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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Duck stamp -- read this one first

This information was supposed to precede the earlier post about the plans for spending the addional money to be raised by the price increase for the duck stamp. Now it should make more sense.

A pair of Ruddy Ducks are the birds of choice for the 2015-16 federal duck stamp. It goes on sale this week at most U.S. Post Offices and some sporting-goods store. You will notice in the upper left corner of the stamp the new price — $25, up from $15. This is an increase long needed, as the cost of the land purchased and leased with this money has increased much since the $15 price was established. The stamp remains the best conservation investment you can make. Every birder, everyone who enjoys or appreciates birds should buy this stamp. Much of the land in our national wildlife refuges has been purchased with duck stamp dollars. The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, its official name, indeed supports waterfowl hunting. Many, many more species of non-game birds use this habitat, however. Don’t let the hunting designation throw you off. This is first and foremost a conservation stamp. Visit any of our over 500 national wildlife refuges, and count both game and non-game species seen, even in fall migration — no comparison. There’s a movement underway to get a non-game bird included on future stamps, perhaps a heron flying across the water in the distance. It is hoped that such an inclusion would emphasize the broader impact of stamp dollars. 

Extra duck-stamp cost is for wetlands and grasslands

It should be noted that when you buy your 2015-16 duck stamp. the extra $10 — cost is now $25, up from $15 — will by law be spent on wetland and grassland easements in the National Wildlife Refuge system. These are habitat types fast being lost to corn and soy beans. We really need this effort at saving some of that land. The cost of the stamp is always well spent on wildlife habitat. The stamp’s price increase is necessary and appropriate, and will be well spent. I bought my stamp today at the Wayzata post office. A post office near you has yours. 

The illustration below shows the form on which you receive your stamp. It now is a peel-and-stick stamp, like current postage stamps. You can see where my stamp was before I stuck it on the cover of my first Sibley guide, home to all of my stamps since that book was published. 

I also mentioned on a stamp post a few days ago that there is conversation about adding a non-game bird to the stamp, a tiny in-the-distance non-game bird, a symbol for those of us who do not hunt. On the reverse of the stamp form shown here is an illustration of a non-game bird, this rail (below). It’s not on the stamp, but it’s in the neighborhood. 





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