Songbirds The Heralds of Spring
What do songbirds and coffee have in common? I will let you ponder while we look at the songbirds that migrate or take a winter break in sunnier climes.
Not all songbirds head for warmer country when winter arrives, there are those who stay and tough it out. These are the birds who welcome that backyard feeder or the yard that has been designed with them in mind.
The birds we will celebrate here are the ones who return to our yards, fields and woods to breed each year.
They will pause a while in your yard enjoying the berries and seeds there in spring on their arrival and will visit again in the Fall on their way south.
There are approximately 350 species of migratory songbirds, in North America, who spend their lives traveling back and forth between their summer and winter homes. They frequently follow long-established flight paths and fly ove thousands of miles of land and water.
About 250 of these speces are known as Neotropical migrants and they spend thier winters ina southern Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies.
The remaining 100 or so species are refered to as short-distance migrants, as they winter mainly in the southern U.S., particularly along the Gulf Coast.
There are few habitats on the North Amercian continent that are not winter homes for a migratory songbird or two.
There are northen forests were under 10 percent of the songbirds who summer there stay thrught the other seasons.
The migratory songbird is valued formore than its beauty and song as they fullfill major functions the health and functioning of ecosystems. They eat insects (especially those that defoliate trees), dispersers of seeds, pollinate flowers, for example.
The songbird is also tourist attraction. Birdwatchers spend cosniderbale money in the prusiuit of their interets from binoculars, field guides and otehr egar, to hotel, motel rooms, camping sites and gas for their vehicles.
Now what does this have to do with coffee, well. in the mid-elevations of Central and South America, many of the forests still standing are part of shade-grown coffee farms.
The natural canopy that the trees provide and under which coffee is grown also is a home for the songbirds who have migated from, possibly, your neighbourhood to spend their winters in some of the only habiat that has not been destroyed.
This is safe habitat that is not going to be readily destroyed, because of the coffee that grows in the shade, the tree that shelter the birds.
This is the direct link between your morning coffee and the birdsong that heralds the arrival of spring and celebrates summer.
- Bird Watching In the USA and Around the World | birding .com
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