Friday, March 26, 2010

Saving the Songbirds with your Cup of Coffee

Do you love your coffee like I do?  I love good coffee and my day doesn't start with out my two cups of it with the paper every morning.  My husband and I have become aware of the differences in coffee that is grown in shade and coffee that is grown in sun and what effects it is making on the birds that breed in North America.   As members of our Naturalist group we had the privilige of having Bridget Stutchbury the author of "Silence of the Songbirds" come to speak to us about her research.  It is a very informative book about how we are losing the world's songbirds and what we can do to save them.  Birds in our backyard are our entertainment.  We love to watch them at the feeders and in the bird bath.   Bridget's findings say that some birds like the Wood Thrush, Kentucky Warbler, Eastern Kingbird which are migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate.  Estimates guess at almost half the songbirds that filled the skies only 40 years ago are lost.

What has that to do with my cup of coffee.  Well it has to do with how coffee is grown and the pesticides that are used to grow that coffee.   Songbirds fly down to warm Mexico in winter to their winter homes.  As the trees are being cut down in that part of the world to make agricultural farms the habitat for the birds is dwindling.  There is not enough tree coverage to sustain all the birds that need it for food and protection.  Young birds in their first year of migration are being pushed to the fringes of the tree canopy to hedge rows where there may not find enough food or shelter .  They become weak and die.  The older birds take the better areas because they have established their areas there and chase others out.  It is survival of the fittest.  Pesticides (many that are banned in North America) that are used in large numbers in the production of sun grown coffee kills birds that forage in those areas.   Shade grown coffee is grown on plants under a canopy of trees.  It does not need pesticides. Baltimore Orioles and Tennessee Warblers are frequent visitors to this environment.  Mexican farmers have formed coffee cooperatives  that produce fair trade coffee.  The money from their labors are used to provide a good living for them and their families as well as the ability to get medical care and school for their kids.  

Look for this label where you purchase your coffee. 

This is a good brand to look for.

Label that says Bird Friendly ensures you are helping to save the songbirds. Our church has joined the movement.  They sell a brand of coffee once a month.  If you love your coffee and want to help the environment look for these labels when you  do your shopping.  If you can't find it ask your favourite stores to carry it.   Don't forget Saturday March 27 is Earth Day.  Turn out your lights for one hour tomorrow night from 8pm to 9pm and save energy. 


Marydon Ford said...

I support this 900% ... wonderful! TY for sharing , Valerie.

Happy Easter!
Have a wonderful weekend.
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

Tommie Jo said...

I LOVE coffee! Thanks for letting me know about this! Have a great day!

A Garden of Threads said...

We always use Bird Friendly coffee at our house. The taste of shade grown coffee is great. Have a great weekend:)

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I am not a coffee drinker but I find this information interesting and alarming. It is good to know that some are conscious of this problem and are working toward a solutions to it.