COLUMBUS - One of Ohio's most iconic and beautiful songbirds, the eastern bluebird, is the featured species for the sixth Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Photo Contest, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.Thanks to the hard work of hundreds of "bluebirders" who build and maintain nest boxes, Ohio's bluebird population is at an all-time high. Cavity-nesting species such as the bluebird experience intense competition for nest sites, and without human assistance this gorgeous bird would be more scarce in Ohio. The success of bluebird nest box trails is one of Ohio's conservation success stories.
Bluebirds are a photographer's dream. The male is striking, with a bright back colored in rich royal blue offset by the bright rusty-red breast while the females have less flamboyant coloring. These birds can be tame, confiding and often allow close approach. Photographers with typical point-and-shoot cameras can often obtain excellent images.
The 2015 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp will feature one winning photo submission of the eastern bluebird. Entries will be accepted Aug. 10-23, 2014, and the winner will receive $500. The selection of the winning photo will be made by the end of September 2014. The contest is open to Ohioans age 18 years and older. However, photographers age 17 and younger are able to compete in the youth division. Visit wildohiostamp.com for complete contest rules.
Entries can be submitted in a horizontal or vertical format. The winning photographer is not eligible to enter photos in Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Contests for two years.
The 2014 contest featured Ohio's native turtles. Sharon Cummings of Graytown submitted the winning photo of a midland painted turtle. The photo will appear on the 2014 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, which goes on sale on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Previous stamps featured an Baltimore oriole, eastern amberwing, spotted salamander and black-capped chickadee. The program has raised more than $100,000 over the past 4½ years, and $14 of every $15 stamp purchased goes to support Ohio's Wildlife Diversity Fund. Money from this fund is used for land acquisition, habitat restoration, educational outreach and endangered species research.
Stamp collectors and conservationists are also able to purchase the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 stamps for a limited time. More information about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and other wildlife-related topics can be found at wildohio.com.