Monday, September 04, 2006

Lattes are grande, but what about the birdies?

…In honor of “The Croc Hunter,” Steve Irwin, HA is posting on a holiday—because it’s a wildlife story.

…Jim Burns, the ornithology columnist for the Arizona Republic, brought up an unusual subject Sept 1st.

…Coffee and birds.

…September is songbird migration time. But where are they going? Burns points out that they are headed for the places where coffee is grown.

…When they get there, they need trees. This means shade-grown coffee.

…Up to 10 billion (that’s a B) birds breed in North America, then head for South America in winter.

…Late last century, slash-and-burn agriculture in South America, coupled with leaf rust, almost deforested some areas.

…Coffee plants like shade and now had to be forced to produce using fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

…A desert, no insects, no birds.

…But how much of a difference would this make? More than 40% of permanent cropland in Latin America is devoted to coffee.

…The songbird population is down 3% annually.

…Where can you get shade-grown coffee? Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Sunflower are three places. Look for “organic” and “fair trade” on the labels.

…Better yet, look for “shade-grown.”

…HA’s mother was saying the other day that she didn’t hear birds singing. Maybe it’s because they head south and find a wasteland.

….Kinda sucks the chirp right out of them.


Anne said...

Hey Star,

Most Fair Trade coffee is going to be shade-grown and therefore bird-friendly. Just look for the Fair Trade sticker on the bag.

Bird-loving savvy shoppers can also look for a little sticker on coffee sold at places like Whole Foods and Wild Oats. The sticker reads: Bird Friendly. It's a certification scheme devised by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

Readers can visit
and enter their zipcode to find a dealer of bird-hugging coffee near them.


Star said...

Great info. Thanks. I wrote to Kroger's and asked about their coffee. Shockingly, their reply has yet to arrive.