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Shade grown coffee trees

Native shade trees, like these in Columbia, produce coffee that is good for the environment and migratory birds! Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Today is World Migratory Bird Day, and we’re celebrating by sharing a simple way that you can help protect our winged friends: switching to bird-friendly coffee!

Many of the songbirds that pass through our area during spring and fall—such as warblers, the rose-breasted grosbeak and the indigo bunting—spend their winters in coffee-growing regions of central and South America. Unfortunately, 75% of the world’s coffee farms destroy forest habitat by using harmful pesticides and growing coffee in the sun—and the birds that depend on these ecosystems disappear as well.

Bird-friendly coffee, however, is grown underneath native shade trees that fight climate change and provide habitat for mammals, insects and migratory birds, whose journeys can take them all the way from backyards in United States to coffee farms in Latin America.

As of 2018, bird-friendly coffee farms were located in 12 countries, with over 19 million pounds of coffee sustainably produced each year. In addition to being better for the environment and protecting the habitat of migratory birds, this coffee is certified organic.

Producers of bird-friendly coffee farms also earn more for their crops, which means that with every purchase, farmers are financially rewarded for being good stewards of the environment!

So why not celebrate this year’s World Migratory Bird Day with a cup (or two!) of bird-friendly coffee? Click here to see where you can purchase it. You can also encourage your favorite coffee companies and shops to begin carrying bird-friendly coffee!

Some other ways to participate in bird conservation from your home include keeping cats indoors, planting native vegetation, avoiding pesticides and using less plastic. Together we can make a big difference for birds in our corner of the world and beyond!