Early this fall, the tiny Wilson's Warbler began its long migration to Belize, where it winters. Navigating by the stars, the 1/4-ounce bird made a series of night flights spanning more than 2500 miles. This warbler returns to the same coffee plantation each year. Taller trees that shade the coffee are a winter home for many migrants from North America.
By buying shade-grown coffee, you can help migratory birds, including the Wilson's Warbler. See below for more information.
Wilson’s Warblers Benefit from Shade-grown Coffee
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Wilson’s Warbler song in tropical setting, light stream running]
In summer, tiny, bright yellow Wilson’s Warblers nest in western forests and across Canada’s boreal zone. The males look like they’re wearing a little black beret. By September, all are headed south, to Central America. Navigating by the stars, these ¼-ounce birds make a series of night flights spanning more than 2500 miles.
Now in December, you’d encounter one such Wilson’s Warbler in Belize. The bird arrived a month ago in lowland Belize, at precisely the same spot in the same coffee plantation where it has wintered each year of its life. [Wilson’s Warbler call notes with tropical background]
The warbler flits among the dark green coffee trees, now covered in richly scented white blossoms. Taller trees that shade the coffee plants are a winter home for other migrants from North America as well, like Summer Tanagers and Baltimore Orioles. [Song of Baltimore Oriole] They’ve joined the birds that live here year round.
[Keel-billed Toucan calling] There’s a Keel-billed Toucan, a bird with a massive, multi-colored bill!
If you’re a coffee drinker, consider buying coffee grown in the shade. When you do, you’ll aid the success of more than 150 species of migratory birds, including the Wilson’s Warbler. You can find out more about how to purchase shade-grown coffee, when you begin at BirdNote.org.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Wilson’s Warbler song  recorded by M.D. Medler; call notes of Wilson’s Warbler  recorded in Guatemala by Cullen Hanks; song of Baltimore Oriole  by A.A. Allen; Keel-billed Toucan call  recorded by M.D. Medler. Ending ambient (crickets) drawn from Black-mandibled Toucan  recorded by D.L. Ross.
Stream in a Belize forest Nature SFX Essentials #40 recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Exec. Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org Dec. 2013/2015/2018/2019 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 121106WIWA2-2KPLU WIWA-02b