Royal Mail issued a set of 10 non-denominated first-class stamps featuring birds of prey on 4th April. Photos taken at the International Centre for Birds of Prey by British animal photographer Tim Flach were used to create the stamp designs. Two se-tenant strips of five with the different designs were released. The first strip shows the White-tailed Eagle, Merlin, Hobby, Buzzard, and Golden Eagle. The second strip shows the kestrel, goshawk, sparrow-hawk, red kite and peregrine falcon.
Original designs were created by the agency GBH while Royal Mail Group Ltd. designed the commemorative stamps. Each stamp measures 37mm by 35mm and has a perforation of 14.5 units. The stamps were printed by International Security Printers by lithography in sheets of 50. They are sold in panes of 25 at most outlets and the sheet stamps have traditional stamp gum. Stamps depicting Buzzard and the Hobby are also available as self-adhesive stamps in a booklet printed by gravure. Four first-class red Queen Elizabeth definitive stamps are also a part of the booklet. First-day covers; 10 postcards featuring stamp designs; and a presentation pack with all 10 stamps and information about the birds are also being offered.
The white-tailed eagle’s wings can together measure more than 90 inches in length, making it UK’s largest bird of prey. The merlin is UK’s smallest bird of prey, measuring from 9.4 inches to 11.8 inches, with a wingspan of 20.9 inches to 26.8 inches. Merlin and Hobby are falcons. The Hobby feeds on dragonflies. They migrate from Africa to the UK during spring and go back to Africa when fall begins. The buzzard was once considered to be rare but is now common. Experts believe that its population grew from 1970 to 2015 due to more protection and lesser use of pesticides. The golden eagle has golden feathers on its head and neck and is mostly found in Scotland in UK. The kestrel mostly feeds on vole but also eats other small mammals, small birds, insects and earthworms. Goshawks are aggressive and generally live in forests. It can manoeuvre themselves easily through the trees. Adults are grey and white, while younger birds are brown. Small sparrowhawks are found in gardens hunting other birds. Red kites almost became extinct in the UK in the early 20th century, but their population is growing considerably today. Peregrine falcons can dive at the speed of more than 200 mph, making it the fastest living things on earth.
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Image Courtesy: The Royal Mail