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Northern Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) by Freddie

UK. Northern Ireland. Near Dungannon. May 11, 1987. Two men wearing Irish Republican Army (IRA) black masks and berets carry the coffin of Tony Gormley during his funeral. He was one of the eight IRA members who died on May 8, after a conflict with security forces when they attacked a police station at Loughgall in Co., Armagh.

Photograph: Peter Kemp/AP

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CSS Palmetto State (1862-1865)

CSS Palmetto State, a Richmond class ironclad ram built at Charleston, South Carolina, was commissioned in September 1862. On 31 January 1863, in one of the Confederate Navy’s few successful efforts against Union blockading forces, she joined her sister ship Chicora in an attack that disabled USS Keystone State and USS Mercedita. Though the blockade was not broken, it was clearly endangered by the two Confederate ironclads, neither of which was much injured in the action.

When U.S. Navy ironclads attacked Fort Sumter on 7 April 1863, and when some of Charleston’s defending batteries had to be evacuated on 6-7 September of that year, Palmetto State assisted in the successful Confederate operations. For most of the rest of the Civil War, she remained active in the Charleston vicinity. CSS Palmetto State was destroyed on 18 February 1865, when the city was evacuated.

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While cassowaries have been known to eat fungi, flowers, snails, insects, frogs, birds, rats, mice, and even carrion, their diet consists primarily of fruit.  They will eat the fruit of several hundred species of tree and bush, and one tree, the cassowary plum (which is toxic to other species but eaten readily by the cassowary), has even been named for the birds.  Cassowaries can become extremely aggressive about their food; when they find a tree that is dropping fruit, they will stay there and eat, chasing away any other cassowaries who try to approach and feed, until the fruit is gone.

Cassowaries will swallow fruits whole, even large ones like apples and plums.  Because of this, seeds and pits will go through the cassowary’s digestive system and be passed in their droppings.  These birds have been known to distribute seeds over distances of over a kilometre, making them hugely important in the dispersal and germination of fruit trees through the rainforests.  Some seeds, such as those of the Ryparosa trees, are shown to have much greater germination rates when they have been through the gut of a cassowary.  These makes these birds a keystone species for the rainforests they inhabit.