DENVER, Colo.–With winter nipping at Colorado, skeins of waterfowl are migrating through the state. Along with flocks of other diving ducks, observant hunters and waterfowl enthusiasts may be lucky to discern a handsome black and white diver with a striking yellow eye – the Barrows goldeneye.

The Barrows goldeneye, one of two similar ducks to visit Colorado during migration, is the avian ambassador featured on this year’s Colorado Waterfowl Collector Stamp, which is now available for collectors.

Award-winning Wisconsin wildlife artist Craig Fairbert’s vivid portrait captures a Barrows goldeneye drake and hen resting amid autumn leaves on a mossy rock in fast water. Fairbert’s “Golden Colorado” bested the work of 36 other wildlife artists to secure the highly coveted spot on this year’s stamp.

“The 2009 Colorado Waterfowl Stamp is truly one-of-a-kind,” said Brian Sullivan, DOW wetlands coordinator.  “Hunters and collectors alike will appreciate the amazing detail and design of this year’s stamp. It will make a great addition to anyone’s collection.”

Each year, the Colorado Waterfowl Stamp program holds a contest for original waterfowl artwork to be depicted on the collector waterfowl stamp. Stamps and a print of the stamp are created for sale to waterfowl and wetland enthusiasts, bird watchers, and stamp/collectors. The funds are used for wetland projects that benefit ducks, geese, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent wildlife species.

Since its inception in 1990, the Colorado Waterfowl Stamp program has raised $6.7 million to help restore and protect more than 19,500 acres of critical waterfowl habitat.  Additional funding from Ducks Unlimited and other partners has leveraged stamp resources to improve public waterfowl hunting opportunities and habitat throughout Colorado.  Many habitat improvement projects have been conducted on state wildlife areas.  Historically, some funds have also been used to improve important nesting areas in Canada known to produce the majority of Colorado’s migrant ducks.

“Loss of habitat is the single greatest threat to waterfowl,” said Sullivan.  “Participation in the stamp program by hunters and non-hunters alike is an effective way to contribute to this important conservation effort and ensure the long-term protection of Colorado’s waterfowl and wetland resources.”

All hunters age 16 or older must purchase a Colorado Waterfowl Stamp to hunt waterfowl in Colorado.  The stamp fee is $5 and has not increased since the program’s inception in 1990.  Hunters receive electronic stamps to validate their small game licenses, but they may also request traditional “gum-back” collector stamps, featuring Fairbert’s artwork.  Gum-back stamps will be mailed to hunters upon request. Beginning mid-December 2009, a $2.50 fee will be charged to cover the mailing and processing of the gum-back stamps.

For collectors, the 2009 waterfowl stamp/art print, as well as stamps and art prints from previous years, are available through the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation.  Prints and stamps make great holiday gifts and can be purchased online (www.cwhf.info/shopOnline/index.asp) or by contacting Terrie DeLoria at: (terrie.Deloria@cwhf.info)

For more information about artist Craig Fairbert and to view the 2009 stamp, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/Waterfowl/WaterfowlStampProgram/ColoradoWaterfowlStampWinners.htm

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

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