In 2013, the smallest swallow in North America will perch on a new stamped envelope from the U.S. Postal Service.
A familiar summer bird, the bank swallow (Riparia riparia) is the smallest swallow in North America. Like all swallows, bank swallows are agile songbirds that specialize in catching insects in midair. They dig nesting burrows in riverbanks, gravel pits, and even highway cuts. Both males and females help dig the tunnel, first pecking out a shallow hole with their beaks, and then using their feet to kick out the dirt. If you come across a sandbank riddled with holes, especially one near a river or lake, it’s likely to be home to a colony of bank swallows, which can have anywhere from ten to nearly 2,000 nests.
The Bank Swallow Stamped Envelope is being issued as a Forever® stamped envelope. Its postage will always be equal to the value of the First-Class Mail one-ounce rate in effect at the time of use, even if the rate increases after purchase. A release date has not yet been set.