6 Ways to Make a Better Duck Stamp


1998 Duck Stamp featuring Barrow’s Goldeneye

The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp [Duck Stamp] is now in its 75th year of existance and still provides one of the best sources of funding for direct conservation. However, many birders are unaware of the importance of these stamps so we offer the following suggestions.

#1 – Rename the stamp to “Bird Conservation Stamp”. Not only is this more rememberable and easy to say, it is also more meaningful. Spreading information about the stamp through “bird of mouth” is much more doable with a better name.

#2 – Increase the price to $20.00: While we don’t like volunteering to spend extra cash, the price of a duck stamp is worth it and the fact that 98% of the value goes to conservation, a higher price will more than make up for some people’s feelings that it is too steep.

#3 – Have more birds featured on the stamps. By moving away from waterfowl, many other birds with good “street appeal”, the stamps could feature several birds each year, making them more appealing to collectors as well as conservationists.

#4 – Create an enlarged stamp: An oversized stamp (for a higher price) could be put on your car or given as a gift. It would be fun to show off and could even give you special access to areas in NWRs that are normally off-limits.

#5 – Go digital: No, don’t ever make a virtual stamp, but instead tie the stamp into an online database. You could enter a specific number on the stamp and then discover which NWRs or land purchases are benefiting from your stamp. By showing where the dollars go, people will be enticed to buy more and it will create a more transparent experience. Knowing your stamp is making a difference is a powerful thing.

#6 – Promote the stamp like crazy: There is no reason why all 47 million birders should not purchase at least one stamp a year. Many a birder is unaware of the importance and value of these stamps as conservation tools. Birders provide a major force for conservation and can improve the environment immensely, even with a relatively small investment of a “Bird Conservation Stamp”.


1999 Duck Stamp featuring Greater Scaup

3 thoughts on “6 Ways to Make a Better Duck Stamp

  1. All great ideas! Why not things like a “bird conservation bumper sticker” (instead of a stamp,) etc., etc?
    In Canada the “duck stamp” has been over $20 for a long, LONG time. Perhaps that’s partially why Canada does such great work in the conservation field.

  2. It would be interesting to see a comparison between the “conservation” accomplished by giving money to DOI vs. giving money to nonprofit private conservation outfits; I often wonder about this when deciding whether or not I want a bluebird on my license plate, or whether I should donate to TNC. Any thoughts?

  3. I should have clarified that I have heard the saying that “98% of the sale price of duck stamps goes towards conservation”, but I’m not clear exactly what that means. A post on the topic would be much appreciated…

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