Monday April 26th is National Audubon Day. We at Cafe Campesino have been working with Georgia Audubon for years and we are proud to have partnered with them for our delicious Georgia Audubon Blend. The blend raises funds for Georgia Audubon’s efforts to build places where birds and people thrive. Georgia Audubon is celebrating “Georgia Bird Fest” until May 16 with a slew of activities across the state. The events are both in-person and virtual and are being put on by the various volunteer chapters all over Georgia.
Birds are everywhere, especially this time of year. With that in mind, you might wonder why the concern over bird habitats in Georgia and elsewhere. However, over three billion birds have been lost in North America since 1970. That is a staggering number and represents one in four birds, or over 30% of the bird population. Birds are part of our larger ecosystem and their losses both show the shift of balance in our environment as well as forecast a further disruption. Our feathered friends help clean our water and protect our food crops by controlling insects and other pests. Certain species of birds help pollinate plants to make the food we eat and the coffee we drink. Losing our bird populations is not just sad, if these declines continue it will affect our lives significantly.
There are a lot of ways to plug in and help preserve bird habitats to help them survive in a changing climate. Georgia Audubon lists seven simple actions that we can all take to help protect birds. These include keeping cats inside to cut down on feline bird hunting, reducing lawns and planting more bird-friendly plants increasing their habitats, avoiding pesticides that can poison them, and reducing use of plastic that birds can mistakenly eat while fishing.
Another major thing we can do to assist birds is to buy and drink bird-friendly, organic, fair trade coffee. Shade-grown organic coffee provides multi-layered shade canopies where birds can live, feed, and thrive. Interspersing coffee bushes in native forests with avocado, citrus fruit, and other trees creates the type of bio-diverse conditions that birds need to live as well as increases food security for people. Deforestation and the resulting climate change remain two of the biggest long-term challenges for birds and human beings. Growing coffee while utilizing native shade trees actually sequesters carbon, making many bird-friendly coffee farms net carbon negative. Everybody wins!
Spring is a great time to gather your flock, go outside, and see birds in their natural habitat. Events continue into the second week of May and there are still spots open for several activities, but don’t wait too long to sign up as many events fill fast. To find out more about Georgia Audubon’s work, Georgia Bird Fest, and how you can support, check out their webpage here.