For The Birds

mike-webber-fiery-billed-aracariSince Nikki recently spent some time visiting our children in the States and I was working a Fall Foliage Cruise in Canada and New England, our friends Mike Webber and Muzz Laverty house sat for us and took care of our dogs. Mike and Muzz are avid
bird watchers, as are many other folks in Boquete, and take bird watching very seriously. Mike is also a great photographer and took all the accompanying photos on our property.

mike-webber-black-chested-jayNow we knew that we are “bird friendly” and we grow “bird friendly” and “shade grown” and “frog friendly” and “rain forest friendly” coffee, as do most of the small and large coffee growers in Boquete. But no one, well only one very profitable local grower I know, has invested the  thousands of dollars necessary to buy one of these marketing labels. All of these, including the Fair Trade label, are giant marketing schemes. A grower has to pay thousands of dollars to belong, then fly people down from cities in the US, pay all their expenses, wine and dine them in expensive hotels, so they can proclaim “Yes, you grow coffee” and then mike-webber-black-chested-jays
you can use their label. I know of only one grower in town that can afford that! Doesn’t all that stuff … Fair Trade and the rest … help the little guy? No. The true little guy can’t afford that stuff, and the reality is it makes it harder, not easier. Only the big and giant companies and coops can afford those marketing  schemes.

All the growers in Boquete I know ARE already bird friendly, respect the environment and grow shade grown coffee. Not for any label, but because it’s mike-webber-hummingbirdthe right thing to do! Panamanians respect the environment and because our area is heavily populated by Indigenous folks for whom unity with nature is key to their belief system, being friendly to the environment is just part of who we are.

If you want to grow the kind of fine specialty coffee we grow in Boquete, you need shade without paying for some marketing label or financing trips for muckety muck self-proclaimed experts from the States flying down to tell you. Obviously, it’s a lot more fun for coffee aficionados who are stuck behind desks
mike-webber-crimson-backed-tanagerand in tiny cubicles in the States to fly down for a working vacation in Boquete than line up at Starbucks.

Panama has 978 species of birds which we love and protect, so of course we are bird friendly. Dah! So we already knew that our farm was bird friendly … we just didn’t know how friendly! Mike and Muzz found, and photographed, birds on our property we didn’t know we had. Muzz said, “If you just sat on your back terrace and watched you could eventually count 100 species right here!”

We know we live in a spectacular spot of paradise, which is why it is hard for us to admit that the time has come in our lives when we need to seriously downsize and offer our beautiful home for sale.

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For The Birds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPanama has over 975 species of birds and sometimes I think almost all have visited our farm at one time or another.  Some of our birds are indigenous and are here year-round and others really are snow birds who migrate down to enjoy Panama when North America is freezing.  We don’t pay thousands of dollars to have a “Bird Friendly” seal, but we really ARE bird friendly and the birds seem to know it. P1000662

These guys are probably the fifth generation have been hatched in this old tree.  We have another old tree I refuse to cut down because it has been home to generation after generation of woodpeckers.

We have lots of orange and banana trees. Most of the oranges fall to the ground because although delicious, aside from our own personal use, they costas much to pick as you can get selling them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe always have a big stalk of bananas ripening in the car port which we enjoy, share with neighbors and friends, and give to the birds and our dogs. Our dogs think bananas are a great treat and they carefully peel them before eating. Unfortunately we’ve never been able to train the dogs to pick up the banana peels.

We have so many humming birds! We used to put out hummingbird feeders, but they just caused the birds to fight and fly into the house. But we’ve planted lots of flowering plants in the garden which attract humming birds. You can’t walk through the garden without spotting at least a half-dozen humming birds.

Bird watching is a popular sport for expats in Panama, and particularly in Boquete.  These are folks who take their hobby very seriously and will set out on tours all over the world just to watch the birds.

And the parrots, scores of them, especially when a number of the trees are sprouting the little fruits the parrots love.  And just before a storm blows in they all squawk and fly away at once, their iridescent green feathers catching the rays of the sun.  Truly amazing!

And in the mornings … or before a storm … when the birds all sing … it all reminds me of the old Disneyland Tiki Room where “the birds all sing and the flowers bloom in the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki room.”  Who ever thought I’d get the opportunity to live in this paradise called Panama?  All the birds are just one of the things that make this property so special. In a world sometimes seeming to have gone mad, there is something very special about a spot that is incredibly beautiful, private, peaceful and where one is surrounded by fluttering butterflies.

Click here for more information on this incredible property for sale in Boquete, Panama.

You have no idea how long it took to get this picture of FOUR hummingbirds sharing a feeder.  By nature these guys are fiercely territorial and vicious with each other when competing for territory.