We as birders have an opportunity to help set aside prime habitat for birds by purchasing a Migratory Bird Stamp each year. Fully 98% of this purchase goes directly to buying wetlands, grasslands and other key habitats for our birds, expanding the National Wildlife Refuge System.
I am amazed at the opportunity this gives us if we can just educate birders about what this means and what we, as birders with our huge numbers, can do for setting aside prime habitat. If we all bought a stamp in one year we would raise more than has been purchased in 80 years!!! It is a force!
As we show our support we will be able to include images of other migratory birds on these stamps. Presently waterfowl are depicted. This can become quite the program if we can get the word out, unruffle any feathers of misinformation that has circulated in the past and strive forward to purchase land for our birds into the future.
(from the USFWS Federal Duck Stamp Office)
“At the turn of the century, significant bird protection efforts arose to end the disturbing slaughter of birds. This was effectively the country's first organized movement by individuals we generally know as “birders” today. The initial crisis in the 20th century bird conservation was addressed by the Lacy Act of 1900, the creation of Pelican Island in 1903 as the first Federal refuge in the country, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. These events effectively outlawed forever the indiscriminate killing of birds in this country, along with the use of their feathers for interstate trade.
A second bird-crisis emerged as a result of the over draining of wetlands, the degradation of prairie grasslands through increased mono-crop agriculture, and by cycles of over-harvesting of waterfowl on ever dwindling habitat. Along with the Dust Bowl of the depression years these events culminated in a drastic loss of waterfowl. An important step taken to address this crisis was the creation of the Federal Migratory Bird Stamp in the mid-1930’s, an action which sought to strengthen a National Refuge System in desperate need of support.”
This system once again is in desperate need of support! Birders to the rescue! We started this protection of our Migratory Birds and we need to continue our direct on-the-ground protection by purchasing an annual Migratory Bird Stamp each year. They are available on line for $15. Go to https://store.usps.com/store/browse/subcategory.jsp?categoryId=duck-stamps (A current stamp of the year also gives free entrance into any Wildlife Refuge that charges admission.)
We have a responsibility to continue the job we started…to protect the birds that give us so much joy by setting aside nesting, rearing, wintering and stopover refuges so they are assured open space and we can continue to monitor and enjoy them.