Published on May 11th, 2018 | by Sarah Jubb
These Owl Stamps Are A Hoot
Royal Mail are celebrating the beauty of British owls with the release of the special stamp owl issue. A series of 10 stamps that feature a variety of species both as adults and juveniles, these stamps are perfect for any avid ornithologist.
Owls have been a constant source of fascination for people over the ages, generating a mythology that is often unique to each country. In Greece for example, owls were revered as the symbol of the Goddess of Wisdom, Athene. In the United Kingdom, the barn owl was unfortunately associated as a symbol of death due to being a bird of the night.
But no matter what the mythology or folklore surrounding them, they are fascinating birds of prey that have evolved to be the perfect airborne predators. With over 200 species of owls in the world, there is a wide range of differences from a tiny pygmy owl to the hugely imposing eagle owl.
The new stamp series from Royal Mail has been created to celebrate British owls, with five species being chosen that are common to the UK. Royal Mail has rarely released stamps that feature owls, making these unique and hugely collectible for any stamp enthusiast or ornithologist!
Showcasing British Owls
When asked to think about an owl, it’s likely that someone in the UK will immediately think of the hauntingly beautiful Barn Owls. These owls are also known as ‘white owls’ and ‘screech owls’ since they screech and hiss.
Operating mainly at night, Barn Owls have evolved to have extremely sensitive hearing that when combined with the exceptional ability to see movement even with little light makes them extraordinary nocturnal predators. It can be found all over the UK and is most common over open country, often nesting inside farm buildings.
The Little Owl is, as its name suggests, a small owl that sports yellow eyes and a fiercely frowning expression. It is not actually native to the UK but was instead introduced in the 19th century and is common across Southern Britain. They can often be seen during the day and hunt mostly insects. Little Owls are the national bird of Greece, being associated with Athene.
We often associate owls with hooting and if you hear this, then it is likely to be the Tawny Owl. It is the UK’s most common owl but being nocturnal, is rarely seen. They are the largest of the owl species found in the UK and they often will hunt other owls due to being such a powerful predator.
One of the most widely distributed birds not only in the UK but in the world, is the Short-eared Owl. This owl can be found on every continent except Antarctica and they travel great distances with ease. They are commonly found in the north and west in Britain, though in winter will become more numerous across the country.
The final owl species featured in Royal Mail’s stamp release is the Long-eared Owl, named non-surprisingly after their large ear tufts. It can be found in the UK in upland pine forests, but they are more common in Ireland due to the Tawny Owl being absent here. These owls mainly hunt small rodents and will disperse across the country in winter.
Celebrate The Swooper Stars
We have a range of Owl stamps available for purchase here on the Post Office Shop, including the Presentation Pack that showcases all 10 stamps alongside an interesting facts sheet that explores the biology of owls along with going into detail for each owl species including where you can find them.
Alongside this, we also have the Owl Stamp Cards available for purchase for any avid collector. This range celebrating the wonderful owls of Britain is perfect for any collector, whether new or old so why not purchase them now?