They are perhaps nature's most wonderful creatures perched high atop mountains or hidden deep within dense forest: the birds of Canada The celebration of these winged wonders continues with four new Birds of Canada stamps and two exquisitely designed pre-stamped envelopes. This year's issue captures the beauty of four birds: the great crested flycatcher, the Eastern Screech-owl, the gray-crowned rosy-finch and the hairy woodpecker.
The gray-crowned rosy-finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis) is perhaps one of the most elusive of Canadian birds, detectable only by its melodious warble which resembles that of a goldfinch, or by the in-flight chattering that can be heard when it moves in flocks. The plumage of this small songbird helps it to blend into the rocky surrounding which it inhabits. The gray-crowned rosy-finch can be found atop mountains well above the tree line, in grassy patches among slopes and along cliffs - in nests of dried grass, rootlets, plant down, moss and feathers constructed in crevices and under rocks. These birds are mainly ground feeders that forage for seeds of weeds and wild plants. During breeding season, they capitalize on the abundance of insects and switch to a more protein-rich diet. After mating, females lay eggs in groups of four or five, and incubate them for 12 to 14 days. Gray-crowned rosy-finch are western birds, summering in the Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta and, from late fall to early spring, dwelling in valleys and along the BC coast, as well as on the steppes of Alberta and Saskatchewan.