Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where Does Your Coffee Come From?

When you drink your coffee each morning do you:

1. Drink it and proceed with your day with no clue of the impact it is making?
2. Drink it, knowing that your cup is most likely grown in an irresponsible habitat destructive way?
or... do you...
3. Drink it and feel good knowing it was shade-grown and that you have made an impact in preventing habitat destruction?

Well... let's hope you answered #3. If you answered #1, I forgive you. If you answered #2 - it is time for a change.

Here's the deal. To make a long story short, coffee (long ago) was grown mostly in shade covered environments in tropical areas that hosted hundred of migratory birds and other species of plants and animals. Things were good. We could drink coffee with little adverse impacts on the environment.

Flash forward to today and Coffee is still very much in demand and a driving force of many economies in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, etc. However, man has found yet another way to mass produce something without thinking of anything more than the mighty dollar! Most coffee today is grown irresponsibly in areas that were cleared out to grow sun tolerant coffee without the trees that once owned the land. The good news is more coffee. The bad news is less trees - less habitat - less birds - less plants - and less species of whatever once utilized the trees to survive. The local farmers which are mostly doing all they can to survive are working and/ or growing on farms that give them the most benefit - the farms that are growing the sun tolerant coffee.

More good news! There are several GREAT initiatives out there that are actively working with farmers to educate them on nature friendly ways of growing coffee and offering them opportunities to sell their coffee at fair prices so to encourage them to want to grow in this environmentally friendly manner.

So... now that you know, here are some links that you can use to learn more about shade grown and bird friendly coffee and even purchase your first bag. You can do it!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Life List 224 - ABA List 138!

I didn't get to bird much today, however, I was able to get in about 1 hour at Eagle Creek and it turned out to be an hour well spent - 2 more lifers.  Let me clarify though, that any time birding is time well spent!  I basically birded from one spot and was able to see several shore birds including my two new additions of Spotted Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs.  A few other highlights were Semi-palmated Sandpiper, and Great Egret.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A perfect October 5th, 2008!

Finally, I was able to get out and look at some birds.  I was running a bit late this morning but spent some much needed alone time birding around the Marina @ Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis.  I was quickly rewarded with a large flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers which appeared mostly to be of the "Myrtle" variety.  Some other highlights were a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and an awesome Golden-crowned Kinglet giving plenty of good looks at his "crown".  I also followed a Black and White Warbler for several minutes and at times was almost close enough to jump up and touch it - such a striking Warbler!

At 12n, I was off to attend a luncheon to celebrate the Amos Butler Audubon Society's accomplishments for the 2008 Birdathon!  All teams were recognized for their outstanding birding and fundraising efforts!  In all, the Birdathon raised approx. $28,000 this year - WOW!  After lunch, there was a silent auction that offered an amazing assortment of products, giftcards, etc. from area businesses and other Birdathon supporters.  I, of course, bought several items at SUPER deals - however, I quickly learned once I brought my items home that there was no deal good enough to prevent my wife from lecturing me about my frivolous spending habits!

After the lunch, I headed back to Eagle Creek to check out the shorebirds.  Some other birders has mentioned earlier several birds that I had yet to gain as lifers so I was hoping that they would still be poking around in the mud for my birding enjoyment.  To my amazement, they were all present!  I quickly gained 4 new lifers - Pectoral Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Plover,  and Solitary Sandpiper!  

The weather was crisp, clear, and warm!  Not a cloud in the sky!  Birding was good, complete with four new lifers AND after a terrible first 3 quarters, the Colts made an awesome comeback and beat Houston - could there be a better day!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Birding Depression!

Have you ever been so busy that you can't find time to bird?  If so, does it drive you nuts? Do you find yourself looking at every bird picture you can find.  Browsing "Wild Bird" or "Birdwatcher's Digest" fantasizing about trips you wished you had money to take?  Staring out your window hoping for a Rufous Hummingbird?

Well, here I am... officially in a rut aching for a few minutes to bird!  Last weekend I was able to get out for about 2 hours - just enough time to want more.  I thought I had my first Least Sandpiper (6 actually) but didn't claim them because I just wasn't sure!  I had the scope on 60x and still couldn't feel 100%... maybe next time.

The birding forecast for this weekend is grim as well.  However, if I can find an hour or two, rest assured I will be looking up toward the sky hoping to see some sort of feathered life!

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal