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Tanagers - Coffee Birds

What do migratory birds and your latte have in common?

This Scarlet Tanager (R), its cousin the Western Tanager (L), and your latte have a connection. Much of the birds' prime wintering habitat has been turned into coffee plantations. When shade-giving trees are cut down to grow coffee in direct sunlight, the tanagers' winter habitat is also removed. But when plantations grow coffee under a tall canopy of trees, tanagers thrive in their winter home. You can make a difference when you buy shade-grown coffee.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Tanagers - Coffee Birds

Written by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!

Are you enjoying a nice cup of morning coffee? These songbirds, the Western Tanager [Song of the Western Tanager] and the Scarlet Tanager [Song of the Scarlet Tanager], and your latte have a connection you may not have realized.
Each spring, these tanagers arrive after a long journey from Mexico and Central America. To us, spending the winter in Mexico may seem a glorious vacation, but the tanagers must labor continually to find suitable habitat with plenty of fruits, berries, and insects. Much of their prime wintering habitat has been turned into coffee plantations.
When coffee plantations employ traditional methods of growing coffee bushes under a tall canopy of trees, tanagers can enjoy a food-filled winter home. And you can rest easy with a delicious cup of shade-grown brew. But where the tall, shade-giving trees have been cut down to grow coffee in the direct sunlight, what is also removed is the habitat tanagers require to rest and feed.
To be sure the tanagers continue to return for the summer, consider reaching for shade-grown coffee. [Song of the Western Tanager]
It’s satisfying to know that even a simple change in habits can have a positive impact on birds. To find where you can purchase shade-grown coffee near you, come to our website, BirdNote.org.
###

Bird sounds provided by the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the Western Tanager recorded by R.S. Little.  Song of the Scarlet Tanager recorded by G.A. Keller.
Ambient sounds provided by Kessler Productions and C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org     April 2014     Narrator:  Michael Stein

orig. ID#041505WETAKPLU   tanager-01-2009-04-16-MS
 

 

comments 2Show

I wish the Birdnotes of May 8, 2012 had pointed out that growing coffee in direct sunlight (while it may increase crop yields) is a force-growing technique that stresses the coffee plants and that shade-grown coffee produces a superior brew.

The article might also have pointed out that while you listen to the Tanager's beautiful song coming out its beak, you are enjoying coffee that may have benefited from the natural nutrients coming from the bird's (possibly the very same bird's) other end ;)

Where we live in Costa Rica, its rare to find a coffee crop
that isnt shade-grown... our local version of Starbucks
(overlooking area de los santos) is A F A O R C A :
assoc. of families of organic cafeteleros....

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