[Daily article] February 17: Newton’s parakeet

Newton’s parakeet (Psittacula exsul) is an extinct species of parrot
that was endemic to the Mascarene island of Rodrigues in the western
Indian Ocean. Several of its features diverged from related species,
indicating long-term isolation and adaptation on Rodrigues. Around 40
centimetres (16 in) long, Newton’s parakeet was roughly the size of the
rose-ringed parakeet, a close relative and probable ancestor. Its
plumage was mostly greyish or slate blue, although most species in its
genus are green. Little is known about its behaviour; it may have fed on
nuts of the bois d’olive tree, along with leaves. It was very tame, and
was able to mimic speech. Newton’s parakeet was first written about by
the French Huguenot François Leguat in 1708, and was mentioned only a
few times by other writers. The bird became scarce due to deforestation
and perhaps hunting, and was probably wiped out by a series of cyclones
and storms that hit Rodrigues in the late 19th century. Only two
specimens remain, both from the 1870s.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1621:

Myles Standish was elected as the first commander of the
Plymouth Colony militia, a position he would hold for the rest of his
life.

1859:

The French Navy captured the Citadel of Saigon, a fortress that
was manned by 1,000 Nguyễn dynasty soldiers, en route to conquering
Saigon and other regions of southern Vietnam.

1913:

In the U.S. National Guard’s 69th Regiment Armory in New York
City, the Armory Show opened, introducing Americans to avant-garde and
modern art.

1964:

Gabonese military officers overthrew President Léon M’ba, but
France, honoring a 1960 treaty, forcibly reinstated M’ba the next day.

2006:

A massive landslide (damage pictured) in the Philippine
province of Southern Leyte killed over 1,000 people.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

Sturm und Drang:
1. A proto-Romantic movement in German literature and music which occurred
from the late 1760s to the early 1780s, emphasizing individual
subjectivity and the free expression of emotions.
2. Turmoil; a period of emotional intensity and anxiety.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  If all things are in common among friends, the most precious is
Wisdom. What can Juno give which thou canst not receive from Wisdom?
What mayest thou admire in Venus which thou mayest not also contemplate
in Wisdom? Her beauty is not small, for the lord of all things taketh
delight in her. Her I have loved and diligently sought from my youth up.
 
–Giordano Bruno

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