cafe, chocolate, and birds
My first pet loves were a toy white poodle named Champagne and a baby bird we named Twitty...which we believe grew up to be Pinta Roja.
All of those are long stories. The most pertinent to this article I found about preserving endangered birds is Pinta Roja.
When Twitty disappeared, Papa and I began to feed any birds that showed up in our yard. We felt it was a guarenteed food source for Twitty, if Twitty were to return to visit us.
A beautiful red-winged blackbird, all alone, began appearing a few days after we began feeding all the birds in our yard. Pinta Roja would sing outside our kitchen window, asking to be fed. He would let us within a couple of feet of him, our arm outstretched in hopes of him hopping on to us. When we got too close, he'd hop down the power line. We spent many years feeding the birds in our yard...forever we remember Pinta Roja.
2018 marked the beginning of my consciously including birds into my artwork. I made a few silhouette stencils for our local restaurant Chefs on the Run for painting up their ladies' room back in 2014. I've making it a point to use my handmade stencils and stamps during 2019 in more paintings. Watch for more birds showing up....
In the meantime, I thought the article below was super cool about helping out our feathered friends.
Smiles, with paint on my hands,
http://artdaily.com/news/108864/Coffee-and-chocolate-could-help-preserve-endangered-birds-in-According to estimates, less than 3000 Red Siskins remain in the wild in Venezuela.
Coffee and chocolate could help preserve endangered birds in Venezuela
WASHINGTON, DC.- In Venezuela, the red siskin (Spinus cucullatus), a vibrantly colored red-and-black finch, is inextricably linked with the country’s identity. It is present in poems, paintings, names of streets and sports teams and even graces the back of the 100,000 Bolivar bill, but it is rare in its natural habitat. To help reverse this, the Smithsonian and the Piedra de Cachimbo coffee farmers in northern Venezuela stepped in.
With support from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, farmers are committing to the conservation of 400 hectares of forest for traditional shade-grown organic coffee, seeking Smithsonian Bird Friendly certification of their beans. This approach is part of the Red Siskin Initiative (RSI), an international consortium in which the Smithsonian collaborates closely with Provita, a local NGO focused on the preservation of biodiversity in Venezuela, and other partners.
This will protect the siskin’s natural habitat and increase their profits. As part of the process, they have established relationships with roasters and retailers in Caracas. Their plan, which will also protect other native birds and migrants, is embedded in the Smithsonian Conservation Commons, an action network within the Smithsonian highlighting the relevance of science and innovative interdisciplinary approaches to on-the-ground conservation.
“Farm workers can help us monitor the birds, which is a big advantage. Some of these farms also border protected areas like national parks, creating a wildlife corridor,” said Brian Coyle, Conservation Commons program manager at the Smithsonian and RSI project coordinator.
In addition to coffee, the project aims to include another agroforestry crop: cacao. The Bird Friendly certification standards for cacao are currently being developed by the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center, which created the Bird Friendly program based on decades of scientific research. Currently, the RSI is producing a red siskin-branded chocolate bar made from organically sourced cacao. The profits go back to farmers, research and RSI conservation efforts.
This initiative has also achieved a better understanding of illegal bird trafficking networks, which will allow for more focused preventive actions, based on research led by Ada Sanchez-Mercado at Provita and Kate Rodriguez-Clark at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. One proposed solution is to supply enough captive-bred birds to fulfill the demand, an approach that proved effective with other bird species. For this, the RSI partners with private breeders in the United States and Australia who help figure out how to best breed the red siskin in captivity.
“We could lose the red siskin in 10 years if we do nothing about it,” said Miguel Arvelo, RSI coordinator for Venezuela and conservationist at Provita. “If we lose this bird, we will have lost part of what it means to be Venezuelan.”
Additional components of the RSI include genetics, animal husbandry, health and breeding research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, SCBI and the National Zoo.
“In 20 or 30 years we envision a flock of dozens of beautiful red birds flying against the bright blue sky,” Coyle said. “It would be inspiring for the people in Venezuela and elsewhere, knowing that conservation does work and getting their support for more of it. Conservation can’t succeed if the community doesn’t get behind it.”
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