Home of an amazing number of species
Although we are a small farm, an enormous variety of native plants and animals have made this their home. 341 species of birds, more than 250 species of butterflies, 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 55 species of orchids is only a sampling of the biodiversity that can be found on it.
Café Cristina is a very important site for neotropical migrants, being one of the few remaining habitats in the eastern Central Valley of Costa Rica; literally an oasis amidst the desert of urban sprawl.
Beetle on coffee flower
smallest hummingbird in Costa Rica
Mexican Hairy Dwarf Porcupine
Orchid (Dichaea sp.)
341 species of birds on 28 acres!
Warblers, hummingbirds, tanagers, oropendolas, hawks, owls and even antpittas make this small piece of land home. Although we are an island surrounded by urban development and graze land, we are able to support an amazing bird diversity. How is this so?
First of all sound farming practices, such as NOT using ANY pesticides is a major fraction of the effort. Not using insecticides means birds can find plenty of invertebrates to feed upon. Not using herbicides allows weeds to grow, which adds another "layer" where the birds can feed, hide and even nest. Our coffee is planted under the shade of taller Erythrina trees, which also adds another substrate, a sort of canopy, in which the birds may feed. Habitat rehabilitation and enhancement is no less important. One third of our farm has been set aside as a preserve and reforested with native species. This preserve also protects both sides of the Río Birrisito as it runs through our property. We have also added a tremendous amount of diversity by planting rescued epiphytes that have fallen out of trees (eg. orchids and bromeliads) on the trunks of the shade trees.
Some of these species, such as Canada, Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Wood Thrush, are quickly declining in numbers and depend on places such as our farm to survive.