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Coffee, pesticides and deforestation contributing to loss of migratory songbirds

Coffee, pesticides and deforestation contributing to loss of migratory songbirds

The morning serenades of nature in New Brunswick have quieted down over the years and a declining songbird population is to blame, according to a conservation biologist, wrote the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal May 14:

“Both at the provincial level, and even at the national level, you have dozens of species of songbirds that are in serious decline,” says Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds and The Bird Detective: Investigating the Secret Lives of Birds.

Stutchbury, Canada Research Chair in  Ecology and Conservation Biology in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, was scheduled to be in Fredericton on Thursday to deliver a public lecture on the severity and the impact of the province’s songbird decline.

Stutchbury said the causes for the decline are plentiful. Pesticide use and deforestation are two. Coffee is one of the biggest culprits in the case of migratory birds, she said, because forests are cleared to make way for the coffee plantations, pushing the birds out of their refuges. “The sun-grown coffee is grown the way we would grow corn, completely out in the open in these massive fields. Row after row after row of coffee plants and not a tree in sight,” Stutchbury said.

Switching from sun-grown coffee to shade-grown coffee that’s grown in the forest would be a step in the right direction, she said. Reducing pesticide use and encouraging sustainable logging practices are other ways to stop the decline.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.