BOSTON, M.A. — Did you know you can help birds by simply drinking coffee? The right type of coffee, that is. Mass Audubon, a leader in bird conservation since 1896, has joined Massachusetts-based Birds & Beans®’ efforts to provide consumers with shade grown Bird Friendly® coffee to help stop population loss of North American songbirds in their winter homes in Latin America.
Birds & Beans coffee is USDA-approved, 100 percent organic, and certified Bird Friendly® by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC), guarantying the coffee comes from farms that meet the highest possible standards of habitat quality and protection. Bird Friendly® coffee farms, primarily family owned, provide winter shelter and sustenance to huge numbers of beautiful migratory birds-thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, and more-that spend their summers in New England.
Birds & Beans also helps to protect our birds in another way. Each month Mass Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program will receive $1 for every online Birds & Beans customer and subscriber in Massachusetts. The IBA Program identifies and works to protect critical bird habitat in the state. Currently, there are 79 IBA sites in Massachusetts encompassing more than 900,000 acres. “The Important Birds Areas Program works to ensure appropriate stewardship for birds during their stay in Massachusetts,” says Wayne Petersen, ornithologist and Mass Audubon director of the Important Bird Areas Program. “By drinking SMBC-certified Bird Friendly coffee, we help safeguard the migratory birds we know and love during their time away from North America.”
Science documents that farms with the SMBC’s Bird Friendly certification make a significant difference for birds and for overall biodiversity. Compounding tropical forest loss, over half the traditional shade coffee farms in Latin America and the Caribbean, once rich habitat for birds with their multi-storied shade canopy, have been converted to sterile plantations where coffee is grown in the sun requiring heavy chemical spraying. And coffees with the SMBC certification means 100 percent certified shade grown beans in every bag; other shade-grown coffees may contain as little as 30 percent shade-grown beans.
Additionally, the USDA certified100 percent Organic Birds & Beans coffee is Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance approved and the beans are freshly roasted right here in New England. Buying coffee from Birds & Beans will support the Massachusetts IBA program as well as small businesses, while helping to preserve tropical forest habitat for birds and other wildlife, providing fair profits for farmers, and reducing pesticides where the coffee is grown. By sipping any of Birds & Beans artisan roasts, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your purchase is also helping people, birds, and the planet.
“When Scott Weisdensaul and I realized that there was a substantive, easy and enjoyable way for bird lovers like us to actually make a significant difference for birds by drinking the right kind of coffee we decided to launch Birds & Beans,” says founder Bill Wilson. “When Mass Audubon, one of the conservation giants, decided to join us we were thrilled. By making it easier for bird and nature lovers to do the right thing, we are sure that—together—we can all make a big difference.”
— Written by Bill Askenburg
Bill Askenburg is the owner of New England Birdhouse, which specializes in fine architectural bird houses and feeders, offering handcrafted customer and stock replica bird houses, backyard birding supplies and artisan wares. He frequently posts articles about backyard birding and New England life at his blog.