For the Birds Radio Program
End of National Blue Jay Awareness Month
(Dec. 31, 2009)
As National Blue Jay Awareness Month draws to a close, Laura is thinking of all the ways Blue Jays figure in our culture, and why.
- Evolution of Birds at Feeders (Dec. 21, 2009)
Our feeders provide us a lot of pleasure and can be helpful to birds. They also can affect bird movements, and are even leading species to evolve.
- Death of a Whooping Crane (Dec. 14, 2009)
The only female Whooping Crane that has succeeded in rearing a chick through migration has been shot and killed by a hunter.Duration: 5′55″ Related blog post
- Whooping Crane Operation Migration Update, 2009 (Dec. 7, 2009)
Sad news on the Whooping Crane front.
- Mark Twain's "Baker's Blue Jay Yarn" (Dec. 3, 2009)
Laura reads from her favorite story by Mark Twain, from A Tramp Abroad.
- Blue Jay Natural History (Dec. 2, 2009)
Laura talks about what we know about Blue Jays, and why we don’t know more.
- Blue Moon: The Start of National Blue Jay Awareness Month (Dec. 1, 2009)
Every time there are two full moons within a single calendar month, Laura calls it National Blue Jay Awareness Month.
- Operation Migration 2009 (Nov. 30, 2009)
What the Operation Migration project is all about, and how they’re doing so far this year.
- Acorn Woodpecker: Cooperative Breeding (Nov. 13, 2009)
Acorn Woodpeckers riddle trees, poles, and cabins with holes to store acorns. This fascinates scientists, delights birders, and distresses homeowners.
- Cooperative Breeding in the Florida Scrub-Jay (Nov. 12, 2009)
If you’re looking for “family values,” the Florida Scrub-Jay epitomizes a lot of old-fashioned human values.
- Cooperation: An Overview (Part 1) (Nov. 9, 2009)
Some pairs of birds get help to raise their nestlings from their young from previous years, or from other relatives or neighbors. This is the introduction and first of a series.
- November Migration (Nov. 4, 2009)
Migration continues apace. What birds are on the move?
- Double Breeding (Oct. 27, 2009)
Some birds don’t only nest in the north: recent studies show that five different species nest a second time, in Mexico.
- Prolonged Autumn (Oct. 26, 2009)
The seasons are trickier to measure than you’d think.
- Julia Child (Sept. 25, 2009)
Laura talks about Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France, about the Peterson guide in Child’s kitchen as on display at the Smithsonian, and how she identifies with Child’s enthusiasm and sense of adventure.
- Blue Jay Flatulence (Sept. 22, 2009)
Laura recently came upon an interesting paper about whether or not Blue Jays are capable of flatulence. Short answer: yep.
- Bird Passing (Passenger Pigeon) (Sept. 1, 2009)
Marianne Boruch wrote a lovely poem that she gave Laura permission to read on this anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon
- Seagulls (Aug. 31, 2009)
In Duluth, it’s a bit of a stretch to call our gulls “seagulls,” but it’s not so inappropriate on the actual sea. Laura was just on Long Island watching gulls dropping hard-shelled animals in hopes of breaking it to get to the food within.
- Great Blue Herons Nesting in Sapsucker Woods (Aug. 27, 2009)
Laura recounts a nest of Great Blue Herons that brought off four chicks.
- Individuality of Crows (Aug. 26, 2009)
Laura takes issue with Mary Oliver’s poem about crows because she thinks they are “indistinguishable.” Crows are every bit as much individuals as you and I.
- Molting (Aug. 25, 2009)
A great many birds molt in summer; Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals often appear totally bald.
- Evolution: Chickadees (Aug. 24, 2009)
Are people really at the pinnacle of evolution? Laura talks about a New York Times piece from August 23, 2009 that asks, “Is it all that unlikely that, even if humans had been wiped out a few million years ago, eventually a species with reciprocal altruism would reach an intellectual and linguistic level at which reciprocal altruism fostered moral intuitions and moral discourse?”
- New Camera (June 23, 2009)
This year Laura started photographing birds with a DSLR camera. She shares some tips for starting out.
- New Mockingbird Research (June 18, 2009)
New research is indicating that mockingbirds and their relatives produce more varied and complex songs when they live in more variable climates than where the climate is more predictable.
- Baby-Proofing the World of Birds (June 8, 2009)
Birds do what they can to make the world safer for their babies.
- Peregrine Watch, 2009! (June 5, 2009)
Laura recounts the history of the Peregrine Falcon box in downtown Duluth, and what the Peregrines are up to this year.
- Fawn (June 4, 2009)
There is something exquisitely innocent and sweet about a tiny fawn, so filled with trust that its mother will return, and that the warm milk her body provides will be free of contaminants. “It’s up to us to justify that trust we see in the eyes of babies and fawns.”Duration: 5′41″ Related blog post
- The Death of an Ovenbird (May 14, 2009)
Why are Ovenbirds killed in such disproportionate numbers at windows and lighted structures? No one seems to understand.
- Great Blue Heron Nest in Sapsucker Woods! (May 12, 2009)
A pair of Great Blue Herons has started nesting in the pond in Sapsucker Woods, right outside the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They appear to be incubating eggs now.
- When the Red-Red-Robin (May 7, 2009)
What one of Laura’s friends calls the “Prozac Bird” inspires good cheer. And one of most cheerful songs ever written about robins was composed by someone who apparently needed some cheering. This program is graced with perhaps the most perfect rendition ever made of the song Red Red Robin, by Rosie Flores.Duration: 4′45″ Related blog post
- Black-throated Green Warbler (May 4, 2009)
Black-throated Green Warblers have two songs, not too hard to tell apart, and they have different meanings.
- Mayday! Tragedy Strikes Nests (May 1, 2009)
A chipmunk ate all the eggs in the nest outside Laura’s apartment window, and a mink ate all the Canada Goose eggs in Sapsucker Woods this spring.
- Purple Martin (April 28, 2009)
Apartment living, for people and Purple Martins, has some major advantages. But just as with people, some apartments for Purple Martins are better, and safer, than others.
- Salmonella Outbreak, 2009 (April 10, 2009)
Why do so many siskins and redpolls die in spring thaws, and what can we do to protect the birds in our own backyard? “Bird feeding is something we do to feel good about our own generosity and benevolence as well as to give us good opportunities to see birds. But to be truly benevolent, our feeders have to be good for birds in reality, not just our minds. “
- Hummingbirds Heading Our Way (April 6, 2009)
Hummingbirds aren’t here yet, but are on their way.
- Early Songbird Arrivals: 2009 (March 25, 2009)
Red-winged Blackbirds, grackles, and robins are the first conspicuous songbirds to return in spring. What are they up to?
- Rescue! (March 24, 2009)
Laura was in the right place at the right time to save a chickadee entrapped in a bird feeder, which reminded her of a time long ago when she was in the right place at the right time to help save a Barn Owl.
- State of the Birds, 2009 (March 23, 2009)
Laura was part of a team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that, with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners, prepared the first ever State of the Birds report.
- Beware the Ideas of March (March 17, 2009)
The month of March can be tricky for birds to negotiate, but their worst problems don’t originate with a single day like the Ides of March. They come from the bright ideas birds have to start migration before they should.
- Triskaidekaphobia (March 13, 2009)
Unlike humans, birds aren’t superstitious–they base their fears on reality.
- Frigatebird Necropsy (March 11, 2009)
A Magnificent Frigatebird died in Ithaca, New York, following Hurricane Ike last September. Laura looked at the preserved carcass before it was necropsied.Duration: 4′27″ Related blog post
- Museum Collections (March 6, 2009)
Museum collections may seem morbid and old fashioned, but much can still be learned from them.
- March: the Annual Betrayal of the Weather Gods (March 4, 2009)
The hopes of spring keep being dashed by the realities of March weather.
- Chickadee Anniversary (March 2, 2009)
Today is the 34th anniversary of the first time Laura ever saw a chickadee, and she’s still learning about them.
- February Ducks (Feb. 18, 2009)
The frozen weather belies the heated behavior of winter ducks.
- Bird Photography (Feb. 10, 2009)
Laura just bought a DSLR camera, and is trying to adjust.
- February Funk (Feb. 9, 2009)
In February, our low expectations mean we take what we can get.
- Peanuts and Salmonella (Feb. 6, 2009)
The Peanut Corporation of America has been knowingly selling peanut products well after their products had tested positive for salmonella.
- Changing the Rules of Writing Bird Names (Feb. 5, 2009)
The Chicago Manual of Style may change one of their rules thanks to Laura!!
- "Intersex" Mallard (Feb. 4, 2009)
As we, and birds, get older and some hormones ebb, our bodies grow increasingly more like the other sex.Duration: 4′05″ Related blog post
- Hoary Redpolls! (Feb. 3, 2009)
This has been a great year for redpolls, including the rare Hoary Redpoll.
- Groundhog Day (Feb. 2, 2009)
Laura thinks the way many people treat rodents, whether pulling them out of a winter sleep to get weather information or tossing them out on the snow for an owl, is misguided and cruel.
- Feeding Birds when the Economy Sucks (Jan. 23, 2009)
How can anyone afford to feed birds when sunflower seed costs triple?
- Poem by John Wilson (Jan. 22, 2009)
Laura reads a poem by John Wilson, “Birders Are a Peculiar Lot.”
- Airplane-Bird Collisions (Jan. 21, 2009)
“The Miracle on the Hudson” plane crash has made Americans aware of what is actually a very old issue. What’s happening to protect us?
- Pine Siskin (Jan. 19, 2009)
This year Pine Siskins are abundant in Ithaca, where they are fairly peaceable and do not deal well with a Jack London “kill or be killed” world.
- 2009 Resolutions (Jan. 5, 2009)
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, Laura’s most of the way there.
- Evolution of Birds at Feeders (Dec. 21, 2009)