The Man that Tries to Save the Cuban National Bird

José Ramón Arteaga proudly shows the flock of birds that live in the La Yaya Farm close to the city of Santa Clara and stresses that it was hard to stabilize the animals in the area.He remembers that it all began some years ago in the middle of a terrible drought. At that moment he noticed how the birds would just leave. In order to stop the exodus he placed containers with food and water within the foliage.

Full of joy, he explained that among the first to return were Woodpeckers, hummingbirds, mockingbirds and lastly a couple of tocororos.

Ramoncito, as he is called, said that his enthusiasm was enormous because he knows that the tocororo is an endemic species and considered the Cuban National Bird and it cannot live in captivity. Experts affirm that it is in danger of extinction.

That is why, he multiplied his work and desires to guarantee a habitat, stable life and safe reproduction.

After so many hardships to accomplish his objective he made holes in the trunks of the trees destined to satisfy the reproductive needs of all the species that use the cavities.

Ramon recalls that he was advised to use ceramic containers with a hole in the center in order for the Tocororos to nest. He stressed that these birds are very observant and distrustful and take a long time to enter the hole.

He then designed area with colors of the tree trunks and that is how the idea began to work and saw the Priotetus temenurus population grow.

Its been over five years since La Yaya renewed the bird wildlife and now there is an endless number of sounds that attract those that pass through the area and experts.

Technical Deputy Director of the Camilo Cienfuegos zoo in Santa Clara, Miguel Ruiz commented that they advise the workers of the farm in order to avoid mistakes in the management of animals.

They, for example advised Ramoncito to plant a Cuban tree that has tasty seeds within the coffee plantation because its among the food most preferred by the birds.

Ruiz explains among the designs of the harvest is to leave fruits on the plants as natural food for the birds.

Over 24 variety of fruit trees are grown in the farm along with coffee and valuable trees among them, cedar, and mahogany among others.

What has been highly achieved in the region is environmental education among the members of the family, neighbors, workers and visitors, said Ruiz.

They have achieved educating children that live in the area and have eliminated any harassing or searching for birds, he said.

This is due to the intense work of all in the area and Ramoncito’s reiterated explanation of the importance of having wild birds live in the farms, said Ruiz.

Outside the center of the city of Santa Clara, close to the main highway, the bird’s sounds of “to-co-ro-ro” adorns the afternoons: the sounds are the male attracting the female or simply calling out to their breeds to return to the nest, action that in the animal world means happiness and quality of life. (can)

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