One of the first coffee companies to take up the ‘Bird Friendly®’ certification was Birds & Beans Canada, founded and still operated by Madeleine Pengelley and David Pritchard. Building on their start, in 2008 Scott Weidensaul and Bill Wilson launched Birds & Beans® coffee to make it easy for coffee drinkers in the US to buy Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center ‘Bird Friendly’ coffee. Kenn Kaufman and Dr. Bridget Stutchbury joined us in our mission as Birds & Beans ‘Voices for the Birds’. Author and teacher Katie Fallon is our most recent ‘Voice’. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is Birds & Beans national ‘Conservation Partner’ and joins with local and regional ‘Conservation Partners’ in our bird conservation advocacy. In June 2013 we launched a program with American Bird Conservancy to work with coffee farmers in the Americas to gain Bird Friendly certification, to address challenges organic farmers face today and to educate consumers in North America about the important bird conservation and sustainability benefits generated by buying and drinking coffee with the certification.
Every bean sold by Birds & Beans is certified by independent inspectors to meet the rigorous Smithsonian standards. This is a certification based on decades of objective scientific research. Bird Friendly® coffee means that migratory songbirds we know and love have a better chance to survive while on their wintering grounds in the tropics. Sales have doubled year on year since launch. The Birds & Beans brand has been credited with bringing awareness levels of the ‘Bird Friendly®’ coffee certification and the sustainability issue it represents into broader public recognition.
Our colleague Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, author of ‘Silence of the Songbirds’, Yale PhD and Professor at York University, says the most important single step an individual can do to help stop migratory songbird population loss is to always buy certified Bird Friendly® coffee. Tropical habitat destruction is today’s biggest threat to neo-tropical migrants and sun coffee is literally killing the birds we love. Today, almost all coffee on the shelves in the US does not meet ‘Bird Friendly®’ standards