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Canvasback Will Appear on the 2014-15 Stamp

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted the Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition at Maumee Bay State Park Conference Center in Oregon, Ohio, on September 27-28. This art contest is the only legislatively mandated federal art competition in the country. Thousands of wildlife artists have entered the contest since the first open competition in 1949. A panel of art, waterfowl, and philatelic authorities usually judges the artwork and selects the image to be used for the next stamp.

Adam Grimm, of Burbank, South Dakota, won the art competition in Ohio, when his oil painting of a pair of Canvasbacks was judged the best of 201 entries. Eligible species for the contest this year included Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, and Canvasback. Canvasback appeared on 48 of the 201 art submissions, or about a quarter of the pieces. The species has appeared four times on the stamp, most recently in 1993.

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) is an elegant and distinctive duck, as the artwork shows. Its sloping head profile is distinctive. Canvasback numbers in North America have fluctuated widely over the decades, often due to changing water levels on the breeding grounds. The Canvasback population is currently rebounding, from a difficult period of low numbers (early 1980s to the mid-1990s).

With his Canvasback artwork for the 2014-2015 stamp, Adam Grimm has now become a two-time winner of the contest. His impressive painting of a Mottled Duck appeared on the 2000-2001 stamp. The breadth of Adam Grimm's artwork can be viewed in this showcase.

The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – commonly called the Federal Duck Stamp and increasingly called the Migratory Bird Stamp – raises about $25 million annually. Proceeds from the sale of the stamp are used to buy or lease wetlands and associated upland habitats for inclusion in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Waterfowl hunters, bird watchers and other outdoor recreationists, art and stamp collectors, and many other people who wish to invest in wetland and grassland conservation buy these stamps.


The 2013-2014 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation [Duck] Stamp

Starting on 29 June, you will be able to buy -­ and display – your 2013-2014 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, popularly called the “Duck Stamp.” The 2013-2014 Stamp shows a lovely male Common Goldeneye painted by Robert Steiner, an artist from San Francisco, California. Steiner's art previously appeared on the 1998-1999 Federal Duck Stamp. Curiously, that image was of a closely-related species, a Barrow's Goldeneye. That 1998-1999 stamp sold 1,627,521 copies, and it produced $24,412,815 of revenue to build the Refuge System.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, which sells for $15 and raises about $25 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland and grassland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge system for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people.

Since the 1930s, Stamps have contributed over $850 million and have helped to protect 5.5 million acres of habitat for wildlife and future generations. The Stamp itself functions as a federal license to hunt waterfowl for anyone over the age of 16. It's also important to remember that anyone who possesses a valid stamp is allowed free entry to any National Wildlife Refuge that may charge for entry.

Buying the stamp is perhaps the single simplest thing individuals can do to support a legacy of wetland and grassland conservation for birds. Almost all the stamp proceeds go to help secure valuable Refuge System habitats. The stamp, of course, is not something that will benefit only ducks. Many other bird species – from shorebirds to songbirds – are dependent on habitat secured through stamp purchases. The same could be said about the benefits to other wildlife – not only birds – and water quality.

This is a major refuge-building and conservation stamp!


Support a Campaign for the Stamp


There are many ways to help support the growth and appreciation of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation [Duck] Stamp. The print public service announcement (PSA) for the Stamp shown here is just one way. There are many others we recommend for your consideration. 

Join our Friends Group and support its work.

Participate in the related Stamp-support Listserv to discuss sales, promotion, and appreciation of the Stamp.

Don't just buy the Stamp, display it. Get a stamp in a plastic holder for your personal use, or purchase blank holders in bulk for your organization, club, or group.

See the many materials that are available to help support the Stamp, including posters, the PSAs and a listing of the "top ten reasons" to buy the Stamp.

Follow our links for related information and activities to support the Stamp.

Let us know what you think and how we can all do better to advance the cause of the Stamp.

Let us know if you want a speaker at your event, convention, conference, to speak on the importance of the Stamp.


Your Duck Stamp Dollars at Work

The image at left shows a Stamp-associated sign – "Your Duck Stamp Dollars At Work" – at an emergent marsh at the Pondicherry Division of the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildife Refuge in Jefferson, New Hampshire. (You can see Cherry Mountain in the background, part of the White Mountain National Forest.)  Almost 30 percent of the Pondicherry Division has been acquired through Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF) dollars. The MBCF is where Stamp dollars are held prior to investment.

You can access an invaluable listing of every National Wildlife Refuge that has received funding through Stamp dollars here (updated as of 30 September 2012). This involves 252 refuges in the lower 48 states.

Another way to look at the data is via the following interactive map of refuges across the country, prepared by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The map is color-coded according to the percentage of land in each that was acquired with Duck Stamp/MBCF money.





Black-necked Stilt


Everyone with a love for nature and the outdoors should know that the purchase of a Stamp is not something that will just benefit ducks. Numerous kinds of shorebirds, long-legged waders and wetland and grassland song birds are dependent on habitat derived from Stamp purchases. Black-necked Stilt is just one of the non-waterfowl species that benefits from Stamp investment.

This graceful bird is often conspicuous in shallow freshwater and brackish ponds, open marshes, and flooded fields. With long legs, it strides along muddy shores or wades out in open waters. When in flight, the Black-necked Stilt will hold its bill straight out while its legs will dangle behind. Its nest is built along the shore or on little islands, often by a clump of reeds, grasses, or other vegetation. A nest may start low, but a rise in water brings more construction, resulting in a higher, yet well-built, floating platform.

Black-necked Stilts breed on much of our Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coast wetlands and in scattered locations in the interior West. They winter from the coast of southern Oregon, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida south.

Refuges and WPAs can be crucial for families of Black-necked Stilts, especially when one considers the condition of ephemeral wetlands  Such ephemeral wetlands are not necessarily well protected – or even well understood or identified – under current regulations. These wetlands are usually small, often under two acres.They are often liable to be converted to other uses, including being drained for agricultural purposes. Inclusion of such wetlands in the Refuge System preserves them for many species, including Black-necked Stilt.