Good afternoon, all! Boa tarde todos!
We write you from the warm, dry sunshine of Fazenda Ambiental
Fortaleza. It is hard to believe we have been here for almost 1 month.
After settling on the farm, 2 members of the Mococa regional bird
watching club joined us for several days to start learning our
Brazilian birds. As we are primarily experienced in Illinois birding
in, you can imagine just how novel this experience is turning out to
be. The colors, the songs, the habitats: what a perfect world to
discover the relationship between these birds and the coffee farm.
While not birding during the first week and a half, we increased our
knowledge of coffee. Alex Kunzelman, a coffee roaster at
Street Roastery in Champaign IL, spent 2 weeks here at FAF so we
joined in several cupping sessions, coffee sorting (for improved
quality) and conversations about the coffee practices here and in the
partnering Bobolink farms. The beauty of this project lies in the
interconnectedness of agriculture and the ever-present ecology. Just
today we saw monkeys and capybaras, both in close proximity to some
very exciting species of birds.
We spent the 20th to the 29th in the city of Campos do Jordao working
at the International Ornithological Congress in conjunction with the
University of Sao Paulo. This proved to be a very interesting
experience, as we were able to attend lectures on the gamut of
ornithological topics from researchers all around the world. Hopefully
some of our newfound knowledge will be beneficial for the farm and
Following the Congress, we returned to FAF with Marcos, Silvia, and
Dr. Russell Greenburg from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Dr.
Greenburg stayed for 2 days before returning to the US and helped us
identify many new species. We believe this is just the beginning of
future partnership between the Smithsonian and FAF. On Sunday,
ornithologist Patrick Pina of the University of Sao Paulo joined us,
planning on staying for the next week. He will return later in
September with wild animal veterinarian / our advisor Fabiola Prioste,
also of USP, for intensive surveying of specific trails that we are
now outlining. This project is proving to be wildly successful and
very educational. We have talked with many residents of the farms
about our project and their knowledge of birds and will be beginning
official interviews soon.
Thank you for your support. We are beyond grateful for this experience
and hope that everyone has a chance to visit FAF. It has not rained
here for over 4 months, but we anticipate the rain and hope the hills
turn green once more. Then the bird populations will really skyrocket.
The last month has flown, but we promise to share news more
frequently. Look forward to more updates in the near future, and we
would love to answer questions!
Lauren Williams & Lauren Flowers