Friday, October 26, 2012

Birds in Winter

The Isle of Man Post is pleased to present a set of six stamps feature the birds found in their islands during winter season on the 28th September 2011. The featured birds are depicts by artist Jeremy Paul, the Isle of Man artist. The issue stamps also encompassed the 2011 Europa theme forest (68p stamp) and the SEPAC theme of Scenery (58p stamp).

The Robin is a plump bird with bright orange-red breast, face, throat and cheeks edged with grey, a white belly and olive-brown upper parts. The sexes are very similar.They have a brown bill and legs.This bird is almost synonymous with winter appearing on countless Christmas cards.

The Robin's diet is principally insects and worms, which it will normally catch by swooping, that is to say, snatching its prey on the ground after watching for movement from a perch above. They will also often follow a gardener that is digging the soil over for any easy pickings

In the winter, resident birds are joined by immigrants from continental Europe, mostly from Scandinavia. The immigrants are also generally less tame because they skulk in woodlands, only British Robins are a tame garden bird.

BirdsInWinter_Set bHebridean Bird Sightings : Redwing

The Redwing (Turdus iliacus) is a bird in the thrush family Turdidae, native to Europe and Asia,This bird is a winter visitor to the islands, through their nearest breeding grounds are little closer, with small numbers breeding in Scotland. They often visit gardens, settling on the many fruit and berry trees that line our hedges and roads, feeding voraciously until the tree are stripped bare and then move on.

The Redwing (Turdus iliacus) is 20–24 cm long with a wingspan of 33–34.5 cm and a weight of 50–75 g. The sexes are similar, with plain brown backs and with dark brown spots on the white underparts. The most striking identification features are the red flanks and underwing, and the creamy white stripe above the eye. The male has a varied short song, and a whistling flight call.


The Goldfinch is a  strikingly colourful small finch with its mixture of red, white and black on the head, golden brown body and bright yellow wing bars. Sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, they have a delightful liquid twittering song and call.The bill varies from pinkish to pale grey, and the legs are flash coloured.The sexes are similar except that the male's red face extends slightly behind the eye. In winter many UK goldfinches migrate as far south as Spain.

Goldfinches feed on various tree seeds, such as alder and birch, and on thistle, teasel and dandelion seeds, which it can obtain owing to its thin bill and light weight. Niger seed and teasels may attract them in gardens, especially if there are no fields nearby with thistles and dandelions, but they will also feed on sunflower hearts.

BirdsInWinter_Set dMale Siskin in Winter

The Siskin is a small finch, about the size of a Blue Tit and with similar agility. They visit gardens when food is harder to find in their natural habitats and are especially attracted to red coloured feeders containing peanuts, seeds or fat. Siskins are seed eaters and have smaller bills than the other finches and this reflects in their diet, which is mainly cone seeds such as birch, alder, spruce and pine.

Siskins are generally yellowish-green and yellow with a dark streaked belly and striking yellow rump, wing bars and sides of the forked tail. The legs and bill are dark brown. The male has a black cap and bib and bright yellow cheeks. The female does not have a black crown or bib and is more heavily streaked.

BirdsInWinter_Set e

The waxwing is a plump bird, which is slightly smaller than a starling.This bird is true winter visitor to the Isle of Man Islands , their breeding grounds covering north-eastern Scandinavia through to west Siberia. 

The waxwing has a prominent crest. It is reddish-brown with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail. It does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor, in some years in larger numbers, called irruptions, when the population on its breeding grounds gets too big for the food available.

BirdsInWinter_Set fFile:Aegithalos caudatus.jpg
Long-tailed Tit

The Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) is a common bird found throughout Europe and Asia.This bird is one of the firm favourites of the winter scene which  described as a tiny (at only 13–15 cm in length, including its 7–9 cm tail), round-bodied tit with a short, stubby bill and a very long, narrow tail. The sexes look the same . The plumage is mainly black and white, with variable amounts of grey and pink

The Long-tailed Tit inhabits deciduous and mixed woodland with a well-developed shrub layer, favoring edge habitats. It can also be found in scrub, heathland with scattered trees, bushes and hedges, in farmland and riverine woodland, parks and gardens. (Resources and pictures are taken from IOM Bulletin News, Wikipedia, and Website “ British Garden Birds” )

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