Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Get Your Duck Stamp On!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The ad above is a public service announcement aimed at encouraging more bird watchers to purchase Federal Duck Stamps. A bunch of conservation-minded bird watchers are behind this campaign and I think it's a great idea.

Duck stamp karma must be floating around the cosmos today.
Just this morning I went to the Whipple Post Office today and picked up two duck stamps. It cost me $30—they are $15 each.

There are three reasons why I buy a duck stamp annually:

1. I want to support the hugely successful land acquisition program that duck stamp sales make possible. Dozens of my favorite, regular birding areas were purchased entirely or in part with money from duck stamp sales. Added bonus: having a current duck stamp gets you in free to federal sites such as National Wildlife Refuges, that charge an entry fee.

2. The stamps look cool on my binoculars and are a conversation starter with my fellow birders ("Hey BT3, what's that on your binocs?"). This gives me a chance to talk about the stamps and habitat acquisition. We bird watchers need to do our part to support conservation, and there's no better way to do that than by purchasing land.
Last year's stamp on my binocs. The new one goes on tonight.

3. I no longer have to take any you-know-what from hunters who say they pay for everything with their hunting licenses, taxes on gear, ammo, etc. One hunting friend of mine was particularly obnoxious about this, claiming that birders get a free ride with hunters and sportsmen/women footing the bill. Now I simply hold up my binocs, point to the duck stamp affixed there, and smile.

Go get your duck stamp today. You can order them online or purchase one at your local U.S. post office. To learn more about the Federal Duck Stamp Program, go here.

Below I've uploaded the other PSAs created by the group of birder/conservationists and designed by Jay Gundel & Associates. Images for these ads were donated by photographer Kim Steininger.

Please feel free to grab these images off my blog and place/publish/post them wherever you think they might do some good.

My thanks to Bill Stewart of the Delmarva Ornithological Society and to Paul Baicich and their team for getting this series of PSAs out there for the rest of us to use to promote duck stamp sales to birders.


On July 14, 2009 at 1:06 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

Great post, great little ads. I'll peel the pintail off and put the oldsquaw on tonight. Thanks for this PSA. I've rarely seen the hunter/birder conflict so clearly expressed, with such a simple solution.

On July 14, 2009 at 1:22 PM Nate said...

I understand the ideal behind birders purchasing duck stamps, but I still have trouble purchasing something that goes to acquire only specific habitats that directly affect hunters and specific group of birds that they can shoot at, when there are lots other crucial conservation issues that hunters are completely invisible on because they don't have a shooting interest.

Individual birders mileage may vary, of course, but I'll start buying Duck Stamps when hunters start donating money to the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society. When do they help us out working to protect Jack Pines for Kirtland's Warblers or Gulf Coast forests for migrating neotrops, etc.?

At least here in NC, most of the best birding areas are closed off for non-hunters during waterfowl season. At very least, they could voluntarily remove themselves occasionally from the NWRs during hunting season so I could actually go see some of those birds I would be protecting without fear of being yelled at for interfering with a hunt or worse.

On July 14, 2009 at 3:29 PM janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
On July 14, 2009 at 3:32 PM janet said...

With a $5 per vehicle entrance fee at national wildlife refuges, the $15 duck stamp pays for itself in just 3 visits. Well worth it.

On July 14, 2009 at 3:43 PM Bill of the Birds said...

I understand your dilemma. I guess I'm willing to accept the situation because of the collateral benefits we birders get from all that habitat. Where there's land purchased to enhance waterfowl hunting opportunities, non-game birds and wildlife benefit, too. That's why the official name of the stamp is actually The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

Thanks for your comment!

On July 14, 2009 at 4:29 PM Nate said...

@Bill- Fair enough, and I don't know that I'd go as far as some and advocate not getting a duck stamp or anything, I just wish there was a better way to 1) effectively quantify the monetary impact birders specifically have on conservation programs (cause I get bet would be substantial) and 2)transfer the success of the duck stamp's focus on wetlands to other habitats in need of help too.

On July 14, 2009 at 6:55 PM Erik said...

I buy two every year. One goes on the binoculars and the other gets put away as a collectible. I got mine about a week and half ago and had someone ask about it this past weekend.

I heard Ohio is coming out with a conservation specific stamp next year. That will look good on the other side of the binoculars.

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On July 17, 2009 at 2:45 PM cogoshawk said...

Thanks for the great reminder-I had recently read this same suggestion in a book or article by Scott Weidensaul.

Nate-- I know a fair number of hunters and l feel I have some understanding of the problems many birders see with hunter perspectives on land use and conservation (don't get me started on ATVs!). In purchasing the "Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp" we can start to build common ground and get collateral benefit.

As regards closing of NWRs--it is an issue but we can use those areas outside of waterfowl season, which is most of the year, and there is a lot of activity in those non-hunting times.

Here in CO more and more the interests of the hunting, birding, and land and habitat conservation communities are converging in the face of land development for oil and gas exploration and urbanization. Let's keep trying to build those bridges!

On July 20, 2009 at 11:39 AM Ruth said...

Great post. thanks for spreading the word about this - as I wasn't aware of it. Off to order my stamp now!