WHERE HABITAT & COFFEE CONVERGE: WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY
FLYING FROM THE FARM TO YOUR CUP
Enjoy taking a window seat while savoring a cup of your favorite coffee? Perhaps, even watching a bird or two drop by your bird feeder? Many birds you spot are potentially impacted by the coffee you choose. Peet’s recently spoke with Kirstin Hill, the Bird Friendly Program Manager for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, to get the scoop on how your choice of coffee can help support your favorite migratory birds. “Whether it's Baltimore orioles, warbler species, or wood thrushes, these birds have spent the winter months in Central and South America, often calling coffee farms their home” Hill said. “Those birds benefit from the coffee that you're choosing.”
We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, an annual holiday that raises global awareness around the ecological importance of migratory birds, the potential threats to their habitats, and the need for conservation.
THE SMITHSONIAN MIGRATORY BIRD CENTER
Hundreds of bird species have been documented using land on and around coffee farms. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center promotes wildlife habitat protection on landscapes that grow coffee through education, training, and their Bird Friendly® certification. Using standards created by Smithsonian scientists, coffee is grown in a way that leaves space for wildlife and provides not just a home, but good sources of quality food and shelter for migratory birds.
According to Hill, there’s been a documented decline in migratory songbird populations—to the tune of about 2.5 billion birds between 1970 to 2019. In total, about 3 billion birds were lost, and about 2.5 of those were migratory species in particular. The Smithsonian’s program seeks to protect the land where birds spend the winter after they complete that migratory journey south. And then they make their journey back up north, where we see them in our backyards for the warm weather months.
A core metric of the Smithsonian’s program is the number of hectares protected through Bird Friendly® certification—currently, the program certifies over 17,000 hectares of coffee farming land in 11 countries. “The combination of tree height, shade cover, native tree species present, and organic practices have been scientifically proven to provide healthy habitats for birds and biodiversity—and the more habitat we can protect, the more biodiversity benefits,” Hill explained. “We are also researching how different birds utilize habitat in coffee growing regions—including different types of birds, like forest specialists, generalists, migratory and resident species—so we can better understand what’s best for birds.”
Not all coffee farms are equipped to meet the standards needed to be certified right off the bat. For these farmers, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center makes a difference by offering resources and training, promoting the fact that coffee can be grown in harmony with the environment, and even offer benefits. Every tool helps.
BIRD FRIENDLY PEET’S YOSEMITE DOS SIERRAS ORGANIC
“Preserving the diversity of shade trees maintains different types of shelter and food sources that might be present, or available on those trees. In fact, native trees support better, healthier insects for the birds to feed upon. These insects are the human equivalent of eating a nice, healthy, robust meal,” Hill said.
Peet’s Yosemite Dos Sierras Organic hails from just such a landscape. Under a canopy of shade trees, on the southwestern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia, these sustainably grown coffee beans ripen slowly in the diffused sunlight, developing a rich, complex flavor.
Farming without clearing forest (a requirement for the Bird Friendly® certification) helps preserve crucial biodiversity and allows birds to thrive through the winter before their annual trip north. There’s one bird in particular, the Olive-Sided Flycatcher, that makes its home in both Colombia’s Sierra Nevada range and in Yosemite National Park, part of California's Sierra Nevada range. A living link between these two ranges, and a bright reminder of the connectivity of all things.
IN HONOR OF WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY
“The more people looking for Bird Friendly® coffee—choosing it and purchasing it—the more habitat we can protect. Not just for birds, but for all different kinds of wildlife,” Hill said.
Peet’s is proud to support the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and their efforts to enable coffee farmers to enhance their farms with practices that support birds and other wildlife. So habitat persists, our ecosystem flourishes, and your choice of coffee creates a link between a pristine cup and a pristine source.