"On the eight of November, 1519, Hernando Cortes and four hundred Spanish soldiers...approached the Aztec Byzantium-Tenochtitlan, Mexico City. The city was scattered with great aviaries where thousands of birds - white egrets, energetic wrens and thrushes, fierce accipiters, brilliantly colored parrots - were housed and tended. They were captivating, as fabulous, as the displays of flowers: vermilion flycatchers, coppertailed trogons, green jays, blue-throated hummingbirds, and summer tanagers. Great blue herons, brooding condors.
"Eleven months later, after being driven from the city, a vengeful Cortes returned to lay siege to the city.
"On June 16  in a move calculated to humiliate and frighten the Mexican people, Cortes set fire to the aviaries."