The annual issue of Canada Post's Birds of Canada series is an eagerly-anticipated event amongst collectors across the country. The series is valued as much by general collectors for its stunning illustrations of Canada's splendid bird life as it is by thematic collectors for its meticulous portrayal of diverse species. The four domestic-rate stamps feature exquisite artwork by noted illustrator Pierre Leduc, who has captured the very essence of the Lapland longspur, the Arctic tern, the golden eagle and the rock ptarmigan.
A dense layer of feathers over the rock ptarmigan's legs, feet and toes makes it particularly suited to living under the cold, harsh conditions of its breeding grounds in Newfoundland, the Yukon, and British Columbia. The rock ptarmigan's plumage varies with each season, offering camouflage and protection from predators. When a predator is present, the brood will scatter in all directions while the male and female make noise and stage a distracting display to attract the predator's attention. This display allows the young to hide. The rock ptarmigan's nest is a simple bare scrape in the ground or moss, with a minimal lining of grass, small leaves or a few feathers.
About the Stamp
In researching which birds to include in the sixth issue of Canada Post's Birds of Canada series, consideration was given to geographic balance along with various types and classifications. Many experts in the field were consulted and ornithologist Dr. Henri Ouellet assisted in the selection of the featured four birds. Sadly, Dr. Ouellet did not live to see the completion of his work. Noted scientific illustrator and wildlife artist Pierre Leduc from Stoneham, Quebec, created the acrylic paintings used by Montreal designer Raymond Bellemare. Leduc has provided the illustrations for all six Birds of Canada issues.