Adapted from Jim Conrad's online book A Birding Trip through Mexico, This excerpt from "Around the Ruins of Palenque" in northern Chiapas state
In the middle of the morning, very hot, getting tired, on a steep slope inside dense vegetation, about to give up birding for the day, I lean against a tree, raise my head, and see exactly what I sketch above. In a sunbeam, a Northern Royal-flycatcher spreads its crest, fans its tail and opens its wings, causing an explosion of living light, a transcendent moment.
In a split second, the crest disappears, the wings and tail jerk into their usual configuration, and in the next second the bird is gone.
If I were a Maya shaman in another time and age, what kind of sign might this be?
I have never experienced such an exquisite instant of being with a bird.