For the Birds Radio Program
Ivory-billed Woodpecker Quest
(Dec. 21, 2005)
Laura is heading to Arkansas next month where she may breathe in some molecules of air that Ivory-bills had exhaled as she experiences the Big Woods.
- Movie Review: King Kong (Dec. 20, 2005)
Peter Jackson’s spectacular blockbuster may use a lot of CGI, but is a wondrous commentary on man’s relationship to nature. The Coca Cola ad at the start of the theatrical release is not quite so spot-on.
- Christmas Bird Count 2005 (Dec. 19, 2005)
Lots of broken records on this year’s Christmas Bird Count! Some were happier news than others.
- Beethoven (Dec. 16, 2005)
Laura talks about her favorite composer and how nature influenced his music.
- Kathleen Connelly's poem, "Hummingbirds Fly North for the Winter" (Dec. 15, 2005)
Kathleen Connelly wrote a poem about the vagrant hummingbirds that turn up in Minnesota.
- Loggerhead Shrike (Dec. 14, 2005)
Loggerhead Shrikes, disappearing everywhere, are still lacking protection under the Endangered Species Act. One gave Laura some wonderful photo ops.
- Developing Florida (Dec. 13, 2005)
Florida’s development, channeling of waterways, and all manner of habitat loss continues apace, reminding Laura of slime-mold. Government can be effective at solving problems, but only when elected officials actually believe in the value of good government.
- Crows (Dec. 5, 2005)
Crows weren’t as easy to find in cities in the 1970s as they are now. Are they as smart as we think? (This program is dedicated to WXPR listener Vickie.)
- Scott Weidensaul's Wonderful Essay in the New York Times (Dec. 1, 2005)
Scott Weidensaul wrote a commentary about the darker overtones of H5N1, the virulent form of bird flu, and whether it will affect our own migratory birds.
- Birds in the News: Dominoes (Nov. 18, 2005)
Laura tells about a story in the Netherlands this week, when a House Sparrow knocked down some dominoes when a team was trying to break their own Guinness Book dominoes record, so the team hired an exterminator to shoot the little bird.
- November Hummingbird: 1-year Anniversary (Nov. 17, 2005)
A year ago, on November 16, 2004, a Rufous Hummingbird turned up at Laura’s feeder. This year, a hummingbird turned up in the Twin Cities.
- Vaccinations (Nov. 16, 2005)
To go to any foreign country, it’s important to find out what recommendations the CDC has for vaccinations and other preventive measures for possible health issues. Laura’s health clinic has a travel center.
- Winter Bird Feeding, 2005 (Nov. 15, 2005)
Weather conditions determine how much maintenance we need to do to prevent things like bird flu.
- Bird Conservation Alliance meeting (Nov. 14, 2005)
Laura attended a meeting sponsored by the American Bird Conservancy, looking into issues of major importance for birds, including mountaintop mining, lighted tall buildings and windows at lobby and street height, bird flu, and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
- Northern Shrike (Nov. 3, 2005)
“Butcher birds” sometimes kill more than they can eat–rather like many people.
- Shitepoke (Nov. 2, 2005)
The topic was requested by a WXPR listener who wondered what species is referred to as a shitepoke.
- Gray Jay (Nov. 1, 2005)
These ghosts of the north woods may seem like chickadees on steroids, but they are very dangerous if you’re a tiny baby songbird.
- Halloween (Oct. 31, 2005)
Living with an Eastern Screech-Owl, her licensed education bird, Laura wonders why people find owls scary or spooky.
- Bluebirds (Oct. 26, 2005)
In bluebirds, inherited wealth promotes family stability.
- Bird Flu (Oct. 25, 2005)
Laura finds it ironic that states are debating whether or not to teach about evolution in science classes right when diseases are evolving right before our eyes.
- Ivory-billed Woodpecker Quest (Oct. 24, 2005)
Laura was invited to be on Cornell’s Ivory-billed Woodpecker search team, but decided to go down to Arkansas on her own instead.
- Birds in the News: Rats at Feeders; Diseases at Poultry Farms (Oct. 20, 2005)
Should people stop feeding birds because it subsidizes rats? That’s what some people in the UK are recommending. And concentrated meat production is causing more and more problems.
- Birds in Public Art (Oct. 6, 2005)
Birds feature in a lot of public art throughout the world.
- Duluth's City Deer Hunt (Oct. 5, 2005)
The bow hunt that’s been approved for the City of Duluth may not be the best solution to the deer population problem here, but it’s the best we have.
- Birding with Photon (Oct. 3, 2005)
There’s a big difference between a birding dog and a bird dog.
- Hurricane Katrina: Letter from Nancy Newfield, Part II (Sept. 27, 2005)
Hummingbird bander Nancy Newfield sent more information about what is happening in New Orleans.
- Hurricane Katrina: Letter from Nancy Newfield (Sept. 26, 2005)
Nancy Newfield, living five miles west of New Orleans, returned to her home and brought us up to date on what is happening down there, focusing today on mosquito spraying as well as other issues.
- Watching Hawks (Sept. 22, 2005)
Laura’s been watching hawks at Hawk Ridge—a lovely respite from bad news—and quotes Anne Frank, Rachel Carson, Emily Dickinson, and Terry Tempest Williams about finding solace in nature.
- More Bad News: Shooting Owls (Sept. 21, 2005)
Four Carlton County men killed over a dozen owls last year. They were fined, but none will serve any jail time or community service time, and only one “may” face a temporary loss of hunting and fishing privileges.
- Katrina Aftermath (Sept. 20, 2005)
Three weeks after the hurricane, people are still being rescued; 44 major oil spills, and flooding of 31 Superfund sites are each enormous. Mosquito spraying using military aircraft promises to be ineffective, but probably won’t make the huge toxic soup much worse.
- The importance of saving gas (Sept. 19, 2005)
The pressure to see more birds and go to more places is not in keeping with protecting birds. Wisconsin and Minnesota birders are trying to find ways to encourage birders to stay closer to home.
- Movie Review: March of the Penguins (Sept. 16, 2005)
Laura loved the movie March of the Penguins, but finds it amusing that right-wing movie reviewers are touting this movie for “family values.”
- Birds in the News: Environmental Disaster (Sept. 15, 2005)
A commentary in the Seattle Times goes into depth about the environmental disaster in New Orleans.
- Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Evaluating the Evidence (Sept. 14, 2005)
Reasonable people have different takes on the video and recording evidence of Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings.
- Hummingbird Moth (Sept. 13, 2005)
When is a hummingbird not a hummingbird? When it’s a moth.
- Rare Hummingbirds (Sept. 12, 2005)
Most hummingbirds leave the north woods by early September, but the ones that linger are worth a double take.
- Strange Bird Kill on Lake Superior (Sept. 9, 2005)
Laura got a call from Molly Hoffman about a major bird kill from Grand Marais through Paradise Harbor and the Tofte-Schroder area. NEXRAD confirmed this was a huge migration night, but weather data didn’t suggest a cause except some localized high winds. Fishing boat captains were talking about this.
- Migration Update (Sept. 8, 2005)
Laura and her friend Mike Hendrickson saw lots of songbirds passing through Duluth.
- Migration on High: Monitoring the Empire State Building in 2005 (Sept. 7, 2005)
Robert De Candido has been monitoring migration from high atop the Empire State Building, where on a good migration night he can feel as if he were “within a whirling vortex of birds.”
- Nocturnal Migrants (Sept. 6, 2005)
Laura talks about nocturnal bird migration: how can be seen on NEXRAD, and how birds find their way in the dark.
- Hurricane Katrina, Part II (Sept. 5, 2005)
This controversial program targets the lax environmental standards that caused most of the damage from the hurricane and the administration’s cold-blooded response to the human losses in New Orleans.
- Hurricane Katrina (Sept. 2, 2005)
Some of the environmental costs of the hurricane.
- Limpkin (Aug. 22, 2005)
A fascinating relative of cranes lives almost exclusively on apple snails.
- Birds in the News (Aug. 19, 2005)
Should we bring African rhinoceroses and lions to America’s Great Plains? The American Bird Conservancy and Pro Aves have a better idea for protecting wildlife in its natural range.
- Florida Scrub-Jay (Aug. 18, 2005)
August isn’t the best month to bird in Florida for many reasons, but Laura and her family didn’t mind when they spent time with Florida Scrub-Jays.
- Sedge Wren (July 22, 2005)
The Danny DeVito of the bird world is just as spunky and individualistic, in song and behavior, as the comedian.
- Live from KUMD: Skepticism about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (July 21, 2005)
A commentary in the New York Times today by some prominent ornithologists questions the recent sighting of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Laura and Lisa talk about it.
- Loons in the News (July 19, 2005)
Researchers are capturing loons to get blood and feather samples to test for mercury. How do they capture them at night?
- Harry Potter (July 18, 2005)
Laura and Archimedes attended a Harry Potter party, and Laura talks about Pigwidgeon, who is probably a Eurasian Scops Owl, and gives a tip about how we can help real owls.
- Northern Cardinal (July 14, 2005)
Cardinals are singing on Peabody Street, a sign of cardinal expansion northward.
- Chickadee Vocabularies and Bird Brains (July 13, 2005)
Studies are confirming what observant birders have known all along about chickadee intelligence and individuality. We’re not the only species with a vocabulary.
- Peregrinations (July 7, 2005)
Laura’s adjusting to her 21-year-old daughter Katie’s peregrinations; Peregrine Falcon fledglings have a more precarious existence.
- Nighthawks! (July 6, 2005)
The new issue of Birder’s World has an article by Laura about nighthawks.
- Baby Peregrine! (July 4, 2005)
Laura, Russ, and their neighbor Jeanne Tonkin came upon a fledgling Peregrine Falcon that needed a bit of help.
- Downtown Peregrine Falcons (June 28, 2005)
Laura’s paying lots of attention to the baby peregrines she sees everyday downtown. (Correction: Dave Evans is not the bander—they were banded by the Raptor Resource Project.)
- My Blog (June 27, 2005)
Laura’s adapting to her job writing a blog.
- Haying (June 24, 2005)
Cutting pastures early in summer destroys nests for many grassland species.
- Canada Warbler (June 17, 2005)
Laura had a close encounter of the bird kind with a Canada Warbler.
- Le Conte's Sparrow (June 16, 2005)
Laura’s favorite sparrow nests in the pastures near her mother-in-law’s house in Port Wing.
- Tragic Albatross News (June 14, 2005)
BirdLife International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds banded some albatrosses and tracked them through migration to publicize longline fishing methods that kill albatrosses and how fishermen can prevent and mitigate the losses. Last year’s race was a great success, but this year every one of the birds died along the way.
- George and Martha Update (June 13, 2005)
Laura was gone for a week, leaving Russ to deal with George and Martha. When she returned, the babies had fledged.
- Luna Moth (June 8, 2005)
Laura thinks it’s ironic to use a Luna Moth as a symbol for a sleeping aid.
- George and Martha, My Chickadees (June 6, 2005)
Laura’s backyard chickadees are feeding babies right now.
- Great Blue Heron colony (June 3, 2005)
Laura and her son went to Island Lake to view a Great Blue Heron nest colony.
- Slime Mold (May 30, 2005)
Human population and development started slowly on the planet, but are now growing as fast as slime mold in a petrie dish.
- Interview with Jeff Wells, Part 2 (May 27, 2005)
Jeff Wells was on a team in the World Series of Birding, to raise money for the Boreal Songbird Initiative. He tells us about the strategies his team used to see 197 species in 24 hours.
- Interview with Jeff Wells (May 26, 2005)
Laura talks with Jeff Wells, director of the Boreal Forest Initiative, which raises awareness of the critical importance of boreal forests in the United States and Canada. He has suggestions about ways we can help protect these essential habitats.
- Interview with Tim Gallagher: Part 6 (May 20, 2005)
Tim’s sighting was kept secret for a full year. Why was the secrecy important, and how did they manage to be so quiet? And what can people do to ensure that the Ivory-billed survives?
- Interview with Tim Gallagher: Part 5 (May 19, 2005)
How should responsible birders be responding to this exciting news?
- Interview with Tim Gallagher: Part 4 (May 18, 2005)
Tim Gallagher talks about some of the sounds that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers are known to make, and how Cornell’s remote recorders, set out in hopes of capturing Ivory-bill sounds, work.
- Interview with Tim Gallagher: Part 3 (May 17, 2005)
How could such a large bird stay hidden for so long? Tim explains, and talks about David Luneau’s video.
- Interview with Tim Gallagher: Part 2 (May 16, 2005)
Tim talks about Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings since Tanner’s research, explains about the famous Singer Tract and the effort to preserve it, and mentions about Teddy Roosevelt seeing an Ivory-bill.
- Interview with Tim Gallagher: Part 1 (May 13, 2005)
In Part 1 of this interview, Tim explains why he went down to Arkansas on his Ivory-bill search in the first place, describes his thrilling sighting, and explains about Cornell’s recording, made in the 1930s.
- Greater Prairie-Chickens, Part 2 (May 11, 2005)
Laura talks more about photographing and making sound recordings of Greater Prairie-Chickens on their lek.
- Greater Prairie-Chickens, Part I (May 10, 2005)
Laura spent time in an observation blind enjoying dancing Greater Prairie-Chickens this spring.
- Sad Bluebird Report (May 5, 2005)
How will changing climate patterns affect birds? This year’s cold April has been hard on insectivores like bluebirds, swallows, and martins—hundreds have been found dead in Wisconsin in the past week.
- Twitterpated Chickadees (May 4, 2005)
Laura talks about her backyard chickadees
- Poem by Barb Schmeling (May 3, 2005)
WXPR listener Barb Schmeling sent Laura some wonderful poems about a variety of birds.
- Announcement: Ivory-billed Woodpecker Rediscovered (April 29, 2005)
The Nature Conservancy and Cornell Lab of Ornithology have just announced that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was rediscovered in Arkansas. What is demanded of us?
- Sharp-tailed Grouse Blind, 2005 (April 27, 2005)
Laura visited a Sharp-tailed Grouse blind in 2005 in Solon Springs, Wisconsin.
- Interview with Don Kroodsma, Part 6: Favorite Birds (April 26, 2005)
In this 6-part series, Laura interviews one of the foremost authorities on bird song, Don Kroodsma. In this episode, Laura asks Don what his favorite bird songs are.
- Interview with Don Kroodsma, Part 5: Noise Pollution (April 25, 2005)
In this 6-part series, Laura interviews one of the foremost authorities on bird song, Don Kroodsma. In this episode, they talk about how hard it is to find environments where human-generated noises can’t be heard.
- Interview with Don Kroodsma, Part 4: Baby birds and waking up early (April 22, 2005)
In this 6-part series, Laura interviews one of the foremost authorities on bird song, Don Kroodsma. In this episode, they talk about waking up early to hear the dawn chorus and the fascinating ways baby birds learn their vocalizations
- Interview with Don Kroodsma, Part 3: Sedge Wrens and Brown Thrashers (April 21, 2005)
In this 6-part series, Laura interviews one of the foremost authorities on bird song, Don Kroodsma. In this episode, they talk about Sedge Wrens and Brown Thrashers.
- Interview with Don Kroodsma, Part 2: Songs of Chickadees (April 20, 2005)
In this 6-part series, Laura interviews one of the foremost authorities on bird song, Don Kroodsma. In this episode, they talk about Black-capped Chickadees and their interesting vocalizations.
- Interview with Don Kroodsma, Part I: The Singing Life of Birds (April 19, 2005)
In this 6-part series, Laura interviews one of the foremost authorities on bird song, Don Kroodsma. In this episode, they talk about his new book, The Singing Life of Birds
- DDT still out there (April 18, 2005)
Traces of DDT and other pesticides are still showing up in both migratory songbirds and, in even greater amounts, in non-migratory birds.
- Dead Boreal Owls (April 15, 2005)
Laura watched Steve Wilson and David Grossheusch examine dead Boreal Owls to determine how old the birds were that died this winter.
- Birds in the News: Duck Die-off (April 14, 2005)
The US Fish and Wildlife Service says that a major duck die-off on Lake Onalaska, probably due to trematodes, spread by faucet snails.
- Birds in the News (April 12, 2005)
A 2-year-old California Condor that had hatched in 2003—the first wild-hatched condor in Arizona—was found dead in the Grand Canyon. A study on the effects of pesticides on babies, requiring participants to spray pesticides in their home, was cancelled.
- Roadside Birding (April 5, 2005)
Laura talks about the birds she sees along the road as she drives.
- Bird Photography (April 4, 2005)
Now that Laura is writing a blog as well as writing for Journey North, she’s taking lots of photos.
- Gyrchannel's Birds in the News (April 1, 2005)
Dr. Marlene Perkins from the Cornell Lavatory of Orthinology explains some amazing breakthroughs in our understanding of bird intelligence, giving birds the ACT test. And Jim Baker talks about Baker’s Blue Jay window feeders with Jayagra suction cups.
- Aldo Leopold's March, from A Sand County Almanac (March 15, 2005)
Laura reads from the March entry of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.
- Poems by Mary Oliver and David B. Johnson (March 14, 2005)
Laura reads two poems, “White Owl Flies Into and Out of a Field” by Mary Oliver and “Great Gray Owl” by David B. Johnson.
- Owl Strife (March 11, 2005)
Birders are bickering about bothering owls.
- Signs of Spring 2005 (March 10, 2005)
As this year’s amazing owl and finch influx has dissipated, spring migrants are moving in.
- Proposal for Hunters to Shoot Cats (March 9, 2005)
Should hunters be allowed to shoot cats in Wisconsin? If not, what should we do to stop cats from killing millions of birds in the state every year?
- Birds in the News: Chickadee Individuality (March 8, 2005)
Researchers are starting to prove something that was rather obvious all along: Birds are individuals.
- Sick Birds (March 7, 2005)
Necropsied redpoll carcasses indicated that the redpolls died of salmonella, which builds up in fecal material on the ground beneath feeders.
- Baby Mice and Owls (March 4, 2005)
Baby white mice are very loud when nursing, and Laura made a recording of their sounds. She wonders if wild mice are that noisy in a world of owls and other predators. (This program was created before she was aware of research that establishes that Great Gray Owls are almost exclusively hunters of voles, not meadow mice, but the question remains.)
- Birds in the News (March 3, 2005)
Dying finches at feeders, Sandhill Crane and Snow Goose migration in Nebraska, and the appearance of a bird only ever seen before in 1947 in the Himalayas are in the news.
- Short-eared Owl (March 2, 2005)
How on earth did Short-eared Owls ever find their way to the Hawaiian Islands? Laura talks about the Short-eared Owl’s on the North American continent as well as on the Hawaiian Islands. A researcher is trying to track them in Wisconsin.
- Tropical Migrants (March 1, 2005)
Laura is looking forward to seeing tropical birds this spring–and she won’t have to leave the north to enjoy them!
- Mike Furtman's White Barred Owl (Feb. 28, 2005)
Duluth photographer Mike Furtman found an extremely pale, almost pure white Barred Owl with normally-colored eyes.
- Bird Photography (Feb. 25, 2005)
Laura is learning a lot about bird photography and digiscoping.
- Mourning Dove Hunting (Feb. 24, 2005)
There is a certain dissonance in supporting a non-game program in a state that is opening hunts on non-game species, and Laura thinks Minnesota and Wisconsin should prohibit hunting doves with lead shot.
- Hummingbird Migration 2005 (Feb. 23, 2005)
This year, Rufous Hummingbird migration is early. Researchers are trying to tease out the complexities of Rufous migration and vagrancy.
- Starlings and House Sparrows (Feb. 22, 2005)
Laura talks about a recent news story about European Starlings and House Sparrows, which are gaining some legal protections in Britain even as Canada Geese there are losing protections.
- Great Backyard Bird Count, 2005 (Feb. 21, 2005)
Laura talks about the species seen this year on the Great Backyard Bird Count, and gives some tips about counting chickadees.
- Sandhill Crane Migration (Feb. 18, 2005)
Every year for a month beginning around Valentine’s Day, Sandhill Cranes start gathering on the Platte River in Nebraska. When is the best time to see them, and where is the best place to view the spectacle?
- Florida Scrub-Jay (Feb. 17, 2005)
Laura talks about her affection for this species, and why it should be listed as an endangered species.
- George Ellis's Mourning Doves: Sad Update (Feb. 11, 2005)
Ice storms are hard on Mourning Doves.
- Superbowl Sunday Downy Woodpecker (Feb. 7, 2005)
Laura would rather watch birds flying than a flying pigskin.
- Birds in the News: New Map of the Bird Brain (Feb. 2, 2005)
Turns out the avian brain is as complex as the mammalian one. Laura talks about the historical basis of our longstanding belief that the differences in mammalian and avian brains, and how we’re learning that it’s wrong.
- Poems by Robert Nero and Thomas Handy Loon (Feb. 1, 2005)
Laura reads Robert Nero’s “Surprise Effect” and “At Minus Twenty Celsius” and Thomas Handy Loon’s “When I Was a Bird.”
- Questions Not Answered in Books (Jan. 31, 2005)
Some questions about birds aren’t answered in the bird books.
- This Winter (Jan. 26, 2005)
Lots of other birds are around, in addition to the owls.
- Birds in the News in Ohio: Iced Tails and Odd Winter Sightings (Jan. 25, 2005)
Mourning Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, and nightjars made the news in Ohio.
- Great Gray Owl Feeding Behaviors (Jan. 24, 2005)
Great Gray Owls are supposed to be vole specialists, but Laura’s been hearing from lots of people who are observing the owls eating larger animals, including rabbits and snowshoe hares.
- Owl Behavior (Jan. 20, 2005)
Suddenly owls are backyard birds all over, and people are observing all kinds of interesting behaviors.
- Cold Birds (Jan. 14, 2005)
In addition to all the Great Gray Owls, lots of other unusual birds are about.
- Birds with Biblical Names (Jan. 13, 2005)
Laura talks about the many bird names rooted in a biblical etymology
- Movie Review: King Kong (Dec. 20, 2005)