Resplendent quetzals in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica


This video says about itself:

Wildlife, Hummingbirds and Resplendent Quetzal in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

27 March 2014. As I said in my earlier blog post, that morning we went to a resplendent quetzal nest in San Gerardo de Dota.

Resplendent quetzals make their nest in woodpeckers’ holes in trees, which they enlarge.

Resplendent quetzal tail, 27 March 2014

Male and female quetzals take turns at sitting on the eggs. The male’s tail is usually too long for the nest. So it sticks out, like at this nest.

This morning, the female left the nest at 5:15. The usual time for shifts on the nest is three hours.

Resplendent quetzal male's head and tail, 27 March 2014

At 9:07, so after almost four hours, the male gets his head out of the nest. What takes her so long in taking over?

Resplendent quetzal male on branch, 27 March 2014

Four minutes later, the male leaves the nest and sits down on a branch.

Resplendent quetzal male with tail, 27 March 2014

It is not easy to photograph a male resplendent quetzal showing all of the bird, including the long beautiful tail feathers. And resplendent quetzals here in Costa Rica don’t even have tails as long as their Mexican colleagues; as TED Geography writes:

Today, the Quetzal’s range actually extends from southern Mexico through Western Panama in mountain regions with an elevation of 4,000 to 10,000 feet. At some point in time the [sub]species of Pharomachrus mocinno were separated into a Northern and Southern [sub]species by the stretch of lowlands that covers parts of southern Guatemala, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. The southern species is Pharomachrus mocinno costaricensis and differs from the northern species by its shorter, narrower tail plumes on the male. Costa Rica’s Quetzals are more fortunate, since Costa Rica marshalled funds by abolishing its army in 1948 to establish an extensive system of national parks and wildlife reserves to protect the habitat of the Quetzal.

Resplendent quetzal male back to nest, 27 March 2014

At 9:26, the male gets back into the nest, as the female has not arrived yet and the eggs should not get cold.

Resplendent quetzal male back into nest, 27 March 2014

Resplendent quetzal male tail at mossy tree nest, 27 March 2014

Later that day, further in the valley, at 16:45, we see another quetzal nest. That tree is more mossy, but the male’s tail sticking out is just as beautiful.

At 17:15, we are back at the first nest. The male’s tail is still sticking out. Has the female left him in the lurch all day?

We don’t know that, because we were not present there from the morning till late in the afternoon. However, we did see the female arrive at 17:25. The male got out.

Resplendent quetzal female back to nest, 27 March 2014

17:42: after putting her head into the nest opening a few times tentatively, the female disappears into the hole for her turn.

She should not have waited a long time, as squirrels sometimes use the intervals between the bird couple’s turns to steal eggs.

Quetzals cannot live in captivity; making them a symbol of freedom in Central America.

According to TED Geography in the USA, about the resplendent quetzal:

This famous bird has a long history, as it was the spiritual protector of the Mayan chiefs. It is said that the Quetzal would accompany them everywhere, aiding them in battle, and dying when they died. Legend has it that when Spanish Conquistado[r] Pedro de Alvarado and his Spaniards attacked the Mayans in 1524, the Quetzal appeared crying out and pecking at Alvarado.

At the exact moment when Alvarado pierced Tecum Uman [the chief], the sacred Quetzal fell silent and plummeted to earth, covering the body of the regal [Mayan] with its long and soft green plumes. After keeping a deathwatch through the night, the bird that rose from the cacique’s [chieftain’s] lifeless body was transformed. It was no longer the pure green of jade. Its breast had soaked up the blood of the fallen warrior, and so, too, became crimson, the shade of Mayan blood, as it has remained to this day (Maslow, p.19).

The Mayans proved just as unlucky as their chief; 30,000 of them succumbed to the superior firepower of the Spaniards.

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Big Maya archaeological discovery in Guatemala


This 2011 video is about earlier archaeological discoveries in Holmul, Guatemala.

From National Geographic:

Giant Maya Frieze Found in Guatemala

Archaeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below an ancient stucco frieze recently unearthed in the buried Maya city of Holmul in the Peten region of Guatemala. Sunlight from a tunnel entrance highlights the carved legs of a ruler sitting atop the head of a Maya mountain spirit.

The enormous frieze—which measures 26 feet by nearly 7 feet (8 meters by 2 meters)—depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. It was discovered in July in the buried foundations of a rectangular pyramid in Holmul.

Maya archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli and his team were excavating a tunnel left open by looters when they happened upon the frieze. “The looters had come close to it, but they hadn’t seen it,” Estrada-Belli said.

According to Estrada-Belli, the frieze is one of the best preserved examples of its kind. “It’s 95 percent preserved. There’s only one corner that’s not well preserved because it’s too close to the surface, but the rest of it isn’t missing any parts,” said Estrada-Belli, who is affiliated with Tulane University, Boston University, and the American Museum of Natural History and who is also a National Geographic Explorer. …

Caught Between Two Great Powers

The section of the temple at Holmul where the frieze was found dates back to about 590 A.D., which corresponds to the Maya classical era, a period defined by the power struggles between two major Maya dynasties: Tikal and Kaanul.

The two kingdoms competed with one another for resources and for control of other, smaller Maya city-states. Until now, however, it had been unclear which dynasty Holmul owed its allegiance to, but an inscription on the newly discovered frieze reveals that the temple was commissioned by Ajwosaj, ruler of a neighboring city-state called Naranjo, which archaeologists know from other discoveries was a vassal city of the Kaanul kingdom.

“We now know that Holmul was under the influence of the Kaanul dynasty,” Canuto said.

In 2012, Canuto’s team found and deciphered a series of hieroglyphically inscribed panels at another Maya city of a similar size to Holmul, called La Corona, which was also under the patronage of the Kaanul kingdom.

Guatemalan murderous ex-dictator on trial


This video is called Inside Story Americas: Guatemala: Struggling for justice.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Witness gives account of 1982 village massacre

Thursday 21 March 2013

The first witness in the trial of Guatemala’s former US-backed dictator General Efrain Rios Montt testified on Tuesday that soldiers razed his village in 1982.

Nicolas Brito, the first of at least 150 witnesses to give testimony in the trial of Gen Rios Montt, said that troops killed dozens in the attack.

Mr Brito, an indigenous Ixil who survived the army’s attack on the village of Canaque, said he escaped and watched as soldiers attacked.

“A lot of women died because they were preparing the dough for tortillas and couldn’t run,” he added.

“The soldiers tore their victims’ hearts out and put them on a little table.”

In a 1982 coup Gen Rios Montt took power and held it for just over a year.

Prosecutors say during that time he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas.

Maya and fake apocalypse


This video says about itself:

2012, NASA and the Mayan Calendar

Answers to some questions about 2012 from NASA’s Ask an Astrobiologist, Dr. David Morrison, and information about ancient Mayan calendars and their base 20 numerical system.

From Scientific American:

December 23, 2012

Maya Civilization Provides A Real Apocalyptic Lesson

Research shows that what laid low Mayan society was climate change, which brought prolonged drought. David Biello reports.

You survived the Mayan apocalypse, or at least transitioned to the next baktun, number 14 according to the Mayan calendar. But what real lessons does this ancient culture hold?

First and foremost, the Maya are a case study in adaptation. Their complex civilization of powerful city-states collapsed, and the jungle retook those urban centers. But the Mayan people endured, today being the principle ethnic population of parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

European invaders did not end the era of the Mayan city-state. Although it was descendants of those Europeans who came up with this apocalypse mumbo-jumbo.

Research shows that what laid low Mayan society was something more insidious: climate change. A subtle shift in weather patterns brought less rain and the Mayan civilization was simply unable to cope with a prolonged dry period punctuated by several severe droughts.

Given that our highly complex civilization is also facing climate change, it might make sense to look back to the Maya for a glimpse of our future. Today much of the former Mayan city-states are nature preserves, dotted by ruins. Will we do better when faced with crippling and long-lasting drought in this, the 14th baktun?

Maya queen’s tomb discovery


This video is called Tomb of Maya queen K’abel discovered in Guatemala.

From Science, Space & Robots:

Tomb of Lady K’abel, Maya Queen and Holy Snake Lord, Discovered in Guatemala

The tomb of Lady K’abel, a late 7th century Maya Holy Snake Lord and queen has been discovered in Guatemala. Archaeologists used the carved alabaster vessel … to help conclude the tomb they found belonged to K’abel. The vessel was found inside the burial chamber. Archaeologists say K’abel is considered one of the great queens of Classic Maya civilization.

The scientists say in a release that a “depiction of the woman, mature with a lined face and a strand of hair in front of her ear, and four glyphs carved into the jar” are evidence the tomb is K’abel’s. Other vessels in the tomb and carvings on the outside of the tomb also lead researchers to believe the tomb belonged to the ancient queen.

David Freidel, Washington University in St. Louis archaeologist and co-director of the expedition, says, “The Classic Maya civilization is the only ‘classical’ archaeological field in the New World – in the sense that like archaeology in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia or China, there is both an archaeological material record and an historical record based on texts and images.”

Freidel explains the findings in this video and why they are confident the tomb belongs to K’abel. He says, “It’s as close to a smoking gun in archaeology as you can get.” Freidel says K’abel was both a queen and a supreme warlord.

See also here. And here. And here. And here.