Put your money on the Trumpeter Swan when it comes to choice of artwork for the 2015-16 federal duck stamp, aka Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. Bird species eligible for the competition are Mallard, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, and the swan. Illustrations of all 157 entries can be seen at https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/albums/72157657951570779/page2/
Judging will be done Sept. 18 & 19 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W. Va.
Many artists chose the swan as subject, producing some beautiful work. This graceful bird seems to lend itself to the task. There is good representation for all five species, including a spectacular Blue-winged Teal in the second set of photos. The swan has to be the favorite, however, once you go through all of the submissions.
Waterfowl hunters must have the stamp as part of their licensing need. You don’t have to have one to watch birds, but in good conscience you should make the purchase. The money raised is used to buy and lease land for national wildlife refuges and waterfowl management areas. Both provide essential habitat for hundreds of bird species that are not hunted, except by you and me with binoculars.