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: www.coffeehabitat.com/
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: http://olddogdocumentaries.com/vid_bsc.html 3. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center – for over a decade these dedicated folks have been doing wonderful work on the coffee scene: Http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ConservationAndSc