2014 First-Class Forever Stamp,Songbirds: Scarlet Tanager

# 4888 - 2014 First-Class Forever Stamp - Songbirds: Scarlet Tanager

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US #4888
2014 Scarlet Tanager – Songbirds

  • Pictures a scarlet tanager
  • One of 10 stamps picturing different species of songbird


Stamp Category: 
Commemorative
Set:  Songbirds
Value:  49¢ First Class Mail Rate (Forever)
First Day of Issue:  April 5, 2014
First Day City:  Dallas, Texas
Quantity Issued:  400,000,000
Printed by:  Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method:  Offset
Format:  Double-sided Booklets of 20
Tagging:  Nonphosphored Type III, Overall Tagged

Why the stamp was issued:  To commemorate the scarlet tanager and its unique song.

About the stamp design:  Pictures a painting of a scarlet tanager perched on a branch with white and pink flowers.  Artwork by Robert Giusti.  The stamp also includes the species’ common name.

First Day City:  In addition to the Dallas, Texas, First Day of Issue city, there was also a First Day of Sale ceremony held at the Philadelphia National Stamp Exposition in Oaks, Pennsylvania.  They offered two different pictorial postmarks: one from Oaks and one from nearby Audubon, Pennsylvania.  The pictorial cancels were designed by the American First Day Cover Society.

About the Songbirds set:  Issued to commemorate the many species of songbirds that call America home and fill the air with the sounds of their unique tunes.  Includes 10 different designs, each picturing a different species of songbird and its’ common name:  western meadowlark, mountain bluebird, western tanager, painted bunting, Baltimore oriole, evening grosbeak, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, American goldfinch, and white-throated sparrow.  In addition to the birds themselves, the stamps also picture different plants (often found in the birds’ natural habitats) acting as perches.  Designs were created from paintings by Robert Giusti.

History the stamp represents:  During the spring and summer months, there may be roughly two million scarlet tanagers nesting throughout the eastern United States.  Despite its numbers and the unmistakable bright red plumage during breeding season, birdwatchers are often hard-pressed to catch a glimpse of this songbird.

The scarlet tanager often makes its home in the uppermost branches of large, old trees in mature forests.  It forages for insects high in the canopy.  More often than not, the only indication of its presence is its song, often described as sounding like a robin with a sore throat.

The best opportunity to witness the bird in its bright red plumage is during the long-distance spring migration northward, when it will stop to feed on the ground or in lower vegetation.  The scarlet tanager may again be seen foraging during the fall migration back to northwestern South America, but it will no longer exhibit its namesake scarlet color.  The male molts in the fall to reveal yellow-green feathers, making him more difficult to identify.

The scarlet tanager is often the target of the brown-headed cowbird.  A female cowbird seen approaching will be driven off, but if she is able to sneak an egg into the nest, her hatchling will be raised by the tanager parents along with their own chicks.

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US #4888
2014 Scarlet Tanager – Songbirds

  • Pictures a scarlet tanager
  • One of 10 stamps picturing different species of songbird


Stamp Category: 
Commemorative
Set:  Songbirds
Value:  49¢ First Class Mail Rate (Forever)
First Day of Issue:  April 5, 2014
First Day City:  Dallas, Texas
Quantity Issued:  400,000,000
Printed by:  Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method:  Offset
Format:  Double-sided Booklets of 20
Tagging:  Nonphosphored Type III, Overall Tagged

Why the stamp was issued:  To commemorate the scarlet tanager and its unique song.

About the stamp design:  Pictures a painting of a scarlet tanager perched on a branch with white and pink flowers.  Artwork by Robert Giusti.  The stamp also includes the species’ common name.

First Day City:  In addition to the Dallas, Texas, First Day of Issue city, there was also a First Day of Sale ceremony held at the Philadelphia National Stamp Exposition in Oaks, Pennsylvania.  They offered two different pictorial postmarks: one from Oaks and one from nearby Audubon, Pennsylvania.  The pictorial cancels were designed by the American First Day Cover Society.

About the Songbirds set:  Issued to commemorate the many species of songbirds that call America home and fill the air with the sounds of their unique tunes.  Includes 10 different designs, each picturing a different species of songbird and its’ common name:  western meadowlark, mountain bluebird, western tanager, painted bunting, Baltimore oriole, evening grosbeak, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, American goldfinch, and white-throated sparrow.  In addition to the birds themselves, the stamps also picture different plants (often found in the birds’ natural habitats) acting as perches.  Designs were created from paintings by Robert Giusti.

History the stamp represents:  During the spring and summer months, there may be roughly two million scarlet tanagers nesting throughout the eastern United States.  Despite its numbers and the unmistakable bright red plumage during breeding season, birdwatchers are often hard-pressed to catch a glimpse of this songbird.

The scarlet tanager often makes its home in the uppermost branches of large, old trees in mature forests.  It forages for insects high in the canopy.  More often than not, the only indication of its presence is its song, often described as sounding like a robin with a sore throat.

The best opportunity to witness the bird in its bright red plumage is during the long-distance spring migration northward, when it will stop to feed on the ground or in lower vegetation.  The scarlet tanager may again be seen foraging during the fall migration back to northwestern South America, but it will no longer exhibit its namesake scarlet color.  The male molts in the fall to reveal yellow-green feathers, making him more difficult to identify.

The scarlet tanager is often the target of the brown-headed cowbird.  A female cowbird seen approaching will be driven off, but if she is able to sneak an egg into the nest, her hatchling will be raised by the tanager parents along with their own chicks.