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Petiton for Wildlife

The Federal Duck Stamp is, without doubt, one of the most effective conservation initiatives in the history of the United States, or any nation for that matter. We at the ABA have gone on record as being a strong supporter of birder purchased Duck Stamps to make a statement for habitat conservation.

But if the Duck Stamp has a drawback, it’s in the fact that birder contributions are effectively masked as the US Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t track purchaser intent. Our money, then, is thrown in the pool with everyone else – including those who are legally required to purchase the stamp – and as such it’s difficult, if not impossible, to really gauge our collective influence and mobilize for our own legitimate interests, which occasionally conflict with those of our sportsman friends.

There are those in the birding community who have longed for a stamp of our own, one which not only finally puts a number on birder engagement in conservation issues but which offers a separate and collaborative stream of funds for research and management of non-game wildlife. Corey Finger, ABA member and blogmeister of 10,000 Birds has drafted a petition currently raking in signatures at suggesting just that. If the birding community can attach 25,000 signatures to it, we’ll get an official response from the Obama Administration.


Corey petition


It’s important to note two things here.

First, this is in no way intended to be a replacement for, or competition with, the Duck Stamp program. The ABA fully supports the federal Duck Stamp and will continue to encourage birders to contribute to this incredible long-standing and productive initiative that has effectively built the National Wildlife Refuge system that so many of us enjoy.

Second, this is admittedly a non-binding petition intended as a show of support for birder-initiated conservation programs.  Yes, a reponse from the Obama Administration would be nice if for no other reason than it shows that we birders can be a force for conservation and bird-welfare interests, but more than that, birders should sign this because we want to show that we are an interest group to which policy makers should be listening.  It can’t hurt to have as many ways as possible to make that plain.

So please consider signing the petition.  Many of us at the ABA have done so and we fully support the action taken here.


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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Rick Lesquier

    I am a birder and a waterfowl hunter. I buy the stamp because I have too but I also keep every one even though they have my name written across the stamp as is required. Hunters do more than any other conservation group to preserve habitat. We as Waterfowler along with organizations like Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl are the reason there are so many ducks around. DU has preserved Tens of thousands of acres of crucial pot hole breeding grounds in the Dakotas and Canada. They have worked with land owners to preserve ponds and develop resting more resting ponds for migrating birds. This benefits all types of birds not just Waterfowl. Check out their websites for yourself and see what they have done. Sportsman are conservationists! It were not for the sportsman you would not have the numbers of birds to watch that you do today.

    Good Birding


  • Speaking for myself, I would be surprised if there was a birder out there who wasn’t immensely grateful for the acts of sportsmen through the Duck Stamp and other conservation minded initiatives. I certainly am.

    But I like the idea of this Wildlife Stamp (and note this is full-well understanding that this is an idea that may not see the light of day) because I believe that the birding community is mature enough to support something like this. There is a perception, not entirely unjustified, that birders are essentially freeloaders on these public lands, and wouldn’t be able to use them to pursue our hobby but for the largess of sportsmen and their interest groups.

    Granted, sportsmen have done a great deal, for which we are all thankful, but I, for one, would like to break this stereotype. I think the birding community desperately needs for this stereotype to be broken and to be perceived as equals in the conservation arena.

    I would like to see sportsmen and birders standing together as the twin towers of conservation in this country, each with our own set of legitimate separate interests, but unified in the need for habitat acquisition and access.

  • There are a number of birders who do not wish to be associated with hunters. I sure they appreciate the contributions of hunters. But they will not buy Duck Stamps.

    I buy Duck Stamps and proudly display them when birding.

  • Alishia S Mason

    I love birds.. I love to see them, leave out bird feeders, and take pictures when I can “catch” them. Although, I do not feel hunters are the problem for the birds… The problem is the pollution and the environment. Have you seen, “the Plastic Ocean”?? I actually cried a bit, when I saw several birds that were found with their stomachs open and plastic coming out! I support birds, and their environment!

  • Well said, Nate. Another perspective on why a Wildlife Conservation Stamp is a great idea was written by Larry Jordan on The Birder’s Report.

  • Jody Enck

    I am all for bird and habitat conservation, and yes, I buy a federal waterfowl conservation stamp. I believe conservation is more important than who gets credit for buying the stamps. My main concern is that we do not need new conservation stamps, and thus stimulate Congress to fight over how the multiple (but each individually smaller) pots of money will be spent. Just my two-cents-worth.

  • I understand where you’re coming from, but from my perspective I believe that it’s not so petty as you make it out. Who gets credit informs decisions on the management or the property and may well improve access for birders, photographers, hikers, etc. It’s about making sure our voice is heard when decisions are made and proving that the birding community is willing to step for conservation.

    Like it or not, there’s a sense, especially in the hunting community, that birders are “freeloaders” and able to access NWR land due solely to the largess of the hunting community. And unless we are able to have a visible means of proving otherwise, nothing is going to change.

    Speaking only for myself and not at all for the ABA, I would like to be able to work with the hunting community as equals. We can be thankful for the contributions of that community without having to be deferential to it, which is so often that case.

    And as to the Congress comment, I think the point of this is that, like the Duck Stamp funds, this money would continue to be independent of congressional allocations and gamesmanship.

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