2020-21 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Duck Stamp
Perhaps no stamps are as beautiful or as popular as the Hunting Permit Stamps, better known as the “Duck Stamps.” In March 1934, Congress authorized the Postal Department to issue receipts, in the form of attractive stamps, to licensed hunters. The profits from these stamps would then go to maintaining waterfowl life in the United States. J.N. Darling, a well-known cartoonist and artist, designed the first “duck” stamp - a $1.00 issue that pictured two mallards preparing to land. Its beauty and novelty immediately appealed to stamp collectors, and the desire to own one became widespread.
The government was adamant, however. The stamp was for hunters only, not for collectors. It had to be attached to a license, and the hunter had to keep it intact for one year. But the collectors would not give up, and fifteen days before the first stamps expired they were placed on sale for stamp enthusiasts.
Issued annually, the “duck” stamps are designed by some of America's finest artists. Initially, the artwork for these stamps was commissioned, but that changed in 1949 when designer Bob Hines (creator of the 1946-47 issue) suggested the idea for a contest. Today, well-known painters and designers from throughout the U.S. compete to have their work displayed on the desirable hunting permit stamps. In 1991, Nancy Howe became the first woman to win the annual competition.
These handsome stamps have featured a wide array of waterfowl, such as Emperor Geese, Wood Ducks, Canvasback Drakes, and Whistling Swans, to name a few. All issues are inscribed “Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp.” The first five read “Department of Agriculture,” while all following issues read “Department of the Interior.” From 1946 on, all stamps bear an inscription on the back that says: “It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl unless you sign your name in ink on the face of this stamp.”
Today, this revenue program raises approximately $20 million annually, and almost four million acres of wetlands have been purchased with these funds. Not only do these stamps bring beauty to your collection, but their purchase helps protect our nation’s waterfowl.
In 1998, the Department of the Interior issued the first self-adhesive duck stamp. Interestingly, we’ve heard that the new self-adhesive stamps were made dollar-bill size so they could fit securely in the cash drawers of Wal-Mart’s sporting goods departments.
2020 Stamp Pictures Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck
The black-bellied whistling-duck can be found perched high in trees or on utility lines in the southern US and parts of Latin America. The duck is sometimes seen at night, carefully checking the fields to find seeds from the harvests. The Latin name Dendrocygna autumnalis (tree swan of sutumn) fits this unusual duck perfectly.
The black-bellied whistling-duck has a gray face and upper neck, white eyering, and a chestnut cap, nape, and back. It sports a black belly, red-orange bill, and long pink legs. Males and females look alike, similar to its cousins the goose and swan. Many scientists who have studied this duck have deemed it "unduck-like" or not a "true" duck. Other similarities to its cousins include: it mates for life, it walks rather than waddles, stands erect, and both parents raise the young.
Like a wood duck, the black-bellied whistling duck nests in trees, nesting boxes, or other high places. The young jump out just days after hatching and are immediately able to feed themselves. Man-made nesting boxes have helped this species' range move north. As of 2020, this duck was listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Although there is no risk of losing this species now, we can all do our part to ensure that this and other duck species thrive for years to come.