December 13, 2010

Coffee

In this cold time of year it easy to forget about the summer birds that breed in New England bringing the air to life with song and color. While these summer songsters are spending their winter in the tropics they should not be forgotten as there is no way around the bad news. Song bird populations are in steep decline across the globe. Loss of habitat, expansive human development, and agricultural malpractice are among the top reasons for population decline. There are many small steps that we can take to help preserve the American song brids.

"sun" coffee plantation
One of these small steps  purchasing and drinking coffee that is certified with a Bird Friendly, Birds and Beans, or Rainforest Alliance seal. Drinking certified, shade grown coffee means that crucial habitat is being preserved in the Caribbean, Central and South America. High yield or sun coffee is grown in large, monotonous stands providing little feeding, nesting, or usable habitat for the birds while shade grown coffee preserves a diversity of trees amongst the coffee trees. Though this problem may seem distant remember that many of “our” birds (Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Wood Thrush to name a few) winter in these faraway forests and their survival is dependent on the preservation of usable habitat. The answer is simple this holiday season gift, brew and drink certified coffee!

For other holiday gift ideas read the binocular buying guide.

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: alexanderjosephdunn@gmail.com

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