For the Birds Radio Program
Isabella Christmas Bird Count 2007
(Dec. 31, 2007)
One of the loveliest if arduous traditions of the year’s end is the Isabella Christmas Bird Count. This year’s number of species was slightly below average, and the number of individuals way below.
- BIGBY (Dec. 19, 2007)
Now you can compete in carbon-neutral birding with a Big Green Birding Year
- Duluth Christmas Bird Count 2007 (Dec. 18, 2007)
This year’s bird count was a record-breaker in many ways, most of them good.
- Christmas Bird Count 2007 (Dec. 17, 2007)
What are Christmas Bird Counts all about, and how can you find out what’s been going on with winter populations of your favorite species?
- Chickens in Duluth! (Dec. 14, 2007)
Raising chickens in backyards as well as on farms has been a valuable way of producing food throughout American history. The group, “Duluth City Chickens” is searching for ways to make it possible for people to raise chickens in Duluth.
- Live Interview with KUMD's Lisa Johnson about My New Job! (Dec. 13, 2007)
Laura just accepted a job with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She explains why she could qualify for a job with an Ivy League university when she does not qualify for a job at UMD.
- Seed-eating Birds (Dec. 12, 2007)
Birds are quite hardy if they can get the food they need. Birds that feed on seeds borne high on trees can survive in northern winters more easily than birds that feed on weed seeds that get covered with snow
- Fruit-eating birds in winter (Dec. 11, 2007)
Birds migrate to wherever they need to go to get food.
- Environment Then and Now (Dec. 10, 2007)
When Laura started this radio show in 1986, some birds were far more abundant than they are now, and many ominous signs indicate that our children may not enjoy the birds we do today. What can we do?
- Juncos (Dec. 6, 2007)
Laura spent 23 years on this planet before she ever noticed a junco.
- Owl Vision (Dec. 5, 2007)
Laura talks about the exquisite vision of owls
- Alison Clarke's Varied Thrush (Dec. 4, 2007)
Laura’s friend has a Varied Thrush visiting her Duluth feeder, and Laura got to spend some time watching it.
- Book Review: Bridget Stutchbury's Silence of the Songbirds (Nov. 30, 2007)
Laura very much likes this book about the problems our songbirds face.
- Inca Dove in Two Harbors (Nov. 28, 2007)
What was a bird that belongs in Texas doing in Two Harbors, Minnesota? And why wasn’t Laura there to see it for weeks?
- Cackling Goose (Nov. 26, 2007)
When Laura was in the Central Valley this month, she spent time in a park looking at a fun combination of wild and feral domesticated waterfowl.
- Yellow-billed Magpie (Nov. 19, 2007)
Magpies have always intrigued Laura, since she first saw Heckle and Jeckle.
- Snow Bunting (Nov. 13, 2007)
A lovely and hardy song bird of the frozen north.
- Veteran Pigeons (Nov. 12, 2007)
Laura remembers the birds that have helped the military in times of war as well as peace.
- Frank Viola's Racing Pigeons (Nov. 7, 2007)
One of the great New York pigeon fanciers, Frank Viola, has died. Laura talks about the history of pigeon racing in the Big Apple.
- Laura's Trip West (Nov. 5, 2007)
Laura has long yearned to visit the Bear River National Wildlife Refuge and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, and this fall she and Photon took a trip to do just that.
- Chickadee Ghost Story (Oct. 30, 2007)
A Halloween story about a man who missed his wife.
- Autumn Blues (Oct. 24, 2007)
Autumn always seems to stir up somber feelings.
- Stephen Colbert's Bears (Oct. 22, 2007)
Nature according to Stephen Colbert doesn’t quite match what we experience in the north woods.
- Autumn (Oct. 17, 2007)
Birds and people are preparing for winter.
- Bears (Oct. 16, 2007)
When bears are about, people pay attention
- Movie Review: Hairspray (Oct. 12, 2007)
Laura loves living in a world where everyone sings, whether it’s birds in nature or people in a musical. And Hairspray’s main character, as cheerful and plump as a chickadee, filled Laura with cheer.
- Chickadee Hierarchies (Oct. 2, 2007)
In fall, chickadee winter flocks get busy working out their social hierarchies so they’ll get along together all winter.
- Of Mangos, Ken Burns, and Wartime Conservation (Sept. 28, 2007)
What do we ask of ourselves in times of war?Duration: 5′05″ Related blog post
- Migration Update 2007 (Sept. 25, 2007)
Birds are coming and going right now, but even after they’ve left, Laura will be keeping her hummingbird feeders going.
- Blue Jays (Sept. 20, 2007)
Last week over 5,000 Blue Jays were counted on a single day at Hawk Ridge. The spectacle is one of Laura’s favorite things about fall in Duluth.
- Hawk Ridge Weekend 2007 (Sept. 19, 2007)
Hawk Ridge weekend is coming up.
- Whooping Crane Festival 2007 (Sept. 18, 2007)
The annual Whooping Crane Festival at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is over, but there’s plenty still to see.
- Bathing Swainson's Thrush (Sept. 12, 2007)
Laura received a letter from a listener with interesting observations of a bathing Swainson’s Thrush.
- Irene Pepperberg and Alex the Gray Parrot (Sept. 11, 2007)
Alex, Irene Pepperberg’s astonishingly verbal Gray Parrot, died last week.
- September White-throated Sparrows (Sept. 10, 2007)
White-throated Sparrows appear at the point where migration and miracles and magic converge.
- Nuthatch, Part II (Sept. 5, 2007)
Laura’s nuthatch made it through the night and showed steady improvement for seven days.
- Nuthatch, Part I (Sept. 4, 2007)
Laura took care of an injured nuthatch.
- August 2007 Migration Update (Aug. 31, 2007)
When lots of fascinating birds pass through during August migration, there’s an excellent chance that September and October will be equally good.
- Nighthawks (Aug. 29, 2007)
A visit to a hardware store got Laura thinking about nighthawks.
- Feeding Birds in August, Part II (Aug. 28, 2007)
Laura talks about some alternative seeds to offer birds in summer, and why it’s important to keep feeding hummingbirds at summer’s end and into fall.
- Feeding Birds in August, Part I (Aug. 27, 2007)
Laura talks about the importance of keeping feeders clean, and the most typical kinds of food to offer when feeding our most common summer birds.
- August Day at Hawk Ridge (Aug. 23, 2007)
Even when fog envelops Hawk Ridge, there are sights and sounds to relish.
- Betty the Crow (Aug. 22, 2007)
Betty, the New Caledonian Crow, is proving to be one smart cookie.
- A Walk at Tettagouche State Park (Aug. 17, 2007)
A walk at Tettagouche State Park this time of year gives some great looks of wonderful birds.
- Drought 2007 (Aug. 15, 2007)
This year’s drought has been hard on many birds, but what’s bad for the goose isn’t always bad for those who take a gander at it.
- Rufous Hummingbird (Aug. 13, 2007)
When Laura heard about a Rufous Hummingbird near Solon Springs, she rushed to see and photograph it. She gives hints about feeding hummingbirds, and recommends watching your hummers closely for outliers.Duration: 3′44″ Related blog post
- Peregrine Watch, 2007 (Aug. 10, 2007)
Peregrine Falcons fledged weeks ago, but some of their antics are still on display in downtown Duluth.
- Northern Pintail (Aug. 9, 2007)
Not all game birds are doing well. One facing increasing problems is the pintail.
- Declining Species: Evening Grosbeak (Aug. 6, 2007)
Bird species are like bridges—we need to heed the danger warnings ahead of time to prevent catastrophes.
- Declining Species: Northern Bobwhite (Aug. 3, 2007)
One of the rapidly declining but formerly very common birds deserves our attention.
- The Hunter and the Birder Should Be Friends (Aug. 2, 2007)
The movie Oklahoma! gives us a model of how people with different interests and needs should work together.
- DVD Review: Robert Baldwin's A Loon Story (July 31, 2007)
Laura isn’t normally drawn to nature videos, but thoroughly loves Robert Baldwin’s A Loon Story. He spent an entire nesting cycle with a pair of nesting loons, and produced a perfect video.
- Dogs vs. Hawks and Other Predators (July 30, 2007)
How much of a danger do eagles, hawks, owls, and other predators pose to little dogs?
- July Riches on a Mid-Summer Hike (July 27, 2007)
Laura and her daughter Katie took a long walk in Port Wing, Wisconsin.
- Harry Potter (July 20, 2007)
On the eve before the last Harry Potter book comes out, Professor McGonagowl is concerned about how the owls will fare.
- Summer Pleasures (July 19, 2007)
Mid-July can be quiet, but birding pleasures abound.
- Baby Merlins (July 17, 2007)
Once in a while, baby falcons get into trouble in a summer storm. And sometimes the story has a happy ending.Duration: 5′00″ Related blog post
- Breeding Bird Survey 2007 (July 16, 2007)
Laura’s annual Breeding Bird Survey had some good news and some bad news.
- Dark Sky (July 10, 2007)
Birders and astronomers should join forces in fighting against light pollution.
- Porcupine (July 3, 2007)
One of the joys of birding is noticing cool mammals, too, like porcupines.
- Cool Bird Bath (June 28, 2007)
A friend of Laura’s in northern Michigan has a birdbath that draws in warblers, thrushes, and other elusive songbirds. How does he do it?
- Cicadas (June 19, 2007)
17-year cicadas are about as noisy and conspicuous as insects can be, but as soon as you get good at finding them, poof! They’re gone for another 17 years.
- Free as a Chickadee (June 6, 2007)
Laura talks about traveling and camping alone and why she’s unwilling to curtail her travels out of fear. “I take care of myself and am reasonably careful, but when my life comes to an end, I want my children and family and friends to know I lived my days happily and fully, and only died at the very end, not squelching my nature and killing my dreams all along.”
- Mourning Dove Survey 2007 (June 5, 2007)
Laura’s Mourning Dove Survey revealed two doves at a distance; fortunately, she’d seen a pair up close and personal in Ohio just before. Her survey route doesn’t have many doves, but has plenty of other birds to make up for it.
- Blue Moon 2007 (June 4, 2007)
There are thousands of lovely birds on this planet, and although Laura would feel bereft losing any of them, the world would be dark and humorless indeed without Blue Jays. She missed “National Blue Jay Awareness Month” in May because she hadn’t noticed that it had a Blue Moon here in America (the Blue Moon fell after midnight Greenwich time). But she’ll make today a special Blue Jay Awareness Day.
- Snowy Plover in Duluth! (June 1, 2007)
When a Snowy Plover was discovered on Park Point, Laura had to see it.
- Common Gallinule (a.k.a. Common Moorhen) (May 30, 2007)
Why can’t ornithologists agree on bird names? Laura talks about a fun little bird she sees occasionally in north country, and more reliably at Disney World.
- Kirtland's Warbler (May 29, 2007)
Laura and Russ just happened to be driving through Grayling Michigan, and stopped for a Kirtland’s Warbler tour.
- Brown-headed Cowbird 2007, Part II (May 28, 2007)
Where cowbird control programs are helping endangered species, they may also be benefitting a variety of non-endangered songbirds.
- Brown-headed Cowbird 2007, Part I (May 25, 2007)
In the first of this two-part series, Laura talks about the close association between cowbirds and bison, and why they pose less of a problem for some songbirds than others.
- Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (May 24, 2007)
This beautiful flycatcher turns up in the Upper Midwest now and then, but the place to see it is in Oklahoma.
- Oklahoma! (May 23, 2007)
Laura went to Oklahoma during a spate of bad storms and tornados; it was ever so worth it!
- Hummingbirds in Trouble in a Cold Migration (May 22, 2007)
A sudden heavy snow at a peak of migration put a lot of hummingbirds in trouble. How can we help them?
- Peregrine Falcon nest update, 2007 (May 21, 2007)
Laura gives the history of the Peregrine Falcon reintroduction program in Minnesota, and Duluth’s Peregrine nest box.
- Bell's Palsy (April 25, 2007)
Laura talks about how birds use facial expressions and why Bell’s Palsy would be even harder for birds than for her.
- Spring Robins (April 24, 2007)
Laura talks about robin spring behavior patterns.
- Earth Day 2007 (April 23, 2007)
Laura talks about working on the first Earth Day when she was a freshman in college.Duration: 5′41″ Related blog post
- Dr. Ruth of Ornithology Pt. 5: Do Birds Fart? (April 20, 2007)
One of Laura’s most popular blog posts ever has been for the transcript for this program, answering the question, Do birds fart? Short answer, no. Maybe.Duration: 4′46″ Related blog post
- Dr. Ruth of Ornithology Pt. 4: The Scoop on Bird Poop (April 19, 2007)
As the Dr. Ruth of Ornithology, Laura explains why bird poop is so different from mammal poop.
- Dr. Ruth of Ornithology Pt. 3. How birds do it (April 18, 2007)
Laura’s been explaining how bird bodies are different from mammal bodies. Today she explains how birds use those bodies to mate.
- Dr. Ruth of Ornithology Pt. 2: How birds prepare their bodies for reproduction (April 17, 2007)
As the Dr. Ruth of Ornithology, Laura explains how male and female birds synchronize their sexual readiness.
- Dr. Ruth of Ornithology Pt. 1: Bird "Equipment" (April 16, 2007)
Laura explains why she’s called the Dr. Ruth of Ornithology, and talks about how bird bodies work.
- Kurt Vonnegut (April 12, 2007)
Laura talks about the loss yesterday of one of her heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
- Helping birds in cold weather (April 9, 2007)
What can we do to help birds get through late cold snaps?
- Chickadees and Politics (April 4, 2007)
Laura yearns for a world in which people acted like chickadees.Duration: 3′28″ Related blog post
- Ice Storms (April 2, 2007)
Laura talks about an ice storm that hit her neighborhood.
- Peter Dring's Stories (March 29, 2007)
Laura’s friend Peter Dring sent her some fun stories from his days as director of the Little Red Schoolhouse nature center in Chicago, one about a joke he played on some field trip participants, and one about a joke played on him and lots of people by a crow named Whiskey.
- Woodpeckers: Aldo Leopold's sawyers? (March 28, 2007)
A drumming Pileated Woodpecker sets Laura to wondering whether woodpeckers are considering the history of the trees they dig into as Aldo Leopold did in A Sand County Almanac.
- Lynne Cason's story (March 27, 2007)
One of Laura’s listeners sent some heartwarming stories about interactions with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and a chickadee,
- Robert Frost's birthday (March 26, 2007)
Laura quotes some works from her favorite poet on his birthday.
- Hinckley Buzzard Day! (Turkey Vultures) (March 19, 2007)
“Buzzard Bob,” who is in charge of the official count of Turkey Vultures on Hinckley’s annual celebration, shared some interesting information about this year’s 50th anniversary celebration.
- Spring! (March 14, 2007)
Spring has sprung!
- Guatemala! (March 1, 2007)
Laura spent a week in Guatemala immediately after a trip to Costa Rica. How do the two tropical countries compare?
- Guatemala, Here I Come! (Feb. 19, 2007)
Laura is headed for Guatemala. All her travel is wearing her out, even as she’s thrilled about the opportunity.
- Wild Birds I Have Known, Part II (Feb. 16, 2007)
Laura tells more stories about cool encounters with wild birds.
- Wild Birds I Have Known, Part I (Feb. 15, 2007)
Laura talks about some of her funny and unexpected encounters with wild birds.
- Serendipity (Feb. 12, 2007)
Sometimes when you’re looking at one really wonderful bird, it’s serendipity to find another.
- Cardinal Sin (Feb. 8, 2007)
Newsweek published a “My Turn” column about a self-described granny shooting a cardinal. Laura is most seriously displeased.
- Whooping Crane tragedy (Feb. 7, 2007)
All the young Whooping Cranes from last year except one were killed in a storm.
- Costa Rica Trip Plans (Jan. 19, 2007)
Planning for a trip to the tropics involves a range of preparations, from vaccinations to studying up on birds and deciding what to pack.
- Buying Optics (Jan. 18, 2007)
There are no absolutes when buying optics. Buy the best optics you can comfortably afford. Then stop worrying about it and go out and bird.
- Duluth Audubon Field Trip! (Jan. 16, 2007)
Laura went on a Duluth Audubon field trip where the birds were wonderful, from the Black-backed and American Three-toed Woodpeckers at the start to the Snowy Owl bonking into a Red-tailed Hawk at the end.
- Facing the Reality of Climate Change (Jan. 10, 2007)
Every bit of progress we’ve made as a species has been based on science. Yet we’re not only ignoring important scientific evidence about climate change—this administration has been suppressing scientific data that doesn’t fit its policies.
- Silver Bay Rare Birds (Jan. 9, 2007)
Laura drove up to Silver Bay to see a Varied Thrush, catbird, and White-throated Sparrow. Are these and the many other rarities around this winter evidence of climate change?
- Looking for Owls with Sharon (Jan. 8, 2007)
Laura went birding with her friend Sharon Stiteler to find Short-eared Owls. They never did find the owls, but had plenty of other wonderful birds instead.
- American Three-toed Woodpecker (Jan. 5, 2007)
The woodpecker found further north than any other is turning up in more places than usual this year.
- Isabella Christmas Bird Count 2006 (Jan. 3, 2007)
The 25th annual Isabella CBC took place on December 30. By day, Laura had a close encounter with two American Three-toed Woodpeckers, and by night, she had a very close encounter with a moose.
- BIGBY (Dec. 19, 2007)