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Home
> Birding Center > Wild Bird Information > Bird Friendly Coffee

Birds and Shade Grown Coffee

Migratory birds find sanctuary in the forest environment of traditional shade grown coffee farms.  Biologists have found that shade grown coffee farms can support over 150 species of birds.  This number is only exceeded in the undisturbed tropical rainforest.

The upper canopy vegetation of shade coffee farms provides plant matter, fruits, nectar, and habitats for thriving insect communities.  These in turn provide adequate winter food for the health of migratory birds and strength for the return trip home.  The canopy also shields the ecosystem from sun, wind, and rain and enables diverse life to flourish in the under story.

"Studies in Colombia and Mexico found 97% fewer bird species in sun grown coffee than in shade grown coffee."

The Rainforest Alliance


"Full sun" coffee
plantations are replacing shade grown coffee farms.  At least one half of coffee grown in the northern neotropics has already been converted to full sun.  The deforestation necessary to create a full sun plantation is a serious spoiler of the natural environment.  This type of plantation requires massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to compensate for the increase in uncontrolled insects, the need for weed control, and the rapid sun-induced plant growth which necessitates increased nutrient intake by the coffee trees.

Benefits of Shade Grown Coffee

Click here for a selection of Song Bird shade grown coffee

Traditional shade coffee farms are vulnerable to change.  Only your demand for shade grown coffee will help to create economically stable farms and communities able to resist the development pressure that replaces coffee forests with cattle ranches, sun coffee plantations and timber harvesting
  • Preserves bird habitats
  • Maintains native tree canopy.
  • Supports rainforest preservations
  • Cultivates biodiversity
  • Protects endangered bird species.
  • Preserves the ecology of our planet for future generations.
  • Promotes organic farming methods with reduced needs for pesticides and herbicides.
  • Nurtures migratory birds for the enjoyment of all.


Information provided by the American Birding Association and Thanksgiving Coffee Company.