In 1982 the USPS outdid itself by issuing a series of 20-cent stamps, one for each state. The stamps featured the state bird and state flower from all 50 states. The northern cardinal won the popularity contest; it was honored by seven states -- Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
Wildlife eventually appeared on postage for packages and heavy letters. In 1990, a $2 bobcat stamp appeared. Two years later a 45-cent stamp depicting a pumpkinseed sunfish was issued.
In 1992, a 29-cent hummingbird series featured ruby-throated, broad-billed, Costa's, rufous and calliope hummers. In 1996 two 32-cent series highlighted prehistoric mammals (eohippus, woolly mammoth, mastodon, saber-tooth cat) and endangered species, including black-footed ferret, thick-billed parrot, American crocodile, ocelot, Florida panther, piping plover and Florida manatee.
A 33-cent deep-sea creature series featured angelfish, sea cucumber, fangtooth, amphipod and medusa in 2000, followed by a 34-cent carnivorous plants series in 2001 (Venus flytrap, yellow trumpet, cobra lily, English sundew). A 2002 series featured a 37-cent block of American bats -- red, leaf-nosed, pallid, spotted bats.
And in 2003 a colorful 37-cent series focused on reptiles and amphibians, including scarlet king snake, blue-spotted salamander, reticulate collared lizard, ornate chorus frog and ornate box turtle.
The USPS has chronicled the history of wildlife conservation by making it collectable. And I haven't even mentioned the arctic animals from 1999 or the 1999 20-stamp pane of insects and spiders. Do yourself and your children a favor; start a wildlife stamp collection with the Birds of Prey later this month.
Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, RD 5, Cameron, WV 26033 or via my website, http://scottshalaway.googlepages.com.