Archive for November 19th, 2010

Bird-friendly Coffee

Friday, November 19th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Coffee is an agricultural crop that thrives in the tropics.

14—These areas oftentimes are coincident with biodiversity hot spots; that is, areas of really high biodiversity, whether in birds, or insects, amphibians—what have you.

Dr. Robert Rice works with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, which certifies coffees “Bird Friendly” when growers meet certain stringent criteria. Studies suggest shade grown coffee offers the greatest benefit as habitat.

15—Where coffee still is managed with a shade cover of the kind that we like to see and have defined with “bird friendly” criteria, then coffee oftentimes is some of the last remaining canopy cover—even though it’s not forest—it’s acting very much like a forest.

With habitat loss from deforestation, shade grown coffee estates serve as refuge for neo-tropical migratory bird species that travel through Texas, including the Black and White Warbler, the Baltimore Oriole, the Cerulean Warbler and others.

15—So, they just hang out there. They might be running around with mixed species flocks, and trying to stay alive and ultimately fatten up before they make the trip back north again. So this quality habitat becomes quite important for them in terms of making the trip back.

So next time you order a cup of coffee, you might ask your barrista if it’s for the birds.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.