09 March 2011

Bird friendly coffee

Did you know that your cup of coffee could play an important part in the survival of the songbirds in your backyard? Many of the birds that frequent our backyards in summer, fly to southern parts of Mexico, Central and South America during our winter.

With rapidly declining numbers of songbirds each year it is important to look at ways in which we can contribute to help preserve their natural habitat here and in their wintering grounds. Migrating songbirds cover thousands of miles each year. It is a long and dangerous journey for them. Skyscrapers, cell and communication towers, wind turbines along migratory routes are some of the real dangers that they must overcome. When they arrive at their destination they must also deal with the resulting loss of habitat and needed food sources that is occurring in Central and South America.

It is estimated that one pound of coffee a month that is grown organically and under a diverse shade canopy preserves approximately 1700 square feet of forest-like wintering habitat for migratory songbirds and other wildlife. For a really good cup of coffee, choose coffee beans that are shade and organically grown and fair trade certified. For more information on shade grown coffee see Silence of the Songbirds by Bridget Stutchbury and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/coffee/