Birds & Beans™ Bird-Friendly Coffee

Your Cup of Coffee Can Make a Difference to the Birds

Birds & Beans logoIf you or a family member are coffee drinkers like we are, we'd like to ask you to pause a moment to read about the connection between your daily cup of coffee and the birds in your yard.

Back before coffee became the #2 U.S. import (behind oil imports), coffee was grown in the shade.  Coffee bushes thrived under a canopy of trees, taking a little longer to grow, but producing great tasting coffee with little or no pesticides.

Those tree canopies under which coffee grew were filled with life.  They served as wintering grounds and vital migratory habitat for hundreds of birds species, including birds that breed in our area or that migrate through in spring on their way to more northerly breeding grounds.

OrioleThe birds that are known to rely on shade-grown coffee plantations in Latin America include many familiar birds that we count on to add color and song to our yards during late spring, summer, and early fall.  Birds like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole.

But more and more, when these birds leave our yards in the fall, they are returning to wintering grounds that have been decimated.  The tree canopy they rely on has been destroyed in an effort to grow coffee faster and cheaper.

Besides the destruction of the habitat the birds need, these massive sun-grown coffee plantations generally need more pesticides and other chemicals, and the soil is more prone to erosion. All this in order to grow coffee faster and cheaper.  But at what cost?

We're reminded in the "Saving the Tropics One Sip at a Time" article in Cornell's Birdscape publication, "It's important to remember that 'cheap' coffee is only inexpensive because the environment, including tropical birds, not the consumer, is paying much of the cost."

The cup of coffee you enjoy every morning while watching the birds may contribute to their decline or eventually their demise.

Bird-FriendlyBut you do have a choice. You can choose to drink only shade-grown coffee.  Since there is no legal definition of "shade-grown coffee", you can count on the Bird Friendly® certification developed by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.  When you see the Bird Friendly seal, you can rest assured that the coffee you're enjoying was grown on a sustainable, organic coffee farm using the safest techniques.

We offer only Birds&Beans™ coffee which is certified Bird-Friendly®. To us, that means it is not only good tasting, but it is good for the birds, good for the environment, and good for the coffee workers.  All these are important to us.

Now is the time to take a stand for the birds and the earth.  You can enjoy your coffee and enjoy your birds knowing that your coffee habitats are not contributing to their demise.  Will you join us in drinking only Bird-Friendly® Birds & Beans™ coffee and spreading the word about it?

Ed & Grace Valentine

Available at Wild Birds Unlimited - Lancaster PA - Mechanicsburg PA

Birds and Beans™ coffee is artisan roasted by Wicked Joe in Brunswick Maine


Shade-grown Coffee Resources and Information:

"Saving the Tropics One Sip at a Time", Birdscope Magazine, published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Birds & Beans™ website
Read about the Bird-Friendly® coffee certification on the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) website
"Why Migratory Birds are Crazy for Coffee" by SMBC
What birds are impacted?  Audubon has compiled a list of North American birds that utilize shade-grown coffee plantations as vital habitat.
"Brew the Right Thing" by author Kenn Kaufman.
Coffee & Conservation website
"When birders drink Folgers" from the Coffee & Conservation site
"Know Your Coffee Birds: Baltimore Oriole" from the Coffee & Conservation site
Download handout - "Are Your beans for the birds? Cheap coffee destroys bird habitat" from the folks at the Rouge River Bird Observatory.
"The Facts on Bird Friendly Coffee" by the BirdWatchers Digest.
"Made in the Shade", Audubon Magazine August 2004
"Tropical Urbanization - How does it affect birds?", BirdScope Magazine, published by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
"Why Shade Grown Coffee Matters to Birds" at The Zen Birdfeeder
"Birds by the Numbers" at The Zen Birdfeeder
"What is Shade Coffee" by How Stuff Works
"Know Your Coffee Birds - Baltimore Oriole" from the Coffee & Conservation site