For the first time in half a century, long-winged, long-necked white swans, not ducks or geese, will appear on the Federal Duck Stamp.
An acrylic painting of a pair of Trumpeter Swans took first place at the 2015 Federal Duck Stamp art contest, held September 18 and 19 at the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia.
The painting is the handiwork of Joseph Hautman, of Plymouth, Minnesota. His image will be made into the 2016-17 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in late June 2016.
It was the fifth time Hautman has won the contest, making him one of only two artists to have his art appear on five stamps.
Swans have not appeared on the stamp for 50 years. The 1966-67 stamp featured a black-and-white tempera drawing of Whistling Swans (now known as Tundra Swans) by Stanley Stearns, the second artist to win the contest three times.
And you have to go even deeper into the Duck Stamp archives to find a Trumpeter Swan. The last time it appeared was 1950-51. That year’s stamp featured a wash-and-gouache drawing of two Trumpeters by Walter A. Weber, the first artist to win the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
Joseph Hautman shared the limelight at this year’s contest with two brothers.
Second place was taken by Robert Hautman, of Delano, Minnesota, who submitted an acrylic painting of a pair of Mallards. Robert has won the contest twice. And third place was taken by James Hautman, of Chaska, Minnesota, who also painted Mallards. James is a four-time winner of the contest.
Among the three brothers, the Hautmans have won 11 Federal Duck Stamp contests.
The Federal Duck Stamp, produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, sells for $25 and raises about $25 million each year to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Many of our most popular birding destinations are national wildlife refuges that were established or expanded using Duck Stamp dollars. Examples include Aransas and Santa Ana in Texas, John Heinz in Pennsylvania, Sonny Bono Salton Sea in California, “Ding” Darling in Florida, Parker River in Massachusetts, Bombay Hook in Delaware, Bosque del Apache in New Mexico, Lostwood in North Dakota, and Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina and Virginia.
Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a current Duck Stamp. Birders, conservationists, stamp collectors, and others purchase the stamp to support habitat conservation. A current stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
You can contribute to conservation by buying a Duck Stamp at a national wildlife refuge or sporting-goods store or other retailer; through the U.S. Postal Service; or on the Fish and Wildlife Service website.
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