Plan to alter much-loved duck stamp creates a huge flap
How do you ruffle feathers in the American bird-hunting community? Mess with the duck stamp.
"You would end up getting species-bias from the judges."- Adam Grimm, duck stamp artist
The duck stamp has been around for more than 80 years. Hunters pay $25 for it and stick it on their license. And, each year, a contest is held for the image featured on the stamp — traditionally a duck, a goose or a swan.
Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services wants artists to include other birds in the background, like herons or blue jays, in a bid to make the stamps attractive to birders.
Two-time Federal Duck Stamp competition winner Adam Grimm thinks that's ridiculous.
"It opens up a whole can of worms for the artists and the judges," Grimm tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "You would end up getting species-bias from the judges."
Aside from the fear that judges might show an undue preference for say, orioles, Grimm also says including other birds on the stamp creates artistic challenges. For instance, if a bird of prey, like a hawk, was in the image, the ducks would then have to be depicted with their heads tipped up, looking nervous, ruining the aesthetic.
He is also skeptical that birders will be interested in buying the stamps, since most of them oppose hunting.
"Why aren't birders buying the duck stamp now?" he asks. "Adding a song bird or some other bird in the background isn't going to make them suddenly jump up and down."
Grimm says the Fish and Wildlife Service should just create a separate set of stamps that would appeal directly to bird-watchers.