The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Believe it or not, you can save songbirds with every cup of coffee that you drink. Older varieties of coffee (shade-grown coffee) are grown under the shade of trees in order to retain and nourish the soil and to moderate the heat and light reaching the plants. Coffee farms that mimic forest conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean, actually are saving Neotropical migrant birds and local resident birds. Depending on the species of shade trees that overhang the coffee plants and the structure of that tree cover, anywhere from a few to scores of resident and migratory bird species will rely on coffee farms for food and cover. Ornithologists have consistently documented the importance of shade-coffee habitat in the increasingly deforested landscape of the Neotropics. The move to "technify" the coffee sector, however, begun in the 1970s and continuing today, involves replacing the traditional coffee varieties with newer hybrids, called sun-coffee, which have been developed for sun tolerance (without shade) and compact growth, therefore yielding more coffee per bush and per hectare. The flip-side is that more chemical inputs — fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides — are needed with sun-coffee than with traditional shade cultivation, and, of course, the land is denuded of tree cover.

Here are some practical things activities for birders, ornithologists, and wildlife conservationists, things we can all do to promote the cause of shade coffee and save birds:
• Learn about the issues: shade coffee vs. sun coffee, certification, organic, fair-traded, sustainable. Becoming an educated consumer is the first priority. Most consumers — and that includes birders and conservationists — will make responsible decisions when they are informed.
• Raise the shade-grown coffee issue among your local birding friends and organizations, whether at a bird club meeting, IMBD, or a birding festival.
• Seek out and buy shade-grown coffee for home and work. If your local retailers and specialty stores do not carry shade-grown coffee, ask that they do.
• Ask for shade-grown coffee when you are at restaurants and espresso stands.
• Support organizations that work on these important coffee issues. • Make sure that shade-grown coffee issues are presented in your local bird publications.
• Start a coffee campaign network in your area to reach stores and the general media about the importance of shade-grown, songbird-safe coffee. Remember, the songbirds you may have seen over the last week, say, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Ovenbird, Nashville Warbler, or Rose-breasted Grosbeak, might have been spending all last winter in shade-coffee habitat. Indeed, these very species are commonly found in shaded coffee locations in these representative places: El Salvador (Swainson‘s Thrush), Costa Rica (Yellow Warbler), Panama (Black-and-White Warbler), Dominican Republic (Ovenbird), Veracruz, Mexico (Nashville Warbler), and Guatemala (Rose-breasted Grosbeak).

Finally, there are many fine sources of background materials, written and video, on birds and coffee. Here we recommend a few, each with lots of links and references: 
1. Coffee & Conservation — a site providing ongoing information on the connection between coffee and the environment, with an emphasis on birds: 
2. Birdsong & Coffee: A Wake Up Call — an almost one-hour production (2007) on the birds-and-people connection through coffee.  The DVD is described on a page that also is packed with coffee-oriented support information: 3. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center – for over a decade these dedicated folks have been doing wonderful work on the coffee scene: Http://

Poll module

Christmas spending

Are spending more, less or the same amount this year for Christmas?
490648722 [{"id":"27","title":"More","votes":"0","pct":"0","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"28","title":"Less","votes":"0","pct":"0","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"29","title":"The same","votes":"0","pct":"0","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/12-christmas-spending No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...