The white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a small songbird
that breeds in old-growth woodland across much of temperate North
America. It is a stocky nuthatch with a large head, short tail, powerful
bill, and strong feet. The upperparts are pale blue-gray, and the face
and underparts are white. It has a black cap and a chestnut lower belly.
The nine subspecies differ mainly in the color of the body plumage. Like
other nuthatches, the white-breasted nuthatch forages for insects on
trunks and branches and is able to move head-first down trees. Seeds
form a substantial part of its winter diet, as do acorns and hickory
nuts that were stored by the bird in the fall. The nest is in a hole in
a tree, and a breeding pair may smear insects around the entrance as a
deterrent to squirrels. Adults and their young may be killed by hawks,
owls, and snakes, and forest clearance may lead to local habitat loss,
but this is a common species with no major conservation concerns over
most of its range.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
The speculative bubble for rare tulip bulbs (catalog pictured)
in the Dutch Republic burst, marking the decline of tulip mania.
Prospectors in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia, discovered the
largest alluvial gold nugget ever found, known as the “Welcome
Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announced the creation of
Bakelite, the world’s first synthetic plastic.
A Mark 15 nuclear bomb disappeared off the shores of Tybee
Island, Georgia, after it was jettisoned during a practice exercise when
the bomber carrying it collided in midair with a fighter plane.
Eighty-seven tornadoes occurred over the course of the Super
Tuesday tornado outbreak across multiple U.S. states, causing 56 deaths
and over $1 billion in damage.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
shoot one’s cuffs:
To straighten one’s arms with a sudden movement to make the cuffs of
one’s shirt appear beyond the sleeves of one’s coat or jacket.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The strange alchemy of time has somehow converted the Democrats
into the truly conservative party of this country — the party
dedicated to conserving all that is best, and building solidly and
safely on these foundations. The Republicans, by contrast, are behaving
like the radical party — the party of the reckless and the embittered,
bent on dismantling institutions which have been built solidly into our
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