On 29 April 2021, Eesti Post commemorated 100th anniversary of the Estonian Ornithological Society. According to the information on the Eesti Post Website:
“The Estonian Ornithological Society was established on 1 May 1921. For over one hundred years, the society has contributed to the research, protection and introduction of our bird species. With more than 600 members, the ornithological society is currently one of the largest nature protection societies in Estonia and it is also a partner of the international bird protection organisation BirdLife International. We continue to stand for the wellbeing of Estonian wild birds.”
The stamp issue includes a sheetlet of two colourful stamps, both at €1.90 (the letter rate for postage outside of Europe, up to 250g), with the left-hand stamp featuring the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and the right-hand stamp illustrating a pair of binoculars and the logo of the Ornithological society, plus a Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).
 100th Anniversary of the Estonian Ornithological Society (omniva.ee)
Issued by Kyrgyz Express Post 2014 – 2020
Preamble Browsing through some back issues of Flight magazine, I saw a picture of one of the stamps issued by Kyrgyz Express Post (KEP) and it crossed my mind that it might be interesting to do a review of the bird stamps issued so far by this postal operator, from the date that they started to issue stamps in November 2014, through to 2020.
Who are KEP?
KEP is the second postal operator in Kyrgyzstan and run postal services alongside (and in competition with) the national legacy provider, Kyrgyzstan Post (KP). The Kyrgyz Republic’s Government granted KEP an operator’s licence initially in December 2012, which was given international endorsement in 2013 through the Universal Postal Union. KEP issued its first stamps in December 2014 and since then has produced up to ten sets each year. Many of the issues are single stamp issues; others are in sets of four, but overall, the issuing policy is relatively modest and the print runs reasonably conservative (around 10,000).
In my view, what does make these stamps attractive is a combination of the quality of the design and artwork; the quality of the printing; and that the stamps remain (traditionally) gummed, rather than self-adhesive.
KEP has already provided us with a good range of bird stamps, with the promise of more to come, now that KEP has decided to issue a bird stamp each year, assisted in this endeavour by the Kyrgyz Wildlife Conservation Society (KWCS), who select the bird to be featured. If only Royal Mail had such vision.
The Bird Stamps
2014 Fauna of Kyrgyzstan
KEP’s second stamp issue put on centre stage the Fauna of Kyrgyzstan, which included one bird stamp, featuring the Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), in dramatic action about to pounce on its prey.
2014 Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug)
Part 9 – Alberta
Provincial Bird: Great-horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
According to the Canada Government website,
the Province of Albert adopted the Great-horned owl as its bird emblem in 1977, following a province-wide children’s vote. This owl is an Alberta resident; and apparently its choice reflected concern about threatened wildlife, both in Alberta and worldwide.
The Alberta Legislature has endorsed the selection of the Great-horned owl in Statute:
Emblems of Alberta Act (Revised Statutes 2000): “Official bird 6. The bird known scientifically as Bubo virginianus and commonly known as the “great horned owl” is hereby adopted as the official bird of Alberta. RSA 1980 cE-8 s6“.
The Great-horned owl is a native resident of North America, but can also be found in Central America and Southern parts of South America. Within North America, eBird Canada says of the Great-horned Owl:“Large and widespread owl with distinctive ear tufts. Found in a variety of habitats from dense woods to prairie and deserts with at least some trees. Also, found in wooded towns and suburbs. Typically, well-camouflaged dark brown overall, but varies in color. Often engages in haunting duets, with males and females hooting back and forth. Preys upon a variety of animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles“.
Part 8 – Saskatchewan
Provincial Birds: Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanachus phasianellus)
According to the Canadian Government website,
Saskatchewan adopted the Sharp-tailed Grouse as its Provincial bird in 1945. I have not been able to go back that far, but I did find in the Saskatchewan Legislation database the consolidated “Provincial Emblems and Honours Act 1988-89” which was last updated in 2019. Part II, Article 7 of that Act states:
“Bird Emblem: The bird known ornithologically as Tympanachus phasianellus and called the “sharp-tailed grouse” is the bird emblem of Saskatchewan. 1995, c.29, s.4.”
The Canadian Government website suggests that the Sharp-tailed Grouse is known colloquially as a “Prairie Chicken”.
eBird Canada says about this bird:“Pale grayish-brown chickenlike bird, found in open spaces with mix of grasses and shrubs. Often on the ground or perched high in trees. Look for whitish tail with pointed tip, slight crest, wings spotted with white, and sparsely marked pale belly. In early spring, males gather at display site and dance to attract females: look for tail cocked up, wings held out, and purple patch of exposed skin on neck. Sexes alike. Most similar to prairie-chickens but note paler belly and pointed tail.“
The distribution map on eBird for the Sharp-tailed Grouse indicates that it is a native resident of North East and Central Canada (but not the Eastern seaboard provinces) and the Northern, Central States of the USA. It is also present in parts of Alaska.
The Sharp-tailed Grouse is a bird that is hunted by man. The online magazine “Project Upland” describes aspects of this bird:
“The is one seriously charismatic bird. If you’ve ever seen videos of sharp-tails doing their tell-tale dancing competitions, you were likely hooked immediately. They are fascinating birds to watch and to hunt. Furthermore, the open habitats they live in are equally beautiful and captivating in their own way.”
Part 7 – Prince Edward Island
Provincial Bird: Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Prince Edward Island (PEI) adopted the Blue Jay in 1977 following a province wide vote. The General Assembly of PEI confirmed adoption of the Blue Jay in legislation, which is currently consolidated in Part One of the Provincial Emblems and Honours Act:
“2. Avian emblem: The bird known scientifically as Cyanocitta cristata (L.) and popularly known as the blue jay is adopted as and shall be the avian emblem of the province. 1997,c.36,s.2.”
Under this Act, PEI also adopted the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) as its animal; the Red Oak (Quercus rubra L.) as its tree; and the Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) as the floral emblem of the Province.
eBird describes the Blue Jay thus:“Blue above, light gray below. Black and white markings on wings and tail. Larger than a robin, smaller than a crow. Crest and long tail. Noisy and conspicuous in areas with large trees. Regularly visits feeders.“