From today's featured article
The common tern (Sterna hirundo) is a seabird with four subspecies breeding in temperate and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. This tern is migratory, wintering in warmer coastal regions. Adults have light grey upperparts, whiter underparts, a black cap, orange-red legs, and a narrow pointed black-tipped red or all-black bill. The bird nests on any flat bare surface close to water, including rafts. The nest is a scrape lined with whatever is available. It lays up to three blotchy camouflaged eggs, incubated by both sexes, that hatch in around 21 to 22 days. The downy chicks fledge in 22 to 28 days. This tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish in the sea or freshwater. Eggs and young are vulnerable to predation by mammals and large birds. The common tern's large population and huge breeding range mean that it is classed as being of least concern. Despite international protection, in some areas populations are threatened by habitat loss or the disturbance of breeding colonies. (Full article...)
Did you know ...
- ... that the first Asian-American at West Point to be named First Captain of the cadets was John Tien (pictured), the current U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security?
- ... that Irene Parlby was one of The Famous Five, a group of women in Canada who fought for the right of women to be considered "persons"?
- ... that agriculture ranks as one of the most stressful occupations in the United States and one that experiences high suicide rates?
- ... that The Baby-Sitters Club actress Sophia Reid-Gantzert won an Austrian ballet competition when she was six?
- ... that when the pastor of an African-American church bought the El Dorado, one newspaper wrote that "its occupants are white, and were white"?
- ... that actress Hilda Hanbury was the grandmother of actors James and Edward Fox and the great-grandmother of actress Emilia Fox?
- ... that part of West Virginia's Princeton–Deepwater District railway was so steep that only shortened coal trains could ascend it?
- ... that George Allsopp was arrested three times for not carrying a lantern?
In the news
- Yair Lapid (pictured) succeeds Naftali Bennett as Prime Minister of Israel.
- Fifty-three migrants are found dead in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, United States.
- In ice hockey, the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup.
- At least twenty-one people are found dead in a nightclub in East London, South Africa.
On this day
- 324 – Civil wars of the Tetrarchy: Roman emperor Constantine the Great defeated his former colleague Licinius at the Battle of Adrianople.
- 1754 – French and Indian War: George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity in Pennsylvania, the only military surrender in his career.
- 1952 – SS United States (pictured) departed New York Harbor on her maiden voyage, on which completion she became the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic.
- 1970 – Dan-Air Flight 1903 crashed into the slopes of the Montseny Massif in Catalonia, Spain, killing all 112 people aboard.
- 2005 – Same-sex marriage became legal in Spain with the coming into effect of a law passed by the Cortes Generales.
Today's featured picture
Les Troyens is a grand opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz with a French-language libretto written by the composer himself based on Virgil's Aeneid. The score was composed between 1856 and 1858, but Berlioz did not live long enough to see the work performed in its entirety. However, the last three acts, substantially abridged, were performed during his lifetime under the title Les Troyens à Carthage by Léon Carvalho's company, the Théâtre Lyrique, in Paris in 1863. For this performance, Berlioz added an orchestral introduction and a prologue. He was not happy with the result, noting bitterly that he had agreed to let Carvalho do it "despite the manifest impossibility of his doing it properly. He had just obtained an annual subsidy of a hundred thousand francs from the government. Nonetheless the enterprise was beyond him. His theater was not large enough, his singers were not good enough, his chorus and orchestra were small and weak." This is the cover of the piano–vocal score of Les Troyens, published in 1863 by Choudens, with a lithographic illustration by Antoine Barbizet.
Lithograph credit: Antoine Barbizet; restored by Adam Cuerden