Duck Stamp or Bird Stamp?

Written by charlie   
Friday, 15 April 2016 21:24
The duck stamp, a brilliant Depression era idea, is a work of art, tax and wetland conservation tool rolled into one. Selling for $25, an amazing 98% of the proceeds from selling the duck stamps are used to fund conservation purchases and easements nationwide. The beautiful art on the stamp is the result of a very competitive competition, and is limited to depicting a migratory bird. Beyond funding conservation, the purchase of the stamp allowes the holder to hunt migratory birds on Federal lands during the open season.

Despite its successes, the program has not been raising as much money as it had in the past. Driving the change are demographics, over the past 50 years, the hunting population has both shrunk and grown older.

In an attempt to address this shortfall, and appeal to a larger pool of of nature lovers, including birders and others not likely to pick up and go bird hunting, it has been proposed that a bird other than a migratory bird be placed aside the traditional waterfowl on the duck stamp.

Due to both it effectiveness and popularity, changes to the duck stamp program are not taken lightly, even if design changes expected to expand its appeal to both hunters and birders are made. I’m of the mind if the duck stamp isn't raising as much money as it had in the past, why not commission a 2nd stamp, solely for raising conservation funds without the waterfowl or even bird requirement?

Duck stamps are works of art in their own right with a rich history, I don't think either hunters or birders would get their feathers ruffled if the duck stamp remains true to its heritage.

More info on the duck stamp program here

2Federal Duck Stamp

Invasive Species

Written by charlie   
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 01:28
When, and under what circumstances do you fight to eradicate invasive species? Are all invasives as bad as portrayed? In a recent article, it portrays a common reaction to the unknown, namely abhorrence gradually changing towards recognition that the new species may not have been as bad as first believed. At what point does the invasive villain morph into something less dangerous? Obviously this is a loaded questions, as some species are a clear detriment outside of its native environment.

Do invasives sometimes benefit their new environment? The author makes the case for Tamarack and bees, both originally do others benefit the natural environment, wetlands in particular? Do Phragmites reeds, whom i generally scowl at and peer menacing down my nose at, when confronted with acres of monoculture stands, provided unrealized benefits, including soil stabilization in the face of rising sea levels, which goes unrecognized? Life, and biology is complicated. Apparently so is making the distinction between harmful and beneficial invasive species, but as with all things, the truth often nuanced and subtle.

Spring and Birdhouses

Written by charlie   
Friday, 18 March 2016 19:49
In 3 short days, Spring, the season of vernal pools, skunk cabbage and birdhouses will be here! While tangentially about wetlands, the information found on, a Connecticut based bluebird site, is a encyclopedia of bird lore, particularly about how to dissuade the invasive house sparrow and grackle from taking over your birdhouse. The site also has helpful information about the tree swallow, which catches all of its food on the wing, to the tune of 2,000 insects per night to feed its young, second only to the bat which is estimated to capture between 6,000 - 8,0000 per night. With the general anxiety about mosquitoes, and the Zita virus, its a good time to put up some swallow and bat houses to keep mosquito populations at bay.

Some other good resources:
FWS page on Invasives and Birdhouses
CT DEP page on Bluebirds

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