For the Birds Radio Program
(Dec. 5, 2016)
Laura has a place in her heart for a bird that has caused serious problems for bluebirds and martins. Now, even in urbanized areas, House Sparrow numbers are plummeting, and she finds that troubling.
(There was a technical glitch uploading today’s podcast, and so this should replace one titled “House Sparrows” that was a repeat of last week’s White-throated Sparrow program.)
- Uganda's National Bird: Crested Crane (Nov. 30, 2016)
The stunning Gray Crowned-Crane makes an ideal national emblem for a wonderful country.Duration: 4′46″ Related blog post
- A Stroll Down False Memory Lane (Nov. 29, 2016)
Some of the stories Laura has been telling for years turn out to have been based on false memories.
- Weird Genetics: White-throated Sparrows (Nov. 28, 2016)
The White-throated Sparrow has a fascinating chromosomal anomaly that may be unique among all vertebrate animals.Duration: 5′33″ Related blog post
- Dealing with the 2016 Election (Nov. 25, 2016)
Laura wishes Americans could be more like chickadees.
- Equatorial Birding (Nov. 24, 2016)
Laura crossed the equator several times this month. Birds didn’t seem to notice.Duration: 5′53″ Related blog post
- Coming Home from Uganda (Nov. 22, 2016)
Laura is home from a trip to a Third World country that is far ahead of ours in some important ways.
- Chicago Cubs Win World Series! (Nov. 4, 2016)
Laura’s been waiting for this her whole life. And even birds seem to approve.Duration: 4′40″ Related blog post
- Book Review: Heather Wolf's Birding at the Bridge (Nov. 1, 2016)
Laura loves Heather Wolf’s book about her adventures in birding along the Brooklyn waterfront, Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront.
- Monk Parakeets (Oct. 31, 2016)
Monk Parakeets are abundant in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where they are more popular with the management than the pigeons that once nested there. Why is one introduced bird so much more acceptable than another?Duration: 5′40″ Related blog post
- Liberty, American Style (Oct. 28, 2016)
What we Americans perceive as liberty is not quite the same as what birds do.
- Cuban Tody! (Oct. 25, 2016)
Laura’s Most Wanted Bird turned out to be even more wonderful than she’d anticipated.
- A New Chapter! (Oct. 24, 2016)
Lifelong dreams really do come true, at least sometimes.
- KUMD Live: Back from Cuba! (Oct. 18, 2016)
Laura got home from her Cuban trip last night. This morning she talked to Lisa Johnson live about her trip.
- The First Shall Be Last: West Peruvian Dove (Sept. 27, 2016)
The very first bird Laura saw in Peru turned out to be the last one, too.
- Hoatzin (Sept. 26, 2016)
One of Laura’s favorite birds, found along the Amazon River, its tributaries, and the Orinoco Delta in South America, can be found in a small area of Peru, but Laura was there during the dry season, and didn’t spend much time in the right habitat anyway. So her chances were poor, but her hopes were high.
- Peru! Traveling to Fight Climate Change (Sept. 19, 2016)
Airplane travel is a serious driver of human-caused climate change. Tropical deforestation is even more significant, something some forms of eco-tourism can actually help alleviate.Duration: 8′17″ Related blog post
- Yellow-rumped Warbler (Sept. 16, 2016)
One of the birds Laura saw during her first year of birding turns out to be two different species.Duration: 4′35″ Related blog post
- Migration Update and Hawk Ridge Weekend (Sept. 14, 2016)
This weekend is Hawk Ridge Weekend, and Laura will be there for several events. Migration has been splendid, and even bigger numbers are headed our way!
- Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Sept. 13, 2016)
Laura’s Most Wanted Bird in Peru on her recent trip was an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock.Duration: 5′26″ Related blog post
- Live interview with Lisa Johnson at KUMD about my trip to Peru (Sept. 12, 2016)
Laura just returned from Peru and talked to Lisa Johnson on the air.
- A Walk on the Western Waterfront Trail (Aug. 10, 2016)
Despite the sweltering temperatures, fall is upon us, as birds along the Western Waterfront Trail showed Laura yesterdayDuration: 4′13″ Related blog post
- Birding in the Bog with Pip and Lisa (Aug. 3, 2016)
On July 30, Laura brought her friend Lisa and her little birding dog Pip to the Sax-Zim Bog for a lovely, quiet morning.Duration: 4′26″ Related blog post
- Just Do It! (July 29, 2016)
When the goal is to protect an endangered species, does it matter if the people helping believe in evolution?Duration: 5′09″ Related blog post
- Red-bellied Woodpecker Nest: Final Update (July 26, 2016)
Laura’s nesting Red-bellied Woodpeckers have flown away. How did their nesting turn out?
- Requiem for a Beloved Tree (July 25, 2016)
Today Laura talks about one of the casualties of the major storm that hit Duluth last week.
Post script: Laura’s power went back on Sunday night, the day she wrote this. And Minnesota Power had brought in crews from as far as Colorado to speed up the process.
- New Mockingbird Research (July 18, 2016)
A new study claims that Northern Mockingbirds don’t learn new songs as they grow older, but Laura doesn’t think the experiment warrants the conclusion.
- Endangered Species Act Success Story: Kirtland's Warbler (July 13, 2016)
Since protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, Kirtland’s Warbler numbers have soared from a low of 167 pairs to more than 2,000.Duration: 5′10″ Related blog post
- Endangered Species Act: A Big Success (July 12, 2016)
A new report establishes that fully 85 percent of the 120 bird species listed under the Endangered Species Act are recovering or their populations have stabilized, while unlisted species have declined an average of 24 percent since 1974.
- Red-bellied Woodpecker Nest Update (July 5, 2016)
Laura’s nesting Red-bellied Woodpeckers seem to be growing and thriving.
- Hog Island Audubon Camp (July 1, 2016)
Laura spent two weeks in Maine last month, at the famous Audubon camp at Hog Island.Duration: 4′11″ Related blog post
- One Good Tern Deserves Another: Roseate Terns (June 30, 2016)
Laura had some quick but lovely experiences with Roseate Terns when she was in Maine.Duration: 4′38″ Related blog post
- Least Terns (June 27, 2016)
Russ and Laura spent a lovely day watching Least Terns at Popham Beach State Park in Maine.
- Red-bellied Woodpecker Nest Update: A Dangerous Turn of Events (June 23, 2016)
Laura’s backyard Red-bellied Woodpeckers have young in the nest, but the tree is in jeopardy.Duration: 4′06″ Related blog post
- Piping Plovers Here and There (June 16, 2016)
Last week, Laura visited Popham Beach State Park in Maine, where she was very impressed with how the stewards provide public recreation near where they provide superb protection for Piping Plovers. Meanwhile, back home in Duluth, an off-leash dog chased off the one Piping Plover that showed up on Park Point.
- Listing (June 1, 2016)
To list or not to list: that is the question.
- Virginia Rails! (May 31, 2016)
Laura and Pip had a close encounter of the Rail kind at the Western Waterfront Trail.
- Woodpecker City! (May 30, 2016)
Some interesting and even unexpected woodpeckers are raising young in Laura’s neighborhood.Duration: 4′29″ Related blog post
- Correcting Egregious Errors (May 18, 2016)
Over the years, Laura has made some mistakes. Now she’s trying to clear the record.
- Spring Update (May 17, 2016)
Not many birds are back yet but a Little Blue Heron showed up on Sunday, to Laura’s delight and, thanks to eBird, the delight of lots of other birders as well.Duration: 4′34″ Related blog post
- Thirty Years (May 12, 2016)
“For the Birds” is thirty years old today. How did Laura come to start producing the program? (This program was produced with technical assistance from Michael Geraci.)
- Warbler Day (May 11, 2016)
Today is Warbler Day, when Laura remembers warblers she struggled to identify many years ago, and warblers she saw before she’d ever even heard of such a thing.
- Mornings in a Sharp-tailed Grouse Observation Blind (May 10, 2016)
Laura spent two mornings last week at the Douglas County Wildlife Area’s Sharp-tailed Grouse lek, watching grouse and more.
- The Lusty Month of May on Peabody Street (May 9, 2016)
Chickadees seem to be reenacting at least part of the movie Camelot.
- "Dad" the Great Blue Heron (May 3, 2016)
A trusty presence at Sapsucker Woods isn’t there this year.Duration: 5′23″ Related blog post
- Savoring a Slow Spring (April 29, 2016)
Spring may be starting slowly, but there’s plenty out there to enjoy.
- Branded! (April 28, 2016)
Laura disapproves of the idea of trademarking or branding anything that fundamentally transcends “ownership.”
- Poems by J. Drew Lanham (April 19, 2016)
Laura is thrilled about a new book of poetry by her friend J. Drew Lanham. He read three of his poems for today’s program.Duration: 5′03″ Related blog post
- The Cruelty of an April Wind (April 18, 2016)
April weather in Duluth can be cruel, temps in the 40s when it’s in the 70s not far from here, but for a birder, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had.
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (April 14, 2016)
One of Laura’s friends near Chicago got to watch a sapsucker outside her window for a whole day. What was it doing there?
- A Birder's Guide to the Social Graces (April 7, 2016)
Laura puts on her “Miss Manners of Birding” hat to explain some rules for deportment in social situations.Duration: 5′05″ Related blog post
- First Red-wing of Spring (April 5, 2016)
The first Red-winged Blackbird of spring is magic.
- Clean Water (April 4, 2016)
With the Flint water disaster in the news, raw sewage flowing into Lake Superior in the last big rainstorm, and some of Duluth’s water system valves failing in Laura’s neighborhood, she’s concerned about us maintaining our infrastructure.
- Stephen Ingraham's Poems (March 28, 2016)
Laura reads two delightful poems by her friend Steve Ingraham.Duration: 3′44″ Related blog post
- The Day I Damaged My Hearing (March 15, 2016)
Laura discovered the exact cause of her hearing loss from listening to a For the Birds program from November 2006.
- Saw-whet Owl! (March 14, 2016)
Somehow, the Chicago Cubs and Black-capped Chickadees gave Laura the luck she needed to find a Northern Saw-whet Owl when she was leading a bird walk this weekend.
- Archiving the Last Decade of "For the Birds" Programs (March 9, 2016)
Laura’s been archiving the last decade of For the Birds radio programs, and seeing how little some environmental issues have changed but how much scientists have learned over the years.
- Larking About with John Richardson (March 1, 2016)
Laura and Pip went birding in the bog with John Richardson, where they were served up a buffet of wonderful birds, and returned home to a sweet dessert.
- Leap Year Day (Feb. 29, 2016)
Why do we give February that extra day, and do we really want our election years to be our longest years?
- Travel and Climate: Suggestions from Jeff Price (Feb. 24, 2016)
Dr. Jeff Price, who is with the Tyndall Climate Change Centre in the UK, gave Laura some excellent suggestions about offsets when traveling.
- All Albatrosses, Great and Small, Part II (Feb. 23, 2016)
How do albatrosses raise their young?
- All Albatrosses, Great and Small, Part I (Feb. 22, 2016)
In the first of this two-part series, Laura talks about the subject of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, and some of the challenges albatrosses face.Duration: 4′48″ Related blog post
- Valentine's Week Pileated Woodpecker (Feb. 15, 2016)
Laura’s friend Lisa and two little boys in Laura’s neighborhood are having fun watching Pileated Woodpeckers.Duration: 4′49″ Related blog post
- Heart Attack: One-Year Anniversary (Feb. 12, 2016)
Women’s heart attack symptoms can be tricky to recognize, so Laura talks about the fuzzy feeling that sent her to the hospital just in time.Duration: 5′13″ Related blog post
- Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler (Feb. 11, 2016)
Yellow-rumped Warblers may be almost unheard of in Minnesota in winter, but they’re abundant in California. The western form used to be considered a different species than the eastern form, and they may be re-split in the future. Why?Duration: 4′07″ Related blog post
- The Field Museum: Salvaging Something Valuable from Dead Birds (Feb. 10, 2016)
The mangled Ivory Gull carcass Laura retrieved in Superior last month is yielding valuable information at the Field Museum of Natural History in ChicagoDuration: 4′30″ Related blog post
- Squandering Energy: Letter from a KAXE listener (Feb. 9, 2016)
A listener took Laura to task for boasting about squandering energy.
- Clay Taylor's Banded Common Tern (Feb. 8, 2016)
Clay Taylor, one of Laura’s birding friends, recently photographed a Common Tern with a leg band. He worked out the band number with his photographs, sent them to the Bird Banding Lab, and learned that the tern was 23 years old!Duration: 4′25″ Related blog post
- Maxene Linehan's Yellow-rumped Warbler (Feb. 4, 2016)
Maxene Linehan of Hovland, Minnesota, had a Yellow-rumped Warbler coming to her feeder for most of January. What was it doing out of range, and what are its chances of surviving?
- My little girl (Feb. 3, 2016)
Laura’s daughter Katherine has developed a new webpage for her that will allow people to look up birds and find Laura’s photographs, articles, and past radio programs about them.
- John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon (Feb. 2, 2016)
Laura talks about this annual tradition.
- The Quality of Mercy Can Be Strained, Part II (Feb. 1, 2016)
Laura continues about the issues involved in helping birds, this time focusing on how bad for birds well-intentioned acts of mercy can be.
- The Quality of Mercy Can Be Strained, Part I (Jan. 29, 2016)
Laura talks about how we humans must use our heads and our brains both to figure out what animals need, and to help them safely.
- Ivory Gull: R.I.P. (Jan. 28, 2016)
The Ivory Gull that was present in Duluth since at least New Years Day appeared to be ill or injured this past weekend, and is presumed dead.
- A Kindness of Ravens (Jan. 20, 2016)
Listener Mike Bartz wrote to Laura about a fascinating encounter he made with three ravens.
- Winter Bird Update (Jan. 18, 2016)
Lots of unusual birds have appeared this winter in the Northland. Laura recorded this program on Friday, January 15; that very day another Ivory Gull appeared in Duluth, but didn’t stay around. On Saturday, two Black-legged Kittiwakes showed up. At least one was still being seen on Monday, January 18. And Laura’s been hearing from someone in Hovland, north of Grand Marais, about a Yellow-rumped Warbler visiting her feeder.Duration: 3′33″ Related blog post
- 2016 Travel for Laura (Jan. 15, 2016)
Laura’s going to be taking four major trips this year: to California, Maine, Cuba, and Uganda. How does she study up on her birds ahead of time?
- New Years Resolution: eBird! (Jan. 12, 2016)
Laura has resolved to keep track of every bird she sees with eBird this year. Fortunately, with the eBird app (for iPhones and Android), this won’t be too hard!
- Feeding Gulls vs. Feeding Owls (Jan. 11, 2016)
Is there a difference ethically between tossing out food for wild owls vs. wild gulls? Laura says yes, and the difference is rooted in these birds’ basic biology and ecology.Duration: 4′44″ Related blog post
- The Ivory Gull Is Dead. Long Live the Ivory Gull! (Jan. 7, 2016)
On January 6, Laura received an email saying the Ivory Gull had died in Superior, with photos. She went to retrieve the carcass, and immediately got a message that people were watching “the” Ivory Gull in Canal Park: there were TWO!Duration: 5′15″ Related blog post
- January Indigo Bunting?! (Jan. 6, 2016)
An Indigo Bunting, which belongs in Central America right now, is visiting Laura Erickson’s neighborhood right now.Duration: 5′04″ Related blog post
- Malheur NWR standoff (Jan. 5, 2016)
Lots of people are making jokes about birders facing off the armed insurrectionists who have taken over Malheur NWR headquarters. For Laura Erickson, this is no laughing matter.
- Uganda's National Bird: Crested Crane (Nov. 30, 2016)