EUROPA stamps celebrate our National Birds
11 April 2019
An Post today issued two stamps featuring national birds. The stamps are based on paintings of a seabird, the Roseate Tern, and a wader, the Golden Plover. This stamp issue, which features two beautiful illustrations, is one which will appeal to bird lovers and is part of a common theme chosen by European Post Offices (PostEurop) for 2019.
The Roseate Tern stamp enables postage in Ireland while the Golden Plover stamp is valid for worldwide postage. The stamps are illustrated by renowned Irish wildlife artist Killian Mullarney and designed by Dublin-based design agency, Design HQ.
The common theme bird stamps across Europe’s Post Offices give the Irish public and bird lovers a chance to appreciate the diversity of birds found across Europe and the role which these wonderful creatures play in our environment. This stamp issue is especially relevant at a time when the world faces many ecological challenges when it comes to protecting and preserving wildlife.
Birds play an important role in our planet’s ecosystem and in the balance of nature. Their migration routes provide a link between nations, and they themselves form a vital part of the biodiversity found throughout Europe. Birds are also own nature’s own form of pest control in gardens and on farms, and provide enormous benefits.
Both birds feature on the list of Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland (BoCCI) 2014-2019 published jointly by BirdWatch Ireland and the RSPB Northern Ireland. The Golden Plover is one of 37 birds on the ‘red list’ (high concern); the Roseate Tern is among 91 birds on the on the ‘amber’ list (medium concern).
The graceful Roseate Tern has slender narrow pointed wings, a long forked tail and a pointed bill, and is named for the pink flush that appears on its breast feathers during the breeding season, while the Golden Plover has golden brown spangled underparts, beautifully contrasting with its jet-black face and chest, a short bill and a characteristic upright stance.
“BirdWatch Ireland is delighted to support this stamp issue, which will do a great deal both to celebrate Europe’s birds and to draw attention to how important, yet how vulnerable, many of them are,” said Dr. Stephen Newton, Senior Seabird Conservation Officer with the conservation charity. “
“The two species that have been chosen by An Post to feature on the Irish stamps are especially fitting. BirdWatch Ireland hopes that this stamp issue will help to draw attention to the plight of these birds, as well as to highlight the wonderful diversity of bird life we have in Ireland and how tragic it would be if this were lost.”
The Roseate Tern represents a conservation success story of which Ireland should be very proud. Faced with extinction 30 years ago, Ireland is now home to the largest nesting colony of this beautiful seabird in all of Europe, on Rockabill Island off the coast of north Co. Dublin, where over 1,600 pairs now nest.
The Golden Plover, in common with many other wader species, is under severe threat as a breeding species in Ireland, due to the loss of its upland habitat and the effects of climate change.
Stamps are available in selected post offices nationwide, online at www.irishstamps.ie or from the Philatelic Bureau at 01-7057400