Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hooray for Birds & Beans!

Being a warbler, I spend a lot of time in the tropics. It's depressing flying down every fall and discovering yet more lovely little places that have been "developed"--that is, destroyed by humans. One of the worst problems for us is coffee plantations--especially because when coffee is grown in the traditional way, farmers can provide lots of habitat for us birds so everybody wins.

Some people understand the problem, but they don't always know what to do to make sure the coffee they buy is really grown in the best ways for us birds. But finally there's a place that sells ONLY the real thing--Certified Bird Friendly coffee!! Check out Birds & Beans.

There are only two officially certified coffees--the Smithsonian's Bird Friendly certification, and the Rainforest Alliance certification. Unfortunately, coffee sold with the Rainforest Alliance certification doesn't need to be 100 percent certified, so a significant part of their blends isn't necessarily grown to the high standards that the Smithsonian Institution requires for every drop of a package of coffee to bear their certification. And other coffees, even if they have one of my buddies on the package, aren't necessarily grown using the best practices for us birds. It's shocking how many people use images of birds to sell things, without ever getting permission. Laura Erickson never even asked me to sign a release when she shot this photo!

"Shade-grown" can refer to a monoculture of canopy trees with no bromeliads and virtually no diversity--that totally sucks when you're looking for juicy bugs and good hiding and sleeping places!

So if you're a human, PLEASE buy genuine, certified Bird Friendly coffee. If you can't find it in your neck of the woods, you can order it directly from Birds & Beans. It's the right thing to do.

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