May 24, 2022

What is Bird-Friendly Coffee?


Aves Coffee Co. began out of a profound love of people, of birds, and of the environment. Therefore, ensuring that our approach to coffee would be cognizant of the workers and farmers who produce it and of the local biodiversity of each farm was essential to our mission. This is why we have chosen to abide by “the world’s first scientifically-backed shade-grown coffee certification:
Smithsonian Bird Friendly®” (Luszcz, 2018).
Bird-friendly coffee is defined and regulated by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center, which establishes a strict list of qualifying criteria (Luszcz, 2018). This ensures that, to be recognized as bird-friendly, “a plantation, besides also being USDA Organic, must meet specific criteria, such as at least 40% canopy cover, at least 12-metre tree canopy height, at least 10 different species of native trees and shrubs, and a variety of other biodiversity indicators” (Luszcz, 2018).
In effect, this seeks to remedy current deforestation and monocultural practices and to ensure that the natural habitats of migratory and native birds remain unharmed or are sufficiently replenished to counteract declining bird migration trends (Pen, 2016).
(Difference between Smithsonian shade grown and normal Sun grown coffee)
Indeed, a recent study has determined that “North America lost 3 billion birds in less than 50 years”, primarily due to “human activities such as logging, farming, and mining” (GrrlScientist, 2021). Consequently, the Smithsonian Bird Friendly® certification appears as a necessary expansion of the usual organic certification, additionally taking into account “shade cover, plant species diversity, canopy
structure, required buffer zones, leaf litter cover and much more” (Pen, 2016). Specifically, the focus on shade highlights the adverse effects of sun-grown coffee, which, although growing faster and producing more abundantly than shade-grown coffee, is often obtained through the stripping of biodiverse environments and through monoculture (GrrlScientist, 2021).
In essence, “Bird-Friendly coffees are guaranteed to support bird habitat, in addition to fair and stable prices for coffee producers, healthy environments for local communities, and equal access to markets for Bird-Friendly coffee producers”, making it the obvious choice for us as we considered which
beans to use at Aves Coffee Co.

Until next time,

The Aves Coffee Co. Team.

References:

Luszcz, T. (September 28, 2018). Making The Switch to Bird Friendly Coffee. Birds Canada. Retrieved
May 3, 2022, from https://www.birdscanada.org/making-the-switch-to-bird-friendly-coffee/.
Pen, M. (April 21, 2016). What Is Bird Friendly Coffee? Birds and Beans. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from
https://birdsandbeans.ca/what-is-bird-friendly-coffee/.
GrrlScientist (March 6, 2021). Bird-Friendly Coffees Really Are For The Birds. Forbes. Retrieved May 3,
2022, from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2021/03/06/bird-friendly-coffees-really-are-for-
the-birds/?sh=4ada40736663.