An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
of November 15, 2005
written at Hacienda San Juan Lizarraga
one kilometer east of Telchac Pueblo, Yucatán, MÉXICO
and issued from Hotel Reef Yucatan 13 kms to the north


Though quite possibly I am the most contented person I know, I have to say that anytime I look at a healthy, free wild bird it makes me even more cheerful. Just seeing the Tropical Mockingbird with the blue sky behind him, perched on the gracefully arching, yellow petiole of a fan palm next to my door swaying idly in the summery afternoon wind makes me smile all inside.

In fact, often I've thought that if I had a millionaire friend I'd urge him or her to set up a sort of clinic where people with the blues or even hardcore depression could come, and I would raise their spirits back to healthy levels by introducing them to nature study, with bird-looking being the main therapy. It would be like an oldtime sanetorium, except that instead of healing with hot mineral baths and weird diets I'd heal with bird fieldmarks and flower anatomy.

Not having such a monied benefactor, the best I can do is this: Propose that during the upcoming season of gift-giving you consider giving the gift of nature study, especially bird watching. The appropriate gifts are fieldguides (illustrated books for identifying things), binoculars, and a handlens for magnifying insect wing venation and the innards of small flowers -- also a note saying that my website is at

Note that my page on fieldguides, with links to so you can review and buy them online, is at

My binocular page is at

My handlens page is at

My "Three Steps to Discovering Nature" page is at