For the last two years, we at the ABA made the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, known far and wide as the Duck Stamp, available through our own store. We hoped this would give birders an opportunity to vote, as it were, for how they want their voices to be heard as consumers of Wildlife Refuges in the US. Sales of the stamp through the ABA Shop have been steady, and we look forward to bettering it again this year.
Last year, the ABA sold more than $17,000 worth of Duck Stamps, money from birders that goes directly into the coffers of those who seek to make NWRs better places for wildlife. And we’re doing it again in 2016.
It cannot be denied that the Duck Stamp is a wonderfully effective conservation program. It also cannot be denied that many birders have been hesitant to go all-in on this conservation tool for understandable reasons. Some birders find waterfowl hunting distasteful and don’t want to feel as though they’re supporting it. But mostly, it is the concern that the numbers of non-consumptive users of National Wildlife Refuges are not tallied, and the true support of birders for habitat and bird conservation is not accurately assessed.
We use refuges, too. We are proud to support them. We want a seat at the table, too, alongside our friends in the hunting community because in the end, our common goals of habitat protection and healthy bird populations far outweigh the little that divides us.
This is not a fund-raiser for the ABA. We are not seeking to make any money doing this. What we want from this effort is an accounting of birders, not just in numbers but in dollars and cents. And we know from countless members and friends that this is what birders want, too.
Duck Stamps officially went on sale at the end of last week, and once again you can purchase at our shop. Don’t just feel like you need to stop at one, either. Duck stamps make fantastic gifts for birders, young and old. You can use them as birthday or holiday gifts or bird clubs can sell them during their monthly meetings. Consider them for end-of-year appreciation gifts for bird club field trip leaders or awards for birders who go above and beyond. The possibilities are nearly endless.
We hope that you will help us. In doing so, you will not only help the birds that use National Wildlife Refuges, but we birders who care to have a voice about them.
So purchase a Duck Stamp through the ABA. Be counted.
UPDATED TO ADD: And just to encourage purchasing your stamp through the ABA this year, every Duck Stamp purchase includes a FREE stamp holder thanks to our friends at Celestron!
Stick it on your bins! Put it on your keychain! Protect your piece of mini-art from the rigors of the field! Did I mention it’s FREE?