My name is Maia and I am very happy that I got a chance to meet The World Trek Team. I have been in Guatemala for a week traveling with them and helping them capture video, take pictures, etc. They asked me to share with you some of the things that I have seen and learned while with them. I wanted to make my first story for you about a legendary bird of the rainforest, the Quetzal.
He was mortally wounded and blood covered his chest. The Quetzal, who never submitted itself to captivity, wanted to keep Tecum Umanís spirit alive. So, the bird flew and landed with its own chest on the blood of the brave Maya chief.
For this reason, people say, the feathers on the chest of the Quetzal are red.
The legendary Quetzal, depicted on Maya monuments, murals in caves, ceramic pots and jade sculpted figures, continues to be a very important image in the Maya culture.
There is also the highest award, called La Orden de Quetzal, which is given to national and foreign citizens in recognition for special services rendered to the Guatemalan nation.
But if you come to Guatemala, one reason you could always remember the word Quetzal is because this is the name of their currency. Currently, one US dollar is worth approximately seven Quetzales.
The Quetzals live in the high mountains, especially in the Coban region of northern Guatemala. Itís easy to distinguish the male from the female because of his elegant three-foot-long tail.
Deforestation has caused great damage to the Quetzalís natural habitat, because it impacts its nesting habits. The female lays her eggs in a hole in the trunk of a dead tree, called tocon, because it is softer wood.
The Quetzals are very protective of their nests and will alternate shifts while taking care of their offspring. The new birds generally stay in the nest for eighteen days. After its first flight it wonít come back to the nest.
The green color of its feathers is a smart way to camouflage against the green color of the trees. To escape from its predators, the Quetzal can fly really low, gliding over the green canopies and becoming almost invisible. Then, when it is safe, it will rise again and soar up into the blue sky on its flight to freedom.
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