Wild About Utah: Bird-Friendly Coffee Conserves Habitat

The Bridgerland Audubon Society has been recording about a hundred bird species that brave our northern Utah winters since 1956, but Cache Valley hosts an equally diverse assortment of birds during the summer.

Some of our most colourful summer residents go south in the fall to spend the winter months on Latin American shade-grown coffee farms. Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Bullock’s Orioles, vividly blue Lazuli Buntings, and our little Black-chinned Hummingbirds with their iridescent purple necklace that sparkles like a neon light are among these birds. Bird Friendly coffee is helping to save the habitat of 42 migratory songbird species that fly from North America to shade-grown coffee estates south of the border.

The importance of shade-grown coffee for migratory birds is captured on our local Caffe Ibis website, which features Bird Friendly coffee, which “comes from family farms in Latin America that provide good, forest-like habitat for birds.” Bird Friendly coffees are cultivated under a canopy of trees rather than on fields that have been cleared of vegetation. The birds eat coffee insect pests and pollinate the flowers of the all-important shade trees, providing the shelter, food, and homes that migratory and local birds require to survive and thrive.” Shade-grown coffee is a mutually beneficial farming system for both migratory birds and coffee producers. As a result, a single bird can supply the coffee farmer with a substantially larger coffee harvest, up to 24 pounds of coffee beans per acre each year. A single bird can now supply roughly 1,500 additional cups of coffee thanks to the higher production!

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has designated coffee as Certified Bird Friendly® (SMBC). Bird Friendly accreditation is the gold standard for ethical, sustainable, organic coffee. It assures that growers can continue to practise shade-grown coffee rather than succumbing to commercial pressures to manufacture habitat-destroying, cheaper sun-grown coffee. Rather than cheaper coffee, certification places a premium on the farmer and the environment. You may help farmers conserve vital wintering bird habitat by purchasing sustainable, Bird Friendly coffees, as both sun-grown and shade-grown coffee plantations span a major amount of critical wintering bird habitat.

Shade-grown coffee fields are beneficial to birds, people, and the environment. So, for those who appreciate coffee, choosing Bird Friendly coffee is even more rewarding because you’re helping to save the environment. Admire the fact that a hummingbird egg is around the size of a single coffee bean while you sip your Bird-Friendly certified coffee.

Read more • upr.org

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