By Gustave Axelson
Drinking shade-grown coffee is one of the best choices you can make in your daily life to benefit birds and tropical habitat. Some 42 species of North American songbirds spend winters in Central and South American shade coffee plantations, not to mention the scores of resident birds that live there as well.
Only a relative few of us will get the chance to see coffee cultivation firsthand—so it can be hard to envision why one practice is better than another. But Amanda Rodewald, director of the Cornell Lab’s Conservation Science program, has done extensive research into shade coffee and its effects on birds. At a conference in November 2013, Rodewald gave a basic primer on coffee cultivation and bird habitat. Click the video above to watch. It’s 8 minutes long; so you might want to grab a cup of Bird Friendly coffee for while you watch.
When it comes to shade-grown coffee, we especially recommend Bird Friendly coffee—it meets stringent habitat, organic, and fair-trade standards and is certified by scientists at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. For more information about coffee growing practices and labeling conventions, see our full post on what coffee labels mean for migratory songbirds.