How to be a Birder part 16

Hint # 16 Collect Birds on Stamps

In another life I collected stamps. I mainly specialised in Australian stamps but started a collection of birds on stamps when my interest in birds started to develop. I never went very far with this off-shoot. I always said that I would take up stamp collecting again when I retired from teaching. Two years ago a retired from teaching and now I am busier than ever. No time for philately.

At the moment it is not for me, but there are literally thousands, perhaps millions of people who collect birds on stamps. It seems that every stamp issuing country has produced at least one set of birds on stamps. Some seem to issue a set every few months. I guess that there are many thousands of birds featured on the stamps of the world. It is a collection that would never be complete, with new issues every few days somewhere or other.

This is a hobby where you could specialise, seeing the field is so broad. For example, I had intended making a collection of the stamps featuring only birds of Wallacea. This is the area south-east of Wallace’s line, including Indonesia, Papua New-Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and some of the Pacific Islands. Wallace was a nineteenth century naturalist. Many birds endemic to this faunal zone have been featured on stamps from outside this area, especially some European countries.

Wallacea is divided from Sundaland, the other hotspot found in Indonesia, by Wallace’s Line, which separates the Indo-Malayan and Australasian biogeographic realms. The line and the hotspot are both named for the 19th century English explorer and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who identified the distinctiveness of faunas on either side of the line.

Whatever format your stamp collecting interests are or become, this is an excellent way to further develop your knowledge of the wonderful creatures we share this world with, and your appreciation of their beauty will increase.

To read more hints on how to be a birder click here.

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Some links with birds on stamps:

  • Australian Bird Stamps (Sorry – this link no longer exists)

Updated November 2013.


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