Celebrating Birds in Storytelling

I’ve some exciting news: I’ve been selected by Wattpad as one of their featured writers to join Margaret Atwood (!!!) in a campaign to raise awareness about endangered bird wildlife and environmental conservation. And my poem or short story will be part of Wattpad’s BirdLife Campaign, in conjunction with the International Celebration of Birds in Storytelling.

How cool is that?

I was a bit hesitant about accepting because I haven’t written poetry since I was in high school… and was forced to do it in English class. Not to mention the shortest story I’ve ever written is a 25,ooo word erotic romance novella — hardly the kind of thing they’re wanting for this campaign! But DH encouraged me to go for it, so for the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a story featuring one of New Zealand’s endangered birds, the Chatham Island Black Robin.

Aside from including a completely fictional paranormal element — because I can’t help myself! — I’ve done a heap of research for this little story. And I’ve learned some fascinating stuff — always a bonus when you’re tackling something challenging and new-to-you.

For instance, I knew black robins were endangered but I had no idea their numbers were once so few that they were considered “critical”. And by critical, consider this: at one stage there were only seven black robins remaining. Seven! And while a dedicated group of people were frantically trying to come up with ways to increase their numbers and pull them back from the brink of extinction, two more robins died. There was only one breeding pair remaining, and they came so close to only existing in paintings and photos and taxidermy-ed replicas in our museums that it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Anyway, while I was researching I came across some clips detailing the Herculean efforts of a dedicated group of people determined to ensure these wonderful little birds are still around today for us all to marvel over. I can’t share my story with you as yet, but I can share links to these short clips, which I hope you enjoy:

Seven Black Robins documentary, Part 1 (link to Part 2 is provided at the end of Part 1)

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/seven-black-robins-1980

The Man Who Saved the Black Robin

http://tvnz.co.nz/meet-the-locals/2008-episode-152-video-2320248

Cheers!

Maree

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