It's mid-winter in the northeast and our lawns are covered with about two feet of snow. Winter flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers and jays visit our feeders to help them survive the long winter nights.
These are our resident birds, birds tough enough to withstand the cold and whose diet is flexible enough to subsist on the seeds, nuts, and other foods available in sub-freezing temperatures and snow-covered landscapes.
But where are the birds that call our yards home during the summer months? Birds like Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that need a steady diet of nectar and insects and spiders? Or the Baltimore Orioles that feast on caterpillars and other insects high in the treetops? Where are our summer yard birds right now?
A mid-distance migrant, our hummingbirds' migratory flight could have taken them to Mexico or Central America as far as Costa Rica.
A mid- to long-distance migrant, orioles are spending their winter in Mexico or perhaps central or South America.
Another mid- to long-distant migrant, buntings may be found in winter in Mexico, central America and northern South America.
These birds don't go too far! They're short-distance migrants that travel to areas just south of the frost line, areas that have an average minimum temperatures of 25 degrees F.
Chippies are another short-distance migrant, wintering in the southern US.
The cat-mimic is a short- to mid-distance migrant that winters in the southern US or as far south as Panama and the West Indies. This catbird is one I saw in Florida during March 2009.
These early spring migrants don't have a real long trip. They are short- to mid-distance migrants that winter in the southern US or as far south as central America and the Caribbean.
A short- to mid-distance migrant, sapsuckers winter in the southern US, as well as central America and Caribbean.
In mid-winter and it's easy to push the well-being of these birds to the back of our mind. Out of sight - out of mind. Yet a number of these favorite summer birds are right this moment enjoying the diverse and forested habitat provided by shade-grown coffee farms. Or maybe not. Perhaps that habitat has been destroyed in order to produce sun-grown coffee, so it can grow faster and cheaper.
All year long you can act to help protect their winter homes by asking for and drinking only a Bird-friendly® shade-grown coffee like Birds & Beans™. Birds & Beans gets its beans only from shade-grown coffee farms that have been certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center as having the highest quality habitat for the birds, thus earning the coffee the Bird-friendly certification for all its blends.