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Think Before You Drink

Coffee Choice Helps Birds

A simple lifestyle choice can have a positive impact on bird conservation around the world. Scientists have established that the traditional method of growing coffee - beneath the canopy of a forest, rather than chopping down the trees for sun-grown coffees - provides vital habitat for birds.

“It’s a simple formula: keep the trees, keep the birds,” says Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg, director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “When trees are retained, this has tremendous value to birds, especially migratory birds that winter in Central and South America and breed in North America during the summer.”

Research has shown that traditional shade-grown coffee plantations in Mexico can support more than 100 bird species, compared with 6–12 species in sun-grown monocultures. 

Support of the shade-grown coffee movement has led to a new partnership between the Cornell Lab and Birds & Beans®, a Massachusetts-based retailer that specializes in shade-grown coffee products certified ‘Bird Friendly®’ by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification means that Birds & Beans coffee is 100%-organic and shade-grown. 

“We started this project to make it easier for bird and nature lovers to do the right thing and enjoy great-tasting coffee at the same time,” says Bill Wilson, co-founder of Birds & Beans. “By partnering with the Cornell Lab, we’re sure we can all make a big difference for tanagers, thrushes, orioles, warblers, and other beautiful songbirds.”

People who buy Birds & Beans Bird Friendly coffee also help protect birds a second way: A portion of all online sales and sales of the coffee from some Wild Birds Unlimited stores goes to the Cornell Lab to help support its ongoing bird research, education, and conservation programs. 

“Simply drinking the right coffee is an easy way for people to make a real difference for birds,” says Rosenberg. “We’re happy to support Birds & Beans in this effort and help bird and nature lovers make the right choice.”

4th July 2014