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Songbirds The Heralds of Spring

Updated on April 15, 2016

Migratory Songbirds

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.



Submit a Comment
  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks for the advice and for dropping by.

  • WordWielder profile image


    10 years ago from Austin

    Enjoyed the article. It was very vivid and full of detail and made me think of when I lived in Michigan.... lots of birds. This was a great read, very insightful and had a good message.

    On another note, please pardon my comments- but there are quite a few grammar mistakes in the article. The reason why i say this is, although the article was enjoyable and the actual content was well written, some potential readers out there will not read articles with grammar mistakes.

    For what it's worth, here's my suggestion. Copy the contents of the article and paste it in Microsoft Word, then hit the spelling/grammar function. It will indicate where and then offer suggestions to fix them. Then, once you've fixed them save it, re-copy and re-paste back into your hubpage. I hope you don't take offense to my suggestion. I just know how "nitpicky" people because I've done my share of editing and know what they expect. Thanks my friend, good read and keep on writing!

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 

    10 years ago from West By God

    I haven't found it yet. It sounds similar to a parrot but monkey came to mind--really tropical and we aren't near the tropics at all. I wish that I could see it when it does the sound, but even with banoculars, it can hide in the trees and then it flies away that I miss it. Very smart bird.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 

    10 years ago from West By God

    Bob, someone in the comments needs your assistance on one of my hubs:

    Could you go clear it up for them, please?

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    LG you are welcome, does it sound like this.

    and maanju, thanks fro dropping by.

  • maanju profile image


    10 years ago from India

    Nice hub.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 

    10 years ago from West By God


  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks RT.

    C.S. I enjoy sitting on my deck on a summer mronign with a cup of coffee and lisetning to the birds.

    L.G. I'l see hat i can find out about your moneky sounding bird.

    Thank you all for dropping by.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 

    10 years ago from West By God

    I love songbirds! We have lots of them here in my wooded area. Hummingbirds are one of my favorites and so are the Cardinals. I tried that sound files but there was no sound and I downlaoded the free version and it has sound. Anyway, nice Hb. I just wanted to find out which bird we have that sounds like a monkey or some other tropical bird. We have never seen it but hear it alot during the summer.

  • C.S.Alexis profile image


    10 years ago from NW Indiana

    Now Bob,

    I was sure the answer had something to do with my favorite early morning "wake me up". I love to sit outside and listen to the busy birds while I have a cup of fresh, strong coffee. I had no idea about the migration of birds to the coffee fields. Thanks for sharing and allowing me a morning vision of field workers picking the beans I so love to grind into my all time favorite brew! Guess I am still learning so I am not so OLD as I feel before that first cup, LOL!

  • The Real Tomato profile image

    The Real Tomato 

    10 years ago

    Lovely tribute to the songbirds. Great title, it snapped me right up.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    I usually hear the morning birdsong before the coffee is ready, thanks for stopping by.

  • k@ri profile image

    Kari Poulsen 

    10 years ago from Ohio

    Songbirds and coffee, oh yea, both help to wake you up in the morning. I did not know this bill was in the make, nor did I realize the birds were endangered. I will have to look into this.


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