Following the tracks of the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) motivated members of the workshop, “The birds, the city trees, and I,” and prompted investigation to venture closer to the natural surroundings of their locality. They started with one question: How do the holes of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker vary in the trunks of adult trees found on La Maestranza Park? Guided by a design made by the facilitators of the National Museum of Natural History of Cuba to obtain data and analyze the results, the 12 workshop participants have already dedicated themselves to look for holes made by the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on the trees found in La Maestranza. The park is close to the Museum, located between the San Carlos seminary and the entrance to the Habana Bay.
The journey of searching for the tracks of this migrating species that visits Cuba every winter took place in February of 2012. As a result, boys and girls examined a total of 60 trees representing 10 species, out of which the Coconut Palm (Cocus nuciefera L.), the Tropical Almond (Terminalia cattapa L.), and the Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) were the ones with the most evidence of pecking. On the other hand, Ficus (Ficus bejamina), Panama trees (Sterculia apetala), Yellow Poinciana (Peltophorum pterocarpum) and the Pithecellobium sp. did not have holes made by the bird.
The results obtained by the children motivated a discussion of the importance of the trees that are used by the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, as well as those that were not. The possibility to continue studying other parks in the area was also emphasized. An agreement was made from this investigation at La Maestranza Park to conduct future research in other parks by following the footsteps of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
By: Ivan Borroto and Xochitl Ayon