Nov 27 2015
Today, on Black Friday the biggest shopping day of the year, buy some habitat for the birds.
In Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s November eNewsletter I learned the back story about duck stamps. They aren’t just for hunters and stamp collectors. They’re for us birders, too.
One hundred years ago ducks were on their way to extinction in North America because of over-hunting and habitat loss. New hunting laws stopped the slaughter but the birds still needed habitat so Ding Darling, chief of the U.S. Biological Survey, pushed for the Duck Stamp Act that requires waterfowl hunters to purchase and carry a duck stamp with their general game hunting license. Stamp-generated funds buy National Wildlife Refuge land. Click here to read how ducks were saved by a stamp!
Cornell Lab gives us birders 8 great reasons to buy a duck stamp: (I’ve paraphrased below.)
- It’s saving a lot of habitat. Since 1934, over 6.5 million acres of wetland and grassland habitat have been saved as National Wildlife Refuges.
- It’s beautiful, collectible wildlife art.
- It’s a great use of funds. 98 cents of every dollar goes directly to land acquisition (and immediate related expenses) for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- It’s more than just ducks. Refuge wetland habitat benefits shorebirds, herons, raptors, songbirds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies, native plants, and more.
- It’s grasslands, too. NWR refuges also protect grasslands for declining prairie-nesting birds: bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, clay-colored sparrows, sedge wrens …
- A wildlife refuge where you go birding has benefited. Check the map here (scroll down).
- The annual stamp is your free pass to refuges that charge admission.
- Show that bird watchers care, too. We know that birds need habitat. Let’s lend the birds a hand.
Buy a stamp for the birds!
(image of the 2015 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp from the U.S. Postal Service, linked from allaboutbirds.org. Click on the image to see the original and read about 8 Great Reasons to buy one.)