U.S. Postal Service offering option for bird enthusiasts

The U.S. Postal Service is now offering a purple martin stamped envelope and a "Birds of Prey" stamp collection.
           

The purple martin envelopes are being issued as Forever® stamped envelopes – meaning the value of the postage is always equal to the value of the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate. They feature beautiful purple martins in flight and perching on a branch in full color.
           

Purple martins are unique birds that arrive in Oklahoma every spring after migrating from South America. You can attract them to your yard, and now is the time to prepare for their arrival.
           

According to Mark Howery, wildlife diversity biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, purple martins readily take to nesting in manmade structures and do so almost exclusively.
           

Place a purple martin house on a fence or pole that can be easily accessed for proper maintenance.
           

"Regular inspection and maintenance of purple martin houses is important to keep unwanted, non-native species such as house sparrows and European starlings out of the nesting compartments where they may compete with or harass martins," Howery said. "Repeated removal of their nests is usually the best method to discourage these species."
           

The "Birds of Prey" stamp collection features the northern goshawk, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, osprey and northern harrier. The self-adhesive falcon stamps are sold in sheets of 20 for $17 per sheet. Each stamp features a full-colored bird of prey against a white background. All five of the featured birds are found in Oklahoma. Birds of prey live in diverse habitats; however, an osprey or golden eagle will typically be near one of Oklahoma's large bodies of water.
           

Both stamp illustrations can be ordered online at usps.com or by phone at (800) 782-6724. Visit beyondtheperf.com to view the illustrations. For more information on birds in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

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