Sunday, October 25, 2009

Duck Stamp!

This beautiful painting of an American Wigeon graces the brand new, 2010-11 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, less formally and more commonly known as the "Duck Stamp".

The wigeon was painted by Robert Bealle of Waldorf, Maryland, and he beat out a formidable pool of talent to win. Having one's work chosen to grace the stamp is one of the highest honors a wildlife artist can claim.

I was glad to see a wigeon, or "baldpate" in hunter slang-speak, win. It isn't the first time wigeon have appeared on the duck stamp; the 1942-43 and 1984-85 stamps featured them. But this is a great duck, and it's good to see them in the limelight once again.

Duck stamps are available at many post offices, or even more easily, RIGHT HERE!

Buy one, if you like protecting the environment and want to help. Few if any programs are more effective than duck stamps for the protection of habitat. Ninety-eight cents of EVERY dollar raised goes back on the ground in the form of wetlands and other habitat. If you know of any program with a better ratio than that, I'd like to hear about it.

Since its inception in 1934, the stamp has raised over $750 million, which has resulted in the protection of over 5.3 million acres. That includes Ohio's own Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge - over 90% of it was acquired with stamp funds.

Hunters of waterfowl must buy a duck stamp, but increasing numbers of conservation-minded folks that don't hunt are buying them, especially birders.

Every now and again, I'll hear someone grousing about the stamp, and that it is just a tool to promote and support hunting. I always want to tell these people to take some basic lessons on ecology.

Anytime large blocks of land are protected, no matter the source of funds or the motivation, lots of plants and animals benefit. Not just ducks. I've seen a HUGE number of non-fowl birds on stamp-funded lands, and I bet you have, too. Not only that, but I've found some spectacularly rare plants on duck stamp-purchased turf, and seen more cool insects, mammals, and other flora and fauna than I could begin to recite.

Buy a stamp. Not only will you be doing nature a favor, you'll also get one heck of a piece of art.


Dave Lewis said...

Not only do I own one of the license plates below, me and the Doodles both have Duck Stamps! We even have the Junior Duck Stamps.
Every birder should have one.

Anonymous said...

“Grousing”? (nice play) Hopefully you stamped out those attitudes. Seriously, we may find hunting for sport distasteful, but sometimes you have to give the people what they want (not shopping malls). And you’re never going to turn everyone into petal-sniffing vole-groping naturalists. I try to just be glad that folks still want to be in wilderness.

As usual, I’m glad I read this post. I’d ignored these stamps in the past, though I call myself a conservationist. Sometimes I need things stuck in my face;`)


KatDoc said...

Why isn't it easier to buy a Duck Stamp? I got one two years ago, from BSBO, in a nifty plastic case, but when I tried to buy one last year, it was the wrong season. I never know when they go on sale and where to get one. If it were easier to find and buy the darned things, maybe more birders and nature lovers would do it.

Duck Stamps should be available wherever you can buy bird seed, field guides, binoculars, and every other piece of equipment we birder think we can't live without. With big signs saying "Support Conservation - Buy Your Duck Stamp Here Today."

Swamp Thing said...

Great post. The Federal Waterfowl Stamp program is indeed an important and effective program.

It is a Federal tax stamp, so imagine this scenario: when polled (2008) on whether the cost of the stamp should be increased up to 100%, over 90% of waterfowl hunters approved of the increase, many believing that it was "long overdue."

What other American demographic openly agrees that "hey, we are not paying enough Federal taxes for the resource we are using!" ?

I think back to the Sierra Club and Patagonia in 2003(?) who successfully lobbied against having the Pittman-Robinson Act (hunting supplies tax for National Wildlife Refuge improvements) extended to birding supplies. A definitive, "NO...we don't have to pay."