Each fall, millions of songbirds migrate south from the United States to spend their winters in Central and South America. Of particular interest to North Carolina birders, some of our most familiar warblers and thrushes prefer to winter in Central American highlands quite similar in elevation and terrain to what they know here. Small shade-grown coffee farms have been found to be ideal wintering homes for these migratory species. It turns out that ninety percent of coffee production worldwide is in developing countries. Tens of millions of small producers provide the world's coffee. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) observed in the 1990's that, increasingly, these producers were tempted to cut down their tree cover and shift production to poorer quality but more profitable full-sun coffee. This trend was threatening to the survival of our songbirds. Thus was born the SMBC criteria for bird-friendly coffee. When the countries of Central America were considered, it was concluded that Nicaragua would have the best yield of habitat saved by promotion of bird-friendly coffee.
For three years, Mecklenburg Audubon Society has supported this mission with our coffee sales of Birds & Beans bird-friendly coffee. A portion of the cost of every bag sold by MAS goes to support conservation in Nicaragua. This past January, a small group from MAS traveled down to Nicaragua to see firsthand the birds of several coffee farms that support bird conservation. Among the highlights of the trip was a day spent visiting the El Nisperal farm of Sally Gladstone. She is an American scientist who has become a booster and coordinator of bird-friendly coffee production in Nicaragua. In this first monthly meeting of the year, Christy Hill, Jim Pugh, and Ken Kneidel will present the sights and lessons of this MAS conservation outing.
Join us Thursday, September 8th at the Tyvola Senior Center (2225 Tyvola Road.) at 7:15 PM. Refreshments and fellowship from 6:45 PM. Although we offer disposable cups, if you think of it beforehand, please consider bringing your own cup or mug to ease the burden on the environment. Ice will be provided. Birds and Beans Bird Friendly coffee will be available too!