Sunday, January 07, 2007

Birders Featured on New Postage Stamp

Hundreds, if not thousands, of species of birds have been featured on untold numbers of postage stamps issued by countries around the world. But this sheet of five stamps issued by Ascension Island in 2005 may, however, be the first to depict birders. Entitled The Seabirds Return, the sheet bears the logos of the RSPB and Birdlife International. The two birders are not depicted on the stamps themselves, but on the surrounding souvenir sheet. The five stamps depict Red-billed Tropicbird, White-tailed Tropicbird, Masked Booby, Brown Noddy, and White Tern.

Ascension is a British Overseas Territory located in the central South Atlantic Ocean. The stamps described above were apparently issued to celebrate the successful completion of Ascension’s seabird restoration project, which is described thusly on Ascension’s Web site:
Over the last few years a major project has been carried out to increase areas where the island’s seabirds nest. This project, funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with support from the Ascension Island Government and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, focused on the eradication of feral cats which predated [sic] on the nesting birds to a significant degree. The eradication programme has been successful and more seabird nest [sic] are being observed. A domestic cat population still exists although there are strict controls over the importation of cats to the island.

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