Friday, October 12, 2012

Bird Friendly Coffee Growing

With yesterday's focus on songbird wintering habitat, it is appropriate to think about how we can help make a difference.  "Shade grown" coffee does not necessarily mean "bird friendly" grown coffee.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology explains in their blog.  However, whatever the reason for deforestation, the loss of habitat has an effect.
Stutchbury recapped recent research on Wood Thrushes, sweet-singing birds of Eastern forests whose numbers have dropped by half since the 1960s. Yet, with regenerating forests in the Northeast, Wood Thrushes now have more breeding habitat than they did decades ago. “What does that tell you?” Stutchbury asked her audience. “Must be a problem on their wintering grounds.” (Although some researchers point out that the quality rather than quantity of forest in North America might still be limiting this species.)
And indeed, when Stutchbury tracked individual Wood Thrushes from the U.S. to Nicaragua and back, she found that regional Wood Thrush population declines matched deforestation trends in Nicaragua, where forest cover has dropped 30 percent in just the past two decades.
This deforestation likely affects other wintering songbirds, too, such as Baltimore Orioles and Chestnut-sided and Kentucky warblers, which have also declined in the last half-century, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Wood Thrush - Mark Musselman

Wood Thrush - Mark Musselman
 As a consumer, you have the power of choice and your spending decisions affect the market.  If you are interested in protecting bird friendly habitat, spend your dollars in support of coffee growers whose efforts will help ensure songbirds return to your yard in the spring.  Look for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center certification:

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