Experience Nature - Forest & Heathland Birds
In 2020, for the third series, PostNL will once again issue four stamp sheets containing forty stamps in total. The stamps contain species of birds that are having a particularly difficult time. Most of them are on the Dutch Red List of breeding birds in the Netherlands or on the Dutch Red List of migratory birds/winter visitors in the Netherlands. All of the photos on the stamps originate from Buiten-Beeld, the Dutch nature photography image bank.
Around ten percent of our country is covered in forest. This makes the Netherlands one of the least-densely wooded countries in Europe. We’re not exactly blessed with an abundance of heathland either. At the beginning of the 19th century, 20 percent (600,000 hectares) of our country was heathland. Now, only 40,000 hectares are left. Forests and heathland are naturally home to a wealth of insect life. And those insects and their larvae are a rich source of food for numerous species of birds. In the woods, birds also benefit from the seeds and nuts that the trees provide. Various species of woodland bird, such as the woodpecker, willow tit and common redstart, nest in holes. They either create their own holes or find natural or abandoned nesting holes in trees. But there are also birds that make their nests in low vegetation or high up in trees, like the raven and the golden oriole, which weaves its nest high in the fork of a tree. Many songbirds that are often found in parks and gardens or on estates can find everything they need in wooded areas. In their turn, small birds and mammals that live in the forest become food for birds of prey and owls. Heaths attract numerous characteristic insects that are food for distinctive birds such as the nightjar, tree pipit, stonechat and northern wheatear. Due to the deterioration of the quality of heathland and the significant decrease in the number of insects, many heathland bird species are now either at risk or they have disappeared altogether. Take the black grouse, for example, which is on the verge of extinction in the Netherlands. The wheatear has virtually vanished from the heaths but can still be found in the dunes. The great grey shrike no longer lives on our country’s heathlands, but it is still a winter guest.
The following forest and heathland birds are featured on the stamps (from left to right): raven, coal tit, brambling, great spotted woodpecker, common redstart, spotted flycatcher, great grey shrike, black grouse, wryneck and willow tit. Translucent images of six forest and heathland birds have been incorporated into a separate graphic layer on the stamp sheet: the black grouse, great grey shrike, raven, golden oriole, common redstart and wryneck. Most of the birds on the stamps are on the Dutch Red List of breeding birds or migratory birds/winter visitors in the Netherlands. The Dutch Red List of breeding birds includes 87 bird species, or 44 percent of all species that breed in the Netherlands. The number of bird species in the danger zone increased by nine compared to the previous list from 2004. Ten species are seriously endangered, such as the short-eared owl and the little bittern.