Australia 2001 Birds of Prey
- Issue Date: 11 September 2001
- Designed by: Peter Trusler
- Printed by: McPherson's Printing
- Print Process: Lithography
- Perforations: 14 x 14½ (49c); 14½ x 14 (98c)
- Stamp Size: 37.5 mm x 26 mm (49c); 26 mm x 37.5 mm (98c)
- Format: sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by gutter)
- Withdrawal date: 30 September 2002
This commemorative stamp issue of four stamps celebrates the centenary of Birds Australia (previously known as the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union or RAOU). Beautifully illustrated and rich in detail, Peter Trusler’s designs show the birds demonstrating characteristic behaviours. Each bird is brought to life against a background that calls to mind the bird’s habitat.
49c Wedge-tailed Eagle Stamp
The stamp features Australia’s largest raptor about to feed on its prey. With an unmistakable silhouette, broad wings, a long wedge-shaped tail and legs obscured by dark trousers, the Wedge-tailed Eagle is often observed soaring at great heights. It eats carrion as well as live prey; mainly rabbits, reptiles, young kangaroos, wallabies and possums. Although found throughout the country, the stamp shows the feeding bird against an orange-ochre background, evoking the Wedge-tailed Eagle’s more inland habitat.
49c Nankeen Kestrel Stamp
This small falcon is widespread in open country throughout Australia. Although rare in Tasmania, it is one of the most common and visible birds of prey. The Nankeen Kestrel is most often seen hovering up to 20 metres above a paddock scanning the ground for signs of prey; mostly grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, rodents, reptiles and occasionally small birds in flight. A hovering Nankeen Kestrel is shown against the intense blue of an Australian sky.
98c Red Goshawk Stamp
This stamp shows Australia’s rarest and most endangered diurnal bird of prey. The Red Goshawk is unique to Australia and inhabits the forests and savanna woodlands of northern and eastern parts of the country. It feeds mainly on large birds, including cockatoos, pigeons and kookaburras. It is thought that the Red Goshawk was always rare but its range has contracted and it has disappeared from many areas since European settlement. In the stamp the Red Goshawk feeds a chick against a dappled, fresh green background reminiscent of its tropical woodland habitat.
98c Spotted Harrier Stamp
This medium-large raptor inhabits the open plains and semi-deserts of mainland Australia. On the stamp the Spotted Harrier is shown against the mauve-grey of a storm front, suggesting the importance of rain in this inland bird’s life. The Spotted Harrier is the only wikipedia:harrier in the world to nest in trees (the others nest on the ground). The Spotted Harrier hunts in a distinct way circling slowly and systemically, close to the ground, and periodically hovering before pouncing on its prey. Its diet includes rabbits and other small mammals, small terrestrial birds, reptiles and small insects.
First Day Cover
The first day of issue postmark was Eaglehawk VIC 3556.