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Readers react to articles about bird-friendly windows, coffee, and more

BW0413-WindowsWe always love to hear from readers about the articles and photos we publish. Below are letters to the editor received recently. Most appeared in our June 2013 issue. You can send us a letter, too. Here’s how.

Stick ’em up!

Thanks for the article Surefire Ways to Make Windows Friendly to Birds (April 2013, shown above). We have successfully used a low-budget, simple technique for reducing bird-window collisions. We remove the little labels on fruits (only some are still sticky) and apply them to the outside of our windows.

When we place them behind the mullions, they are invisible from inside; in other areas, they do not show in the day and look like snow at night. When we complete the pattern of stickers at four-inch intervals, we rarely get birds striking that window. So far, the stickers have lasted two to three years, but there seems to be a limitless supply of free stickers to replace the ones that fall off. — Timothy Williams, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

BirdSavers are different

Thank you for Surefire ways to make windows friendly to birds. The article is very good, but I have a few comments. A sidebar lists three simple ways to prevent window collisions: No. 1. Move feeders closer to your windows. No. 2. Close curtains. No. 3. Move houseplants away from windows.

Those three things become irrelevant and unnecessary if BirdSavers are on the window. And closing the curtains won’t necessarily stop the window from looking like a mirror, which is normally what causes birds to fly into windows.

BirdSavers differ from the other products listed as ways to prevent bird-window collisions in that they do not need to be purchased. BirdSavers can be made easily by anyone. I feel that anyone who uses the design will be convinced that it should be at the top of the list of techniques to prevent bird-window collisions. — Jeff Acopian,

Better than ever

Thanks and congrats on your April issue. I get a variety of birding magazines, but yours is my favorite. What I like is your full-waterfront inclusion of academic findings, color photos, hotspots, ID tips, biography, book reviews, history, columnists, and even your ads. Here’s to your continued success! — Tom Wilberding, Boulder, Colorado

More color, please

I always enjoy reading your magazine and especially appreciate the sidebars, which provide sources of additional information, such as websites or books. Your articles stimulate interest and allow me to then learn more about the topics that interest me. I found Eldon Greij’s column about feather colors very interesting (“Amazing Birds,” April 2013) but noted it didn’t provide additional sources of information. Any books or websites on the topic would be appreciated. — Dan Getman, Kirksville, Missouri

Editor’s note: We don’t always have room to include sources of additional information. In this case, I would have recommended Where Feather Colors Come From, by Julie Feinstein (Birder’s World, June 2006) and National Geographic Bird Coloration, a book by Ivory-bill hunter Geoffrey Hill (National Geographic, 2010). We included Hill’s book in the roundup we published in June 2010.

Ruby, round kinglet

Thank you so much for Kenn Kaufman’s excellent article on kinglets (“ID Tips,” February 2013). For me, the first key to identifying a Ruby-crowned Kinglet is its nearly spherical shape. That’s why I always call it the Rubicund Kinglet. — George Wrangham, Wayne, Pennsylvania

Coffee convert

Thank you for Julie Craves’s article The True Cost of Coffee (February 2013). Perhaps even more than three cups of coffee in the morning, your article really woke me up to the importance of habitat loss in Central America and the devastating effects of sun-grown coffee. You changed my mind about purchasing grocery-store coffee. Now I buy all of my coffee from Café Campesino, a local roaster here in my hometown. I’m a convert. — Phil Hardy, Americus, Georgia

Costa Rican exception

Julie Craves stated that Costa Rican coffee is most likely sun-grown. I wanted to let you know about Café Cristina, which is truly shade-grown with the intent of preserving and providing the best possible environment for birds and wildlife. Bill Hilton of Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History has taken hummingbird-banding expeditions there. The coffee is very good, too! We look forward to your magazine. Thank you! — Marlys Wessels, Decatur, Illinois

Editor’s note: Thanks for the info! As Julie explained on her blog Coffee and Conservation (Coffee Growing in Costa Rica, Jan. 24, 2007), Café Cristina is more the exception than the rule. Coffee growers in Costa Rica designate a lot of coffee as “shade coffee,” but their definition is very loose; only a few scattered, heavily pruned trees are considered “shade trees.”

True cost of coffee

Julie Craves’s article on coffee in general and shade-grown coffee in particular was very good. It made me switch to the recommended type. — Roger Tess, Tucson, Arizona

Thanks for all the great letters. Keep ’em coming!Matt Mendenhall, Managing Editor Originally Published

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