We are delighted to have worked alongside Luke Stephenson, a well-established photographer who has dedicated years to picturing and studying these many and varied species around Britain to issue this six stamp collection. Luke has exhibited and published his photographs widely, most notably at The Photographer’s Gallery, London and has published a book, An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds, from which the stamp images have been informed.
The insightful issue text has been written by Luke Stephenson along with local expert Roy Howarth, who has provided background information about the selection of species for the stamps and discusses the history of bird keeping on our Island.
The Fife Canary: One of the most popular show birds. The wild canary, a species of the Serin finch genus, was found only on the islands off the west coast of Africa: the Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores and Cape Verde Islands.
Gouldian Finch: Also referred to as the rainbow finch and named by British ornithological artist John Gould in 1844 as Amadina Gouldiae, in honour of his deceased wife Elizabeth. In the wild it inhabits grassy open woodlands across the north east of Western Australia, the Top End of Northern Territory, and parts of northern Queensland.
Budgerigar: The budgerigar is probably the most popular domestic show bird. Most commonly green and yellow this small parrot of the genus Melopsittacus is native to inland Australia where they are largely nomadic and move according to food and water availability, sometimes seen in huge numbers in suitable conditions.
Redpoll Hybrid: The redpolls are a group of small passerine birds in the finch family Fringillidae. Our specimen is the result of cross breeding with a bullfinch, an area of great interest to fanciers.
Paradise Tanager: Native to the Amazonian lowlands and much of continent, the Tangara Chilensis songbird is found in the canopy of humid forests, often in mixed-species flocks. Despite its exotic appearance it is evaluated as ‘least concern’ on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
Diamond Sparrow: Also known as a Firetail due to its distinctive shards of red upon its beak, eyes and rump. Stagonopleura guttata is an estrildid finch that is common to Australia and is found from the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia right through to the south-east of Queensland.