day is the 7 May.
No I’m not talking about the General Election campaign but the firing of the starting gun for the quest to find a new national bird of Britain.
Ten British birds have made the final cut. The next 50 days will see one of them declared the victor in this online ballot which closes on the 7 May.
Some of the birds that are on the list will get the populist vote such as the robin or the blackbird. Others might have to work that little bit harder, such as the red kite or hen harrier, to get noticed by the British people. It will be interesting to see which species the swing votes go: following the popular choices or getting behind the underdogs.
Feathers will fly as the clock counts down to the final day of voting. We’re a nation of bird lovers and its sure to be a very passionate and hard fought campaign.
I have to declare my hand. I love all of the birds on the list and think that its great that we’re letting the people decide the national bird of Britain.
For me it has to be the puffin. In my heart I know that other species on the list will be the front runners. However, there is something very special about puffins; they are a very charismatic bird. My experience of puffins has been shaped by trips to the Farne Islands and Lundy, places that have captured my heart and places where the nature experience is so mind blowing.
Seeing the puffins for the first time is something that will stay with me for all of my life. They have so many qualities and their babies, pufflings, are so cute.
As an island of nations it seems appropriate that we have this island dwelling bird as our symbol.
So let the debate be a fair and free one and the campaign has already got off to a flying start, capturing the imagination of the nation. May the best bird win and let’s all do our bit to get out the vote and get a really high turnout.