The winner and finalists for the Bird-Poem Competition

9781869798383  9781869798383  9781869798383

Congratulations! Here are the finalists for the bird-poem competition. It was very hard picking these as there were some outstanding entries. Some poets thought about the fact that the way we live on the planet is putting our precious birds at risk. There were poems with excellent detail (making the birds come alive on the screen). There were poems with excellent rhythm. Some of the very best poems were simple poems that made a picture grow. I thought Paramata School came up with some terrific bird poems, with outstanding language and images.

All these poems deserve a prize, but I only have the one book to give away for this. It is Joy Cowley’s picture book, Manukura: The White Kiwi, illustrated by Bruce Potter and published by Random House (2012). Thank you Random House for the prize book!


The winning poem is by Stephanie. I loved the way she took an issue (a hazard for birds) and used good detail to show us an example of it. Her poem is simple but very moving. I like the slender lines with their shiny words and the fresh similies. Congratulations!


White Heron Trapped in an Oil Slick

She is a thin branch

nearly snapping.

Her spiky feathers

pierce the moonlight.


Her beak a needle

hanging looose from a quilt.


Her eyes the sky

turns black


as her memory

is forgotten.

Stephanie L Year 8 aged 12, Kirkwood Intermediate School, Christchurch



The Heron’s Catch

Bright eyes, an open beak

Swimming fish, a trickling creak

Wild mind, ready to snatch

Splashing water, the heron’s catch

Holly B Year 6 Paramata School



Pied Stilt

On long, red legs,

the Pied Stilt sways;

a cat jumps out

and ends her days.


On long, red legs

the Pied Stilt sways,

although his mate

has been dead for days.


Small brown eggs

their parent snatched,

pooor brown eggs

will not be hatched.

Benjamin C Year 6 Paramata School



Nature of Porirua

Eels splash in the pure streams

Nibbling at the soggy algae

A swallow

Returning to his humble nest

Presenting his mate with a gift

On a Judgeford bridge


Rushes sway

Around the glassy film of the Pauatahanui inlet

In which the shags dive

Oyster Catchers

Hammers of the seashore

Bring this place alive


Two azure wings

Feathers of retreating waves

Hill separated by stretching farmland

Swans settle on the surface

Curving their elegant necks

On the Porirua harbour


Waddling shelducks

A strong love bond

Mallards provide company

Pukeko sway

In time with the raupo

On Porirua harbour


Shore Plovers

Rarities of Mana Island

Make a trek to Plimmerton

As the terns

Gracefully flitting

Plunge into the water


This is the nature of my city Porirua

Ben C Year 6 Paramata School



Beyond My Control

At Caswell Sound 1946

I watch from the balcony

the olive-brown ground.


The South Island piopio

threatened, endangered,

suffering, dying.


Cats and rats killing

for fun

with no remorse.


Their kinds’ population

decreases by

the day.


But I didn’t do anything

It was beyond

my control.


At Caswell Sound 1947

I watch the last piopio die

their kind is now extinct


And I didn’t help them,

it was beyond

my control.

Ewen aged 11, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air Primary School, Christchurch




My wings beat heavily like a drum

I spy a rat scuttling under a bush

I pounce like a hungry cat

but miss, a delicious meal

will be mine.

Mary S aged 10, Year 6 Fendalton Open-Air School



Bird Poem

Like a love song, the magpie sings from high up in her macrocarpa tree. The tree sways gently in the calm breeze. Her vivid white feathers flash against the harsh glare of the sun. Eyes like black beads, beak like pliers. Talons reaching out to grab her prey, so close, so close. Blood drumming in her ears. The field mouse freezes as the great bird swoops over her like a silent, deathly shadow.


The magpie.

Ella S Year 8, aged 12, Ohaupo School



Bird Poem

The best part of spring

is when birds come out to sing.

Black or white,

dark or light,

birds come out to sing.

Small or big,

they peck and dig,

when birds come out to sing.

To girls and boys

they cause such joy,

the birds that come to sing.


Sophie P, Year 7, aged 11 St Kentigern Girl’s School


Moa (A poem for Massey Wildlife Centre)

The Moa, unlike most others, was not exceedingly bright,

The Moa, unlike most others, gave up the advantage of flight.


The Moa, unlike most others, took on a tremendous height,

The Moa, unlike most others, was a five on the scale of might.


The Moa, unlike most others, was hunted and soon extinct,

The Moa, unlike most others, was stuffed and made distinct.


The Moa, I like above others, I think they should celebrate,

The Moa, I like above all others, because Moa are absolutely great.

Helena M, aged 11, Year 7, Palmerston North Intermediate School


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