U.S. # 4993
2015 35¢ Roseate Spoonbill
At the end of the 19th century, colorful bird feathers were prized for use on ladies’ hats and fans. This fashion trend caused the roseate spoonbill to almost disappear from Florida’s waters. By the 1930s, there were only about 40 breeding pairs scattered across the Florida Keys. But protective legislation helped this wading bird begin to recover.
It was the roseate spoonbill’s striking pink feathers that were so desired. A chemical found in the shellfish it eats affects the intensity of the shade of pink. The spoonbill catches its prey by swinging its beak back and forth in the water until it senses food. It then snaps its beak shut and swallows the contents.
As a wading bird, the roseate spoonbill is dependent on ideal water conditions for feeding and raising its young. Its habitat has been affected by the development and draining of the Everglades that supply fresh water to Florida Bay. Just as the bird was beginning to recover from the devastation of the 1930s, changes in water levels and fish populations have caused the spoonbill to struggle once again.
Bird expert Roger Tory Peterson once called the roseate spoonbill “one of the most breathtaking of the world’s weirdest birds.” With increased protection of its home, generations to come will be able to share in Peterson’s awe of this bird.
The 2015 Coastal Birds stamps feature stylized illustrations by Tyler Lang and were designed by Greg Breeding.
Value: 35¢ Postcard Rate
Issued: June 1, 2015
First Day City: Kansas City, MO
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America/Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset with microprinting in sheets of 200 with 10 panes of 20 per sheet
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11 ¼ x 11
Quantity Printed: 50,000,000 stamps
The 2015 Coastal Birds were the first postcard rate issues to be released as Forever stamps (with “Postcard” replacing the denomination, so it’s clear what the stamps are to be used for.