Europa stamps: National Birds

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18 July 2019
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A look at some of the stamps issued for the Europa 2019 theme National Birds.

Recently, I wrote in Stamp Collector that most European countries didn’t have an official national bird, says Juregn Haepers.

That’s why PostEurop suggested the following definition to give philatelic bureaux a little leaway: ‘National birds are native birds living on the territory of a country.’ But some countries do have a national bird, such as Finland and Iceland, presented in January’s column, and last month we leanred of the provincial bird of the Finnish islands of Åland.

Official national birds

So let’s have a look to other official ones. Gibraltar has the Barbary Partridge and they issued a nice set of two Europa stamps depciting this bird back in February. It’s not the first time Gibraltar has honoured the bird with a stamp issue, having issued a 2 shillings definitive stamp in 1960, a WWF stamp in 1991 and another definitive in 2010.

In 1988 the Barbary Partridge was also chosen to be depicted on the new one penny coin and if that wasn’t enough we can even see that coin depicted on a stamp the following year.

It may surpise the brid-watchers amongst us that a large country such as Norway, with plenty of birds of prey or seabirds, has chosen the white-throated dipper and you can see it feeding a chick on their Europa stamp issued in April.

Meanwhile, Finland has the Whooper swan and Denmark has the Mute swan. In 1984, it was named Denmark’s national bird, probably because of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale about the ugly duckling that turns into a beautiful swan.

A multi-country bird

Let’s close this month’s column with the white stork. If we believe Wikipedia it’s the national bird of three countries: Belarus, Ukraine and of Lithuania. The latter nation has issued two nice Europa stamps this year featuring that bird. One depicting a couple and the second a stork family with their nest.

QUICK LINK: The origins of the Europa stamp