Jan.13,2007. M.Sekine

The book "La Mansion del Pajaro Serpiente" written by the Guatemalan writer Virgilio Rodriguez Macal, made a deep impression on me. This book gives a lot of information about Guatemala's tropical rain forests, a nesting ground for birds and other wildlife. Especially, I am really interested in a specific bird, Resplendent Quetzal. The Resplendent Quetzal is one of the most stunning and beautiful birds in the world. A member of the Trogon family, the Resplendent Quetzal has an iridescent green body, fluffy-looking crown, cherry-red breast, and shimmering tail feathers that can reach two feet or longer in length, provide a vision of tropical beauty that most people would never forget. Its feathers actually change colors, from emerald-green to cobalt blue, or vice versa due to refraction of sunlight.
The beauty of the Resplendent Quetzal has been admired for centuries. According to local folklore, the birds are the symbol of freedom. According to the myth, if Quetzals are captured, they die from being brokenhearted. The Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, and even named their monetary unit the "quetzal" in honour of it. It is said that the famous Japanese manga artist, the late Tezuka Osamu's "Hinotori; The Phoenix" comes from these birds.
But, to my disappointment, this bird is very rare in Guatemala. So, I trekked in the Savegre Cloud Forest Preserve, surrounding Cerro de la Muerte in the Central Plateau of Costa Rica in an attempt to capture a glimpse of this magnificent bird. Costa Rica protects over 25% of its national territory within national parks. It also possesses the greatest density of species for any place in the world. Costa Rica was the first country in the world to abolish its army in its constitution. Coincidentally, Japan's constitution's famous Article Nine renounces war. Maybe I was fated to go to Costa Rica. Costa Rica seems to me to be a land of dreams for people and wild life.
The Resplendent Quetzal relies heavily on the fruit of wild avocados for food. Because Quetzals are among the only fruit-eating birds able to eat these fruits, it is thought that the wild avocados are quite reliant on them to disperse their seeds. Quetzals and wild avocado trees both need each other. In other word, Quetzals coexist in symbiosis and interdependency with the wild avocado trees. I hope that people and wild life on the world coexist side by side like Quetzals and the wild avocados. Let me say "Gracias!" to wonderful Costa Rica.

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