Wild Birds and Animals Are Depending on You to Help

If you enjoy watching wildlife, here’s your chance to help those wild birds and critters!  

Alabama is home to more than 1,000 species of vertebrate animals. The Nongame Wildlife Program, administered by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is responsible for monitoring more than 900 of these species categorized as “nongame wildlife.” Many of these species are birds you see every day in your back yard, such as bluebirds, cardinals and robins. Some of the species are threatened or endangered due to loss of habitat and low populations, such as gopher tortoises and indigo snakes.

The Nongame Wildlife Program does not receive state tax dollars. It is partially funded by the citizens of Alabama through tax-deductible donations. In 1982, the Alabama Legislature enacted a law providing for the “Alabama Nongame Wildlife Fund” checkoff box on the state income tax form. This provides citizens concerned about the welfare of nongame wildlife a way to donate all or a portion of their state tax refunds for the benefit of nongame wildlife. These donations are matched on a three-to-one federal cost share. This means that for every $1 you donate, the state receives $3 in federal funds. These federal funds come from the Pittman-Robertson Act, an excise tax on sporting firearms, ammunition and archery equipment earmarked for wildlife restoration and management. Therefore, hunters help support nongame species and game species through this federal program.

Unfortunately, donations to the Alabama nongame wildlife program have declined over the past few years. The available checkoff boxes on the state income tax form have increased as well as the competition for donated dollars.

Past donations to the Nongame Wildlife Program helped bring back bald eagles, ospreys and bluebirds to Alabama, but many other nongame wildlife species still need your help. Remember, your tax-deductible donation will be tripled as a result of the Pittman-Robertson Act. This year, give something back to wildlife for all the enjoyment it has given you. Checkoff for Wildlife!

For those not receiving a state income tax refund, your tax-deductible donation can be made to Alabama’s Nongame Wildlife Program. For more information or to make a direct donation, contact Mark Sasser, Nongame Wildlife Coordinator, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 64 North Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130; 334-242-3469 or email address: msasser@dcnr.state.al.us.  Also you can find information about the Nongame Wildlife Program by visiting the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website at www.outdooralabama.com.