Birds and Blooms Blog

Get the latest birding and gardening tips from our expert bloggers.

The Beauty of Bird-Friendly Coffee

scarlettanagerbag

Bird-friendly coffee. Have you heard this term and wondered what it means? I know I didn’t the first time I heard it.

Let me explain it in a nutshell. Basically, bird-friendly coffee means that the coffee is grown in the shade. And by growing the coffee in shade, it helps to protect vital habitats that support bird populations. In fact, it helps support many of the birds that show up in our backyards every year. Baltimore orioles, summer tanagers, yellow warblers, barn swallows, indigo buntings, ruby-throated hummingbirds…these are just a few of the birds that you can help protect by buying and drinking coffee grown in the shade.

If you want to do your part by drinking bird-friendly coffee, then I would encourage you to check out the company Birds & Beans. They were our supporters this spring for our Bird Day Challenge. They have an outstanding reputation among birders as being a wonderful company with really great-tasting coffee. (Our staff has tasted it, and they agree.) Now we don’t go around endorsing just any product, but we really want people to know what a worthwhile concept shade-grown coffee is and what a good company this is.

Curious about shade-grown coffee? You can look for it at your local store (or ask a manager to start carrying Birds & Beans). Though an even easier way to try it is to order some coffee through the Birds & Beans online store. Be sure to come back and let us know what you think. Or if you’ve tried shade-grown coffee and have additional recommendations, leave them here!

 

 

 

 

Costa Rican Bird Species

Rob Ripma

I’ve been traveling in Costa Rica for the last week and have seen some incredible places and even more incredible bird species. So far, I’ve visited Rancho Naturalista and Savegre Mountain Lodge and today, I’m heading to the northern part of Costa Rica to a lodge called Laguna del Lagarto. The birding has been spectacular and through yesterday, my group had almost 300 bird species! The following photos are just a few of my favorites that I’ve taken so far.

We made a short stop on our drive to Rancho Naturalista at some ruins and were plesantly surprised to see a very cooperative Blue-crowned Motmot.

We made a short stop on our drive to Rancho Naturalista at some ruins and were plesantly surprised to see a very cooperative Blue-crowned Motmot.

Flame-colored Tanagers are extremely colorful birds! They were one of the stars of the show at Savegre Mountain Lodge.

Flame-colored Tanagers are extremely colorful birds! They were one of the stars of the show at Savegre Mountain Lodge.

Volcano Juncos can only be found above the treeline at the very top of the mountains.

Volcano Juncos can only be found above the treeline at the very top of the mountains.

Fiery-throated Hummingbirds are only found at high elevations. We stopped at some hummingbird feeders that had at least 20 of these coming in!

Fiery-throated Hummingbirds are only found at high elevations. We stopped at some hummingbird feeders that had at least 20 of these coming in!

 

Wisconsin State Fair Giveaway

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Did you see Melinda Myers or our giveaway signs at the Wisconsin State Fair? If so, thanks for stopping by to enter! (If not, you can still enter. There’s no purchase necessary!) Just sign up for our FREE Gardening newsletter, and that it! We’ll draw four winners total to win the following great prizes. This contest will run during the duration of the Wisconsin State Fair (July 31-August 10). Winners will be drawn in mid-August.

PRIZE 1. Self-watering containers from Gardener’s Supply Company.

PRIZE 2. A bird feeder and seed from Cole’s Wild Bird.

PRIZE 3. A garden fire sculpture from TIKI Brand.

PRIZE 4. An outdoor beanbag chair from Jaxx Bean Bags.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Attracting Butterflies with Fruit

Jill Staake

Everyone knows that butterflies love flowers. Plant the right ones, and they’ll flock to your garden. This is certainly true, but not all butterflies use flower nectar as their primary diet. Some species are more likely to drop by to visit you if you offer some fruit instead, including Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa). Others, like Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) and Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) enjoy both. Here’s the low-down on attracting butterflies with fruit.

Attracting butterflies with fruit.

Jill Staake A monarch butterfly enjoying an overripe banana.

Choose juicy fruits. Butterflies will use their proboscis to sip fruit juice just as they would flower nectar, as you can see in the photo of the monarch above. Fruits like strawberries, mangoes, oranges, and watermelon are ideal.

The riper, the better. We don’t think of bananas as “juicy”, but as they ripen, they become softer and easier for butterflies to ingest. Rather than throwing out those rotting bananas on your counter, slice them open and offer them to the butterflies in your garden.

Change fruit daily. Fruit left out overnight is likely to attract undesirable critters like raccoons, and soon becomes a smelly mess. Put fruit out in the mornings or afternoons when you’ll be around to watch – what’s the point of attracting butterflies with fruit if you’re not there to see the fun?

Use water to repel ants. Butterflies aren’t the only insects that will show interest in your fruit. Keep ants away by laying fruit in a shallow dish surrounded by water, which ants won’t cross. There’s no good way to keep off the wasps and bees, though, so keep kids and pets at a safe distance if you’re concerned about them.

Attracting Butterflies with Fruit

Jill Staake Mourning Cloaks appear in early spring, before fruit is available. They sip sap from trees then instead, but might visit your garden if you offer fruit.

Have you tried offering fruit to butterflies? What tips would you offer to others? Tell us in the comments below.

Help Us Reach—And Celebrate—500,000 likes on Facebook!

Mary Dolan

We’re so thrilled to have nearly reached 500,000 likes on Facebook. What a milestone! And it’s all because of our fantastic fans. To say thank you, we’re giving away a birding prize package from Wind & Weather. Learn more about them here, and be sure to enter our giveaway here. This prize package is perfect for those who love feeding birds!

Low Tide Beach Birding Tips

Headed to the beach to check out the shore birds? Get birding tips to make the most of your time and protect our winged friends too.

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