Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ivory-billed Woodpecker Postage Stamps

If a country’s willingness to depict one of its most endangered animals on its postage stamps could be used as an indicator of its dedication to bird conservation, then the United States would be hanging its collective head in shame. Looking at the number of postage stamps issued worldwide that have depicted images of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, we find that:
  • Cuba has issued four stamps (1956, 1961, 1978, 1991), and the
  • United States has issued none
  • In fact, the U.S. has done a pretty poor job of using postage stamps to promote endangered species conservation. By my accounting, the U.S. Postal Service has issued just 20 stamps featuring 11 species of endangered or threatened birds in the last 49 years (and in the 37 years since enactment of the first Federal legislation to protect endangered species in 1969). The species illustrated include:
  • Bald Eagle, 5 stamps
  • Brown Pelican, 4
  • California Condor, 2
  • Whooping Crane, 2
  • Crested Honeycreeper, 1
  • Everglades Kite, 1
  • Hawaiian Goose, 1
  • Peregrine Falcon, 1
  • Piping Plover, 1
  • Seaside Sparrow, 1
  • Wood Stork, 1
  • A special issue featuring members of the Hawaiian honeycreepers of the family Drepanididae would be incredibly beautiful, and would bring much-needed public attention to the fate of these species. To date, only two of the many species in this highly endangered family of birds endemic to the Hawaiian Islands have appeared on postage stamps.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Though not issued by the U.S. Postal Service, there are some wonderful bird postage stamps available to birders that also help to support a GREAT bird conservation organization (no I do NOT work for them). These stamps ARE legal postage. The American Bird Conservancy sells postage stamps with beautiful artwork (painted, I believe, by ABC's own Gemma Radko) depicting the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the Cerulean Warbler. Put aside your skepticism to buy these beautiful stamps and support ABC at the same time. Leave the arguing to the blogs, and show how much you love birds by supporting ABC by buying these terrific stamps. Available from the ABC homepage at http://www.abcbirds.org.

    November 20, 2006 10:05 AM  

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