Annual Migratory Bird Art Competition Begins

Jan 11th, 2012 | By | Category: Top Story, Wildlife

To promote wetland conservation, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is initiating a contest where artists can enter an original piece of artwork that depicts a waterfowl species (duck, goose, or brant) that occurs in Connecticut.  The winning entry will be featured on the 2013 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.

If you saw the movie Fargo, you might remember Marge’s husband being despondent because his entry in the stamp contest is awarded only use on a small denomination stamp. According to, what are often called “duck stamp contests” or waterfowl stamp contests have nothing to do with postage stamps. The system referred to in the movie, and in use by the Federal Government’s US Fish & Wildlife Service for more than 50 years, is a way of funding habitat projects and is not used for postage stamps at all. The winners of wildlife stamp contests have their art recreated on stamps that must be purchased by hunters. Such stamps are used only on hunters’ licenses, not on general postage. Although waterfowl designs can be used on general postage stamps as well, such as the 2003 Snowy Egret 37-cent stamps.

2003 Snowy Egret 37-cent stamp

2003 Snowy Egret 37-cent stamp

Contest Details: The contest is open to all artists (including Junior Duck Stamp artists), regardless of residence, age, or experience.  Artwork may be in any full-color medium, including acrylic, oil, colored pencil, and watercolor.  Images that include a Connecticut scene or landmark are preferred.  Entries will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, general rendering, and suitability for reproduction.

To see all previous Connecticut duck stamps, visit:

2002 Connecticut Duck Stamp Print Robert Reichert

2002 Connecticut Duck Stamp Print painted by Robert Reichert

Entries must be received in person or postmarked on or before March 15, 2012, to be eligible.  Entries should be mailed to:

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Attn: Migratory Game Bird Program
391 Route 32
North Franklin, CT 06254

Full contest rules are available on the DEEP web site at or by calling the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Franklin office at 860-642-7239.

“The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program is a great example of how conservation works – concerned citizens paying into a program that was formed to protect and enhance vital habitat,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette.  “By state law, funds generated from the sale of Duck Stamps can only be used for the development, management, preservation, conservation, acquisition, purchase, and maintenance of waterfowl habitat and wetlands, as well as the purchase and acquisition of recreational rights or interests relating to migratory birds.”

2012 duck stamp Clint Herdman

2012 duck stamp illustrated by Clint Herdman.

History of CT’s Duck Stamp Program: The Duck Stamp Program was initiated in the early 1990s when concerned sportsmen worked with the DEEP to develop legislation that would generate revenue for wetland conservation. Modeled after the federal Duck Stamp Program, the Connecticut program requires the purchase of a state Duck Stamp, along with a hunting license, to legally hunt waterfowl in the state.

The first Connecticut Duck Stamp debuted in 1993 with a fee of $5.00. From 1993-2002, the sale of Duck Stamps and prints generated over $1.2 million in revenue. Print sales gradually declined over time and the print program was discontinued with the 2002 Duck Stamp.  Hunters and conservationists have consistently expressed strong support for the Duck Stamp Program and associated conservation projects. The sale of stamps alone currently generates approximately $50,000 per year.

With the return of full-color artistic Duck Stamps in 2013, art enthusiasts, stamp collectors, and conservationists are encouraged to purchase as many stamps as they wish to provide funds for wetland conservation projects. Full-color prints may also be available at the discretion of the winning artist.

The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp is more than just a ‘duck’ stamp because the conservation work it funds provides habitat for a multitude of other wildlife species like herons, egrets, fish, and amphibians, along with several species of greatest conservation need that are identified in Connecticut’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy,” added Frechette.

Benefits of the Connecticut Duck Stamp Program:

  • Funds generated through the Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program have been responsible for restoring and enhancing over 3,145 acres of critical wetlands. Projects have encompassed nearly 50 sites, mostly on state-owned wildlife management areas.
  • Specialized large equipment was purchased to conduct extensive marsh restoration work, particularly along the coast.
  • Connecticut was the first state in the nation to establish a unit dedicated to wetland restoration. The DEEP’s Wetland Restoration Unit receives no state funds and operates solely off of outside monies and Connecticut Duck Stamp funds.
  • A 75-acre addition to the Wangunk Meadows Wildlife Management Area in Portland was purchased.
  • Duck Stamp funds have generated additional monies for Connecticut through matching grants from federal conservation initiatives. By combining Duck Stamp funds with these additional monies, over $4 million have been available to complete wildlife conservation projects. Thus, Connecticut has received a 4:1 return on Duck Stamp monies.
  • The Duck Stamp Program is a prime example of a user fee program that has greatly benefitted not only wildlife, but also the people of Connecticut by improving the health of our local environments.
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One Comment to “Annual Migratory Bird Art Competition Begins”

  1. Sheila Sportini says:

    Stop and Shop AKA Monroe Gas wants to build a gas station within 100 feet of our wetlands and public drinking water supply. The soil that they would disturb is already contaminated from a previous fuel storage facility leak.

    I have photos of an Egret taken this past Friday 5/15/2012 in the same Wetlands.

    Go to and search petitions using “Stop and Shop” to read more and feel free to contact me via email if there are any questions or concerns

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